Drighlington 24 v Queens 4 Pennine Premier Division
What a terrific performance by Drighlington, and every player should stand proud after such a stunning result.
This eagerly awaited match was billed as the "game of the season" for both teams and it certainly lived up to expectations, whoever lost would be either out of the title race or reliant on other teams to help them win the Premier Division Title. Queens had lost two matches this season to Drigh's one and needed to beat Drigh to stay in contention but as it turned out Drigh were the victors and are now in a race with Hunslet Old Boys, who have also only lost one game, but the south Leeds side have six games to catch up and most of these are away at top of the table opposition. A large crowd assembled on the Battlefields and were treated to a brilliant game of top class rugby where both sides were taking no prisoners, Queens were in the ascendancy in the first quarter but Drigh hit them where it hurts with a smart try from Jenson Okhovat, the second rower taking an inside pass from Michael Sanderson and blasting through a gap to score at the posts. Drigh kept up the pressure and found Queens blowing a bit as they stepped up the pace, pulling the visitors forwards from one side of the field to the other and finding gaps in the defence. It was only because Queens are a class side that they managed to contain Drigh, most other league sides would have collapsed under the constant attacks but the Leeds side kept going and it took another twenty minutes for Drigh to add to their score. Drigh made a foray up the right hand side and after Liam Coughlan was tackled on the 20 metre line stand off Gary Smith took the quick play the ball and ran into space as a large hole appeared in front of him. The half back could not believe his luck and he gleefully romped over the line and ran behind the posts to score with the visitors stood watching him. Sanderson banged over the conversion to give Drigh a 12-0 lead at the break. Queens had another disadvantage of having to play up the slope in the second half and with their forwards being bossed about by the home side it looked as though the match was there for the taking and when Luke Pennington intercepted a pass on halfway and outpaced the defence to score the match was in Drigh's hands. Sanderson converted and Queens really had no answer to the home sides skill and determination and it was a matter of running down the clock. Kevin Doyle grabbed a try after Lee Millar had gone close in the corner but Sanderson just missed the touchline conversion but landed a penalty goal five minutes later to make amends. In the dying seconds Queens managed to score, James Brown crashing over in the corner to stop the whitewash but with Drigh four tries in front the game was over and to the victors the spoils. In truth Drigh's forwards had been magnificent and created the platform for the victory, Andy Brearley, Andy Jarrett, Andy Kilbride and Ryan Burton never stopped running and Seth Lambert, Jenson Okhovat and Luke Pennington caused havoc in the Queens defence and talisman Lee Mulhern terrified the opposition pack before he went off after half an hour with a knee injury. Drighs backs also played their part in the brilliant win and the gauntlet has been thrown down to the Old Boys who have to win every game, including their visit to Drigh to snatch the Premier Division title from Drigh.
Report by: Geoff Hillier