Aire 32-10 Hemsworth
Dominant display at Nunroyd Park
Home match balls sponsored by Step Change.
Aire started the day in 6th position in the league, expecting a tough home encounter with 4th placed Hemsworth who had given Aire a scare in the first meeting this season, as Aire ran out victors by the closest possible margin.
Starting the brighter, the first half saw Aire score a trio of tries. The first coming from an efficient driving maul, Aire’s pack making light work of Hemsworth’s defence having given away a penalty in midfield that allowed skipper Ollie Catherall (sponsored by Scoff) to put Aire 15m out. Rich Lister (sponsored by Fire Investigations UK) was the beneficiary of Jonny Mackey’s (sponsored by Dave Greenwood) move to the centres, the front row dotting down at the back of the well set drive. Conversion missed, 5-0.
Following the restart, Aire continued to be clinical on exit, and Hemsworth continued their ill discipline. Forcing a defensive lineout on Hems 5m line, the knock on saw Aire take a scrum. The scrum was utterly dominant all afternoon, and Si Hill crashed over from short range as the Hemsworth back row were manoeuvred away from any hope of defending a Number 8 pick through great work from the Aire tight five of Martyn Booth, Tim Baxter, Alan Justham and Tom Pendriss.
The conversion neatly slotted from wide by Catherall, Aire led 12-0.
Aire continued to press, Si Hill followed with a second try from slightly longer range (10m) as Aire continued to take their chances. Having dominated possession and territory in the first half, Aire were still in third gear and there was nervous chat at half time knowing that previous weeks had seen lapses of concentration and an inability to play for 80 minutes.
The 17 point half time lead was swiftly cut as Hemsworth scored two unconverted tries, with ill discipline from Aire allowing Hemsworth the ball, and missed tackles / set piece inaccuracy costing Aire the cushion they’d built in the first forty.
The wake up call given, Aire pressed into the Hemsworth half and despite an Aire knock on 10m from the Hemsworth try line, Aire’s pack shoved Hemsworth off the ball, Will Warrington ably controlling the ball as the scrum hurtled forward, dotting down for the bonus point score: 24-17.
The re-introduction of Tom Pendriss (sponsored by Ilkley Dental Care) and Si Hill saw Aire making yards through forward carries, and earned a penalty in front which Ollie Catherall neatly slotted, 27-10.
Nick Jackson then forgot he’d moved from the wing to the front row, and finding himself on the outside decided to chip in behind the Hemsworth defence. Regathering and finishing brilliantly in the corner, Chunky was denied through lack of home touch-judge as the referee adjudged him in touch.
However, that wasn’t to be the end of champagne front row rugby for the afternoon, as the next move saw great hands to find Tim Baxter (sponsored by Haminist Ceremonies) in the wide channels running in from distance (5m) to score a beaut. Conversion missed, and final score 32-10.
An efficient day at the office saw Aire comfortable victors in front of sponsors Engage Management and Global Retail Group, in honour of which Aire wore the Crusaders kit on the day.
MoM: Alan Justham was everywhere on Saturday, and Coach Si Davies said: “this guy just gets better and better”.
Brown Ale went to Tom Copsey for late arrival (back from holiday a day early to play-good lad); and Tim Baxter’s long distance effort earned him the champagne.
Next week Aire head to Northallerton to chase down fourth place in the league, but first host Bramley in the Aire Wharfe Cup on Wednesday, ko 6.15pm at Nunroyd Park.