Rugby union: Wheatley slip; Phoenix dominate; Thorne climb table

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Wheatley Hills, after winning their opening match, slipped off the pace in North One East when they suffered their second successive defeat, going down 19-15 at Driffield, writes Frazer Snowdon.

In the overall scheme of things it was not an unexpected result, Wheatley having finished four places behind their rivals last season, but the visitors started in confident mood and twice took the lead against Driffield.

Jonathan Woodcock kicked Wheatley into a second-minute lead with a penalty goal but, despite a period of dominance by the visitors, the Woldsmen went ahead when they broke from their own 22 and took play down the field for centre Sam Furbank to race over between the posts.

But Wheatley were soon pressing again, and as they were going for a pushover they were awarded a penalty try for a Driffield scrum offence.

Woodcock’s conversion gave the visitors a 10-7 half-time lead.

Wheatley came out strongly after the break, increasing their lead when No 8 Tom White scored within two minutes, but that was as far as they went and Driffield gained control with further touchdowns from left wing Rob Murray and scrum-half Chris Gray.

Wheatley continued to press the Driffield line but were unable to break through a solid defence.

They face another hard game on Saturday, despite home advantage, when they take on early league leaders Pocklington.

Wheatley are now in sixth position behind Pocklington, Dinnington, Sheffield, Percy Park and Driffield.

Doncaster Phoenix were dominant in their game against North Ribblesdale, running out 29-11 winners.

It was Ribblesdale who took the early lead, kicking a penalty after five minutes but Phoenix captain Andy Ellis put his side in the lead with a try on 10 minutes and Ben Miller converted.

Ryan Peacey was the next to score to make it 12-3 and James Holland touched Phoenix’s third try down on 35 minutes to make it 17-3.

North Ribblesdale managed to score a try just before the break but Phoenix continued to press forward in the second half and were rewarded for their pressure when debutant Josh Fowler crashed over from the wing.

Ribblesdale responded with another converted penalty but a try and conversion from Tom Bagnall and Ben Miller on 52 minutes made it 29-11 and completed the scoring.

Thornensians are now up to second place in Yorkshire Division Three after a resounding 55-3 home victory over ninth placed Burley, from Leeds.

Thorne slipped behind to an early Burley penalty goal but it was soon one-way traffic and the home side eventually ran in nine tries, including a hat-trick from winger Brett Hunt.

Prop Adan Smith, second row Rob Raper, centre Will Turnbull, winger Oli Cox, full-back Zak Holgate and replacement winger Danny Gilbert were Thorne’s other try scorers.

Centre Stuart Hughes converted three and Oli Cox two more.

Thorne won the game in the backs, and their handling was impressive despite the greasy conditions.

On Saturday they take on fifth placed Old Modernians at Leeds.