Driffield 22 Hartlepool Rovers 13

Driffield 22 Hartlepool Rovers 13

By R&O - May 18 2006
Hartlepool Rovers faded after a good first half performance to ultimately go down 22-13 at Driffield.

The Friaragemen took the game to Driffield from the start and led 13-12 at the break but were unable to build on this in the second half with the hosts scoring two second half tries that ultimately won them the game.


Rovers went into a 3-0 lead with a 2nd minute Chris Sainty penalty coming after great pressure by the pack. Sainty was then successful again after 6 minutes but Mr. Blackburn disallowed the three points saying that Sainty had not announced that he was going for goal. This was an amazing technicality and one that had the players and fans from both sides scratching their heads in disbelief. Driffield had, naturally, retreated to face the penalty and both sides then set off to line up on half way before the referee restarted play with a scrum to the hosts from the very spot where the penalty was awarded.


This was not to prove too costly for Rovers since, from the resultant scrum, a great push by the pack pushed Driffield off the ball and Jason White picked up to release Dan Cavanagh who ran in strongly under the posts for his first league try for the club. Sainty’s conversion was good and the lead was now 10-0.


A useful kick ahead by Cavanagh on 12 minutes saw play brought back for Ben Cushlow being in front of the kicker and Driffield took full advantage to race down the right flank with Chris Hyde crossing and Karl Birch converting to put the first points on the board for the hosts.


Rovers were pushing the East Yorkshiremen back in the mauls and scrums but the home defence was snuffing out the running moves by the Whites.


On 26 minutes, Driffield penned Rovers deep in their 22 and a solid 5 metre scrum saw Tom Foster feed Birch and then Alex Piercy to touchdown in the corner for an unconverted try.


Rovers immediately responded with a drive into the home 22 but Steve Wallis unluckily knocked on. A strike against the head by Jonny Cushlow allowed Cavanagh to run from halfway into the 22 but a reversed penalty allowed Driffield to clear. In stoppage time, however, Sainty struck a well judged 38 metre penalty to put Rovers back in front 13-12.


From the second half kick off, Andrew Lilley and Cavanagh put in a good break to halfway but the White Shirts then tried to run the ball out of their 22 instead of kicking to touch, thus putting themselves under pressure.


After 48 minutes, Rovers had a let off when Piercy knocked on with the line at his mercy but, after a temporary respite when Jared Stevens and Darren Smith rampaged into the Driffield half, the Woldsmen returned to the Rovers’ half with Birch running in well from 30 metres out. He couldn’t convert but his side now led 17-13.


On the hour, Rovers committed suicide when, running the ball from their own line, Wallis was turned over on the 22 and Driffield’s scrum half Tom Foster went over by the posts. Birch’s close range conversion amazingly hit the crossbar to leave the score 22-13 to the Tykes.


Rovers with a Cavanagh penalty to the 22 and a pack drive attacked the home line but the forwards were forced out at the corner flag and Driffield cleared.


Driffield then attacked through Gary Stephenson, Travis Plumridge and Birch and ought to have scored but the ball went to ground. Right on time, Smith and Lewis Humble broke clear but the wing man was tackled into touch by Piercy and this proved to be Rovers’ last chance.


Overall, Rovers had competed well but a couple of defensive lapses in their 22 were ultimately costly in losing the game. Driffield have now opened up a three point gap over Rovers who now need to win at Sheffield next Saturday to prevent the Abbeydale Park outfit from pulling level on points.


Driffield: Thompson, Anderson, Stephenson, Plumridge, Piercy, Birch, Foster, Ridsdale, Lunn (Mitchell-Williams), Rowntree (Dervey), Chapman (Wood), Turton, Hyde, V. Cook, Jones (c).


Rovers: Sainty, Humble, Lilley, Rutherford, B. Cushlow, Cavanagh, A. Arnell, Stevens, J. Cushlow, Wise, Power (c), D. Smith, Kirton, Wallis, White. Subs (not used): Campbell, Watson, D. Cook.


Referee: Alan Blackburn (Manchester Society)