By Henri Williams
Driffield M1s (1) Vs DUHC (3)
This week Driffield travelled up to promotion hopefuls Durham University Men’s 3s relishing the opportunity to test themselves against one of the league’s top sides.
On a beautiful warm and sunny day Driffield started the game very positively against a well drilled Durham side with plenty of subs on the bench being rolled on and off by their coach. This was entirely expected by the Woldsmen, who knew they were going to have to dig deep in these balmy spring conditions. But dig deep they did and were soon playing much the better hockey, moving the ball from Needham, Jackson and Lee in defence through Bell, Gate and Shephard in midfield and down the wide areas to Martindale and Dewhirst. Durham appeared to not have expected to be coming up against such quality and found themselves constantly being put under the cosh by Levitt and Cherry up front.
That’s not to say Driffield were entirely dominant as Durham were also playing some excellent hockey and drew some excellent saves from Falkingham in goal on several occasions. However, it was the Woldsmen who were to open the scoring first following a botched injection by Dewhirst at a short corner, which led to a goal mouth scramble that Cherry was able to scurry into the goal to take the lead 1-0.
Durham responded very well coming back strongly at Driffield who were certainly relieved when the whistle blew for half time still holding on to their slender lead.
In the second half Driffield knew that they didn’t need to chase the game, but unfortunately it is not in their nature to sit back and try to grind out a result and their attacking mentality prevailed. This created some promising chances in the opening minutes of the half but predictably the woldsmen started to get ground down by Durham in the afternoon heat.
Bell and Robson, who were both carrying injuries, battled valiantly through the pain to try to support Shephard in midfield. Similarly Levitt, who was also nursing a hamstring injury did his best to support Cherry up front but despite this Durham were putting Driffield under constant pressure and when they did get control of the ball found they could no longer break them down in the final third.
10 minutes into the 2nd half Durham then equalised following a scrappy melee in the Driffield D. Driffield then started to stretch themselves even more, to try to retake the lead but before long Durham managed to score again from a crash ball into the D and a deflected shot past Falkingham. The Driffield players were giving everything they could to cling on to the game, but Falkingham was being tested more and more by the students.
With 10 minutes left on the clock Durham managed to score a third off a short corner and Driffield knew there was no way back for them but despite this they continued to battle hard and play in the spirit of the game.
The game ultimately ended with a 3-1 defeat for Driffield, who it is fair to say were beaten by the stronger squad of players who will very likely be moving up to North One next season and this will certainly be the case if Driffield manage to beat Durham’s rival promotion contenders Brigg at their pitch next Saturday. Driffield will certainly not be wanting to do Brigg any favours in this game and will be pushing hard to end their season on a high and take some momentum into the next.
Thanks to shirt sponsor Yorkwold Pigpro.
Team: Falkingham (GK), Needham, Gate (C), Lee, Jackson, Bell, Robson, Dewhirst, Martindale, Shephard, Levitt, Cherry.