Despite dominating for long periods Pocklington went down 16-12 at Driffield in their New Year derby friendly.
Pocklington attacked for 65 of the 80 minutes, including battering at the home line for sustained spells. But they failed to turn pressure into points, and Driffield’s strong defence and ability to hit on the break saw them snatch victory.
Pocklington spent the whole of the first half hour in Driffield territory and took the lead when a lineout catch and drive brought a try for skipper Matt Webber. The conversion and a penalty attempt three minutes later both fell short, but Pocklington remained in control and continued to press with scrum half Ben Rees close to a breakthrough from a quick tap penalty.
Driffield then turned the tables and broke 80 metres down the right flank from deep in their own 22. Pocklington saved a score with a last gasp tackle as Dan Pickard covered across from his opposite wing, but Driffield held the position and closed the gap through a Sam Furbank penalty.
Another long range Driffield break out soon after brought a try for fullback, Harvey Harding, to put the home side ahead.
Pocklington resumed the offensive and laid siege to the Driffield line as they spent the closing minutes of the first half trying to force their way over. Hard working No 8 Matt Davies dived in from a five metre scrum only for the referee to be unsighted, then ten times a Pocklington player was stopped inches short as they tried to muscle over, but Driffield’s defence somehow held firm to the interval.
After Pocklington had made strong thrusts down each flank at the start of the second period by Davies and Pickard, Driffield then enjoyed their best spell in the middle of the half and again showed their clinical finishing as another counter attack ended with former Hull KR threequarter Alasdair McClarron dummying his way over on the left and Furbank immediately kicking his second penalty to make it 16-5.
Pocklington took over again in the closing ten minutes. Their scrummage had been in ascendancy all day and they were awarded a penalty try, converted by Nick Bennett, when they shoved another five meter scrum.
Pocklington pressed to the end as they brought their backs more into play and created a couple of good openings in the dying minutes.
Twice Tim Nixon, who had moved out to wing in an effort to find more space, almost burst through, and the pack steeled themselves from another pushover effort from a five metre scrum only to fail to control the heel.
The game remained in the balance right to the final whistle but late Pock handling errors and more determined home defence kept them at bay and saw Driffield hold out for victory.
Pocklington will be disappointed not to have got a result after so much pressure, and perhaps they paid the price for underestimating the strength of the Driffield tackling as they frequently tried to bulldoze over from close range, a tactic that would probably paid off against the average Yorkshire Two defence.
Nevertheless it was an excellent run out for the 20-strong Pocklington squad, who had not played since November 20, as they look forward to the resumption of the league campaign at the weekend.
l Action from the game above. More pictures on pages 30 & 31.