By Henri Williams
Last Game of the Season
Driffield M1s (2) Vs Brigg M1s (2)
Driffield travelled to their last game of the season at Brigg in style thanks to the generosity of Nafferton Wold Farms who funded a coach for the journey. This also allowed for a strong away support on a beautiful spring day and with plenty of Driffield supporters also travelling to watch the game by car it was certainly a good showing for the club and very much appreciated by the players.
This was always going to be a very hard game against a Brigg side who were still in contention for promotion should they have won the game. The first half started at a blistering pace with both teams playing some excellent hockey and moving the ball round the pitch with purpose. However, in the first 10 minutes it was Driffield who looked the most likely to score, spurning a number of good chances, including a tricky open goal attempt from Robson on the left post.
Driffield, who have not always performed well away from home, seemed to be benefiting from having travelled by bus to the game, and Shephard was looking particularly refreshed in midfield and causing the Brigg players a lot of problems.
However, as the game wore on the balance of play began to swing in favour of Brigg who started to win a series of short corners, although it is fair to say the Woldsmen felt they were not getting the rub of the green with some of the umpiring decisions. But with just minutes left of the half, a time when Driffield should have been seeing the game out to half time, they were caught on the hoof by a Brigg counter attack and suddenly found themselves 1-0 down as the Brigg forwards rounded Falkingham in goal and slotted the ball home.
In the second half, Driffield certainly came out fighting and regained some of their composure, playing some of the quality hockey they’d shown in the first half and made much better use of Dewhirst and Martindale in the wide areas of the pitch. This started to stretch the Brigg formation much more, allowing more space for Shephard, Voase, Bell and Gate to operate in the midfield and also opened up more channels to Cherry and Levitt up front. The result was Driffield found they were penetrating the Brigg D regularly and started to win a series of short corners. On one such corner a slick injection from Dewhirst and smart stop from Cherry allowed Levitt a straight strike at goal, which was deflected off a Brigg stick into the back of the net to draw the scores level 1-1, to rapturous applause from the away supporters.
Brigg did not respond particularly well to this and Driffield continued to dominate the play again from the restart and 10 minutes later had taken the lead after a long struck pass from Dewhirst on the right found Cherry on the top of the Brigg D who beat two Brigg players and the goal keeper to take the lead 2-1. The Driffield supporters were now in fine voice as they enjoyed the afternoon sun with some cool refreshments.
With 15 minutes left on the clock Brigg snapped back into life as they saw their chances of promotion slipping away and started to put Driffield back under the cosh, forcing play through the middle of the pitch. Jackson at centre back was being increasingly called on to make some incredible tackles and was bravely having to suffer a good number of bumps and scrapes in the process.
However, Driffield were not making things easy for themselves, as they could not switch off their attacking mentality and kept over stretching themselves in areas of the pitch trying to push for a third goal. This meant that Brigg were finding plenty of opportunities to hit Driffield on the break and Falkingham was having to make some great saves to keep them at bay, with Lee and Needham doing all they could to clear the ball out wide any way they could.
However, with just 5 minutes left of the game to play, a decision went against Driffield just outside their 23 metre line and in the confusion the Woldsmen did not set up properly to defend it and a threaded ball through to the left post found a free Brigg player who was able to find the equaliser.
In the dying minutes both teams battled heroically for the winner, but ultimately the final whistle blew with the scores at 2-2. This was probably a fair result from a truly excellent game of hockey from the two local rivals and sets up the 2019/20 season nicely, as Brigg and Driffield will aim to be vying for promotion into North One next year.
Thanks as always to shirt sponsor Yorkwold Pigpro and to Nafferton Wold Farms for the provision of the bus.
Team: Falkingham (GK), Lee, Jackson, Needham, Gate (C), Dewhirst, Martindale, Shephard, Voase, Robson, Bell, Trowsdale, Levitt, Ch