Driffield Preview

Driffield Preview

By Monkey Business - October 28 2010
Hartlepool Rovers go into Saturday’s home date with Driffield (kick off 3pm) not daring to think of anything but achieving their first win of the season.

Rovers take on the Woldsmen after two much improved displays against Carlisle and Durham City. It is fair to say that both games could have been won and perhaps would have been if we could make our way over the try line.


Driffield only got off the mark themselves last Saturday with an injury time penalty earning them a 22-20 win over Pontefract at Kelleythorpe. To see one of the division’s most consistent sides at the lower end of the table is a big surprise. Like Rovers, Driffield have not had the best of luck with injuries and they will undoubtedly improve as the season moves on – hopefully not at the expense of Rovers on Saturday.


We have refused to press the panic button and the performances in the last two matches show that this was the right decision. Rovers are in a rebuilding phase and the injured list does not get any better with Michael Thubron being passed fit as David Grand and Ian Phillips are added to the list.


We desperately need some luck and this run of matches is the chance to get some wins and points on the board. With three clubs to go down at the end of the season it could be some scrap at the foot of the table and Rovers do not want to be a part of it.


Coach Brown has Tom Wilson fit to resume and he is an interesting selection at full back. He has proved to be dangerous in that position for West Hartlepool and he could have a crucial role to play. Andrew Lilley retains his place after a good display at City, Liam Austwicke returns after missing the trip to Hollow Drift and Tom King comes in at scrum half for Phillips.The return of giant lock Thubron should give the whole team a lift and there is a strong bench in the form of Steve Smith, Stewart Grazier and Ian Coulson.


Driffield hope to include Lee Birch who has had had injury problems lately. Birch was last season’s top points scorer in North One East with 270 (18 tries, 42 conversions and 32 penalties) and so he is one to watch. In fact their fast running backs, mobile and ball handling forwards and their run from anywhere game plan make Driffield a very dangerous team. Our main objective therefore is to deprive them of as much possession as possible.


The leagues take a back seat next week but the Friaragemen then have home advantage a week later when struggling Morpeth, hammered 53-5 at Carlisle last week, visit and we then travel to Northern.


Rovers: T Wilson, Lilley, Austwicke, P Hall, B Cushlow, Sainty, King, Tucker, J Cushlow, I Pinchen, Power (c), Thubron, Palmer, Taylor, Dring. Subs: S Smith, Grazier, Coulson


Referee: Paul Fincken (Durham Society)