By Henri Williams
Top of Table team topple Driffield
This week Driffield travelled to Abbeydale to take on league leaders Sheffield Hallam M2s. The Driffield team were full of confidence having been unbeaten since the beginning of November, but with a couple of players carrying injuries this was always going to be a big ask.
However, Driffield started the first half extremely well and immediately matched Hallam for pace and inventiveness all over the pitch and it was the Woldsmen who drew 1st blood after Levitt received the ball following some great play from the midfield. The league’s top scorer showed his class to hold the ball up before offloading to Cherry who wobbled his way through the Hallam defence to take the lead 1-0.
Unfortunately shortly afterwards a goal mouth scramble ensued in the Driffield D which saw the ball dribble between the brand new kickers of Falkingham in goal. Let’s hope the Driffield keeper still has the receipt. But Driffield responded strongly and for the middle of the half dominated the game and created a number of very good chances from open play and short corners. Eventually they were able to bumble the ball into the back of the net to take the lead to 2-1 following another goal mouth scramble that Cherry managed to cleverly convert from.
With 10 minutes left of the half Hallam began to play much better and whilst Driffield continued to spurn opportunities the South Yorkshiremen took advantage of theirs and had taken the lead 3-2 by the half time whistle. It was evident the Hallam coach had some choice words for his young team at half time.
In the second half, Driffield were essentially down to 11 men as the players carrying injuries, Bell and Robson, consigned themselves to the bench. Driffield were going to have to dig deep against a young, fit and well drilled university team if they were going to come out with a result.
Again, Driffield started the second half brightly but it was evident that the high intensity of the game was beginning to take its toll on the Woldsmen. After 10 minutes Hallam were able to extend their lead to 4-2, but Driffield kept fighting and soon after Cheery clawed the score back to 4-3 after another piece of individual brilliance.
But as the game wore on Driffield began to lose their dominance of the midfield as Gate, Dewhirst, Martindale, Voase and Shephard began to run out of steam with no fit subs on the bench to relieve them. To make matters worse Hallam were making the Driffield players constantly chase the ball in the afternoon heat and soon extended their lead to 5-3.
Driffield were struggling to create the chances they had previously but whilst they had lost control of the game they still looked dangerous on the break and with 10 minutes left Levitt was able to round the Hallam keeper and slot the ball into the net from a tight angle to take the score to 5-4. This sparked new life into the Driffield team and the last phase of the game descended into some very gritty end to end hockey with Falkingham, Jackson, Lee and Needham putting in incredible shifts to keep Hallam at bay.
But with just 90 seconds left on the clock Hallam but the game to bed with an excellent reverse stick strike that was to finish the game 6-4 to the home team. Driffield will take heart from how well they played and how hard they worked in a very high quality game of hockey. Next week sees them play Marton Furness at home and a win will see them leap frog the Teeside team into 5th place in the league.
Team: Falkingham (GK), Jackson, Lee, Needham, Gate (c), Bell, Robson, Voase, Shephard, Dewhirst, Martindale, Cherry, Levitt