YORK RUFC lost out to local rivals Driffield 29-27 in the Regional One North East on Saturday afternoon, after throwing away what had seemed to be a certain victory inside the game’s final 10 minutes.

After a long break, the match at local rivals Driffield was eagerly anticipated by both clubs, and it did not disappoint.

The lay-off had provided time for many of York’s injuries to clear up and they were able to field a first-choice team, with Paddy Hayes pulling on the Number 7 jersey and only Joe Simpson still side lined.

York kicked off with a gusting breeze blowing across the pitch, but that was to be last touch they had for ten minutes as a well drilled Driffield side mounted an onslaught against a resilient defence, protecting the ball well in contact and recycling quickly. 

However, York gradually started to get on top, and with more possession and gaining territory, they looked looking more threatening with ball in hand.

That pressure paid off and lead to the game’s opening try. Will Scholey powered over to the left of the posts after good approach play had taken York to the 22m line, with Declan Cusack adding the extras. 

Will Fordy extended York’s lead four minutes later following a fantastic team move.

Good interplay and quick hands took York to a ruck on the right-hand side, with the ball then pushed left quickly to Scholey. He fed Cusack, who passed the ball to Mitch Ashman, who raced to the line before feeding George Davies to cross the line for the visitors’ third try in less than 10 minutes.

Driffield managed to pull the half-time score back to 12-17 with tries from Edward Falkingham and skipper Rob Mewburn, but it was York who ended the half with a deserved five-point lead.

York started well in the second half, with Fordy crossing for his second try of the match after strong forward play, Cusack again converting.

As the game became more balanced Driffield began to look dangerous with the ball in hand, Hayes preventing what seemed a certain try with a devastating cover tackle on the wing.

Perhaps the closeness of the battle prompted the decision to go for goal when York were awarded a penalty on the left-hand side of the field on the Driffield 22m line, with Cusack making no mistake in putting the ball between the uprights to take York into a 15-point lead.

With the hosts needing to score three times to win, it seemed that York would close out the victory.

A number of changes forced York to re-organise, with Joe Maud on for Willem Enslin at Number 8, Enslin replacing Sam Croft, and Archie Fothergill going to second row.

Cusack was also replaced, with George Davies going to fly half, Sam Elliot going to full-back and Angus Barrick moving to the wing.

But with ten minutes of normal time remaining, Driffield mounted a sustained onslaught that saw them retain the ball for most of the closing stages. 

Ben Dinsdale and the back row again made good ground to threaten the York line, pulling the deficit back to eight points, before scrum half Steve Watts jinked his way through a tired defence near the posts to setup another nail-biting finish. 

A high tackle from York on their 22m line, gave a penalty to Driffield, with the hosts completing the turnaround with the last kick of the game.

The result leaves York in eighth place on 33 points from their eight matches ahead of the visit of high-fyling Heath on Saturday (3pm).