Aire 62 - 3 Skipton
By Rich Lister
Aire ruthless as travelling Skipton put to sword
Match ball sponsored by Step Change Outsourcing, experienced telesales and customer research company working on accounts like EE, the UK’s market leading mobile phone network.
Aire’s form of late has been strong, with 3 wins on the bounce coming into this fixture against sides that were all above Aire in the table at the time, the 1st XV were looking to make it four from four on Saturday at Nunroyd Park.
A nervy opening saw Aire get the best of the initial exchanges, winning a penalty which skipper Catherall pulled wide. Skipton capitalised and a number of Aire lapses allowed Skipton to pressure Aire’s line as they got a shunt on in the scrum down the hill. The pressure told, and the Skipton side showed maturity in taking the three to lead Aire 0-3 on 10 minutes.
Unfortunately for Skipton, that was about as good as it got during the afternoon.
Aire made territory count for the remainder of the half, opting for a scrum in front of the sticks following a Skipton infringement. Dissent from the sidelines quickly faded as Jonny Mackey (sponsored by Dave Greenwood) flicked the ball to Stu Wilson (sponsored by GMex Construction) through the offside Skipton scrum half’s legs, and with an overlap to his left, Ollie Catherall danced through to score, converting his own try. 7-3 Aire.
Two further tries came before half time. Excellent turnover work by Chris Chapman (sponsorship still up for grabs) in the Aire half allowed Jonny Mackey the opportunity for the first after the backs had opened their legs to go nearly the length of the field. The third came off the back of an improving scrum, the backs clinical again out wide with Ollie working tirelessly on the open side to get on the end of the sweeping move to score again. Both tries unconverted, half time arrived with Skipton trailing 17-3.
Aire kicked on in the second half, the bonus point coming in spectacular fashion; slick hands in the backs saw Rob Johnson (awaiting player sponsorship - get in touch if you’d like to support us by sponsoring Rob) cut a beautiful line on the wing, an inside pass to Ollie Catherall and a draw and pass to Nick Jackson (sponsored by Furniture Clinic) working incredibly hard to back up, who went under the sticks for his efforts. 24-3.
Harley Stevenson-Cocks (also unsponsored, and seems to get mentions most weeks) took two players over the line with him for the fifth, again converted, 31-3.
The floodgates continued to stay open as Aire piled on another 32 points in 20 minutes, with another few belters. Skipton added to their own woes with a red card for their centre following an off the ball scuffle uncharacteristic with the rest of the afternoon’s play, as the game was played in a great spirit.
The next two Aire scores saw Catherall complete his hatrick which he converted, and Anthony Clitheroe (unsponsored)went under the poles for the seventh, again converted by Catherall to make it 45-3.
Liam Cree (sponsored by Phil Knowles) added another score shortly after. This move started from the kick off with a great carry from Phil Shopland-Reed (sponsored by WKH Plastics) who did more of his fair share of the dirty work during the afternoon. Hands down the line from Chapman, who severely tested Mackey’s hamstrings, the Number 8 up to the task releasing Liam to score in the corner in a long distance corker, 50-3 with 10 to play.
Aire’s spirit was summed up by Alan Justham’s (available for player sponsorship) next score, causing havoc at the breakdown, hacking through and chasing down a bobbling ball to dot down, conversion from the touchline just drifting wide. 55-3
The last score fittingly rounded off a great afternoon for captain Catherall, scoring and converting his own score to take his personal tally for the afternoon to 32 points.
Skipton put up a fight until the last and Aire’s resolute defence combined with accurate set piece kept them at bay throughout the afternoon.
MoM: Not just tries and a decent afternoon off the tee, Ollie Catherall was a menace to Skipton all afternoon and lead the Aire side to one of their best performances of recent seasons, using the Cree / Copsey midfield combination exquisitely and releasing the dangerous outside backs at will. Ollie is sponsored by Scoff.
Brown Ale: Aire’s lovers were called on this week to pay for taking their dearly beloveds out and causing training on Valentine’s day to be cancelled.
Champagne Moment: Martyn Booth took the fizz this week for moving faster than he had all day during the off-the-ball incident that saw Skipton’s centre red carded, earning the bubbles for being first man in.
Next week Aire host Sheffield Medics and Dentists (fixture moved as postponed pre-Christmas), before the panto starts - there are only a few tickets left snap them up quickly here.