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Driffield RUFC set for biggest match for 20 years

Driffield RUFC play their biggest match for 20 years this weekend, with the club just 80 minutes away from an appearance at the home of English rugby.

The Woldsmen face Syston in the semi-finals of the Papa John’s Community Cup, with the winners getting to play at Twickenham eight days later.

A crowd of more than 500 is expected at Kelleythorpe on Saturday, with the winners facing Heath or Havant in the final.

The second XV will also be on home turf in a big game of their own, a play-off semi-final against Billingham.

Club chairman Dom Thompson said: “It is a massive weekend for the club. Getting to Twickenham would be the icing on the cake of a fantastic season.

“We have done very well from the junior section right up to the first team, with things going really well on and off the field.

“We would love for the town to come out in numbers to support us. It’s the semi-final of a national cup, the last time we reached this stage was in 2004, when myself and Bash were involved with playing.

“Sport in this town, whether it is football, rugby, cricket or hockey, has always punched above its weight. We have a fantastic sporting network.

“Come down and support our lads. We are expecting a big crowd and it is looking like a big day for the club.”

The match kicks off at 3pm and admission is £5 and free for children.

On paper, the two teams look incredibly well-matched. Both sides finished the season with 79 points, and both finished in third place in their leagues.

Syston are based near Leicester and play in Regional One Midlands, and Driffield’s coach Chris Young admits he does not know too much about his side’s opponents.

“There is quite a bit of unknown, but with this being our first season at this level, we have had plenty of unknowns to deal with.

“We’ve managed to get a bit of footage of them and spoken to teams who have played against them.

“Home advantage is huge for us, but they seem to quite enjoy playing away from home.

“We will pretty much be at full strength, selection will be the hardest we’ve had to make all season, but a 22-man matchday squad helps us.”

The first XV had a weekend off, but the thirds were in action and won their Merit league play-off semi-final, beating Hullensians 39-19.

Chairman of rugby Patrick ‘Bash’ Burdass, said: “A great effort saw us 23-7 ahead at half-time and we were in the driving seat as we took our opportunities really well.

“We had a bad 20-minute spell at the start of the second half and Hullensians got back to 23-19 and they were looking strong, but they gifted us two tries, an interception and a dropped pass, which meant we won comfortably in the end.”

They will face BP or Goole at a neutral venue on 29th April, the day before the club’s potential trip to Twickenham.

The fourth team also played on Saturday, earning a 29-all draw against Beverley 2nds. A late Driffield conversion which hit the post proved crucial, as Beverley were able to grab a last-ditch penalty try, and add a conversion of their own, to level the scores.

With all eyes on Kelleythorpe this weekend, the fourths will be playing an important match of their own, a Merit league play-off semi-final at Scunthorpe

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