Morley RFC made a winning start to the new season as they progressed into the next round of the Yorkshire Cup, but it was a close affair against Driffield.
Both sides scored five tries each and it was only Mark Chester’s better conversion rate that saw the Maroons win 33-29 in an entertaining match at Scatcherd Lane.
Last season Driffield finished fourth in the league below the one Morley play in so it was surprise that the early pressure was all from the hosts. But the Maroons were guilty of making too many unforced errors and after Tom Clough and Tom Moody came close to scoring they found themselves behind.
After they lost their own line-out on the Driffield 22 quick hands saw Guy Stephenson glide round his opposite centre and send left wing Alisdair McClaren racing away for the opening try. McClaren was unable to convert and failed again eight minutes later after a simple missed tackle allowed Driffield’s right wing to score.
Despite having most of the ball and playing predominately in the opposition 22, Morley were 10-0 down after 15 minutes. But they did not panic and after a thunderous charge from Brandon Hannam, half-backs Kenny Sewell and Chester got the ball out wide to Tom Clough, who beat his man well to open Morley’s account. Chester added the conversion.
Morley’s joy was shortlived as poor tackling allowed Ollie Borman to score with Sam Furbank’s goal giving Driffield their 10-point lead back.
Morley clawed their way back again with new boy Luke Watts at seven carving out space in the loose and Moody and Bayston beginning to link well. From one Moody break the ball was recycled quickly and eventually Brad Marshall found space to go over.
It was all Morley at this stage and it was no surprise when they took the lead just before half-time. A poor clearance kick was well kept in by Sewell and Clough ran the ball back deep. Hanson and Moody sucked in the defence down the centre before Chester and Bayston found Marshall on the left wing to run in his second try. Chester’s excellent touchline conversion made it 19-17.
Driffield went back ahead in the first minute of the second half following a home error when Stephenson went over and McClaren converted.
Morley took time to settle back to the way they were playing, but soon it was back to normal with them probing for openings and Driffield defending well and looking for the counter attack.
The Driffield defence was finally unlocked on 61 minutes when a tremendous offload from Moody gave Hanson the ball on the charge. He was not going to be stopped and went over by the posts to give Chester the simple conversion as Morley went into the lead once again 26-24.
Right from the restart, Morley were trying to add to their total. Director of rugby Colin Stephens had been using his substitutes well and Koby Gyasi, Mike Ashford and Jamie Frost all came on.
Frost ,Gyasi and Laurence Frantzis were all involved in the build-up to Morley’s last try. This would have gone to Luke Watts had he not been blatantly pulled back and prevented from scoring. Referee Dean Walker had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try and Chester’s final conversion left it 33-24 with 14 minutes remaining.
Driffield did pull back five points through prop Dave Llewellyn, but Morley held on comfortably.
Their next match in the Yorkshire Cup is at Pocklington on November 8. Before then they begin their National Three North campaign with a trip to Beverley, who beat them in the final game of last season. Kick-off on Saturday is 3pm.