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1st XV - Match centre

S Wilson
Sat 21 Apr 15:00 - Northern Division - Yorkshire Division Three Full time

Aireborough toil in the North Yorkshire sun

Aireborough brought back down to earth by clinical Northallerton display.

Aireborough’s luck swung one way and then the other this week in dramatic fashion to prove that whilst the league may be winding down now that the two promotion slots have been filled and at least one relegation slot practically confirmed, the news coming from the Nunroyd Park is as action packed as the gym on 1st January each year.

The good news for Aireborough is that the new training area, despite some plonkers having a little barbeque on it last week and leaving a little scorched area, is looking good and will be ready for next season and Aireborough's push for Yorkshire 2.

The bad news for Aireborough occurred during the defeat on Saturday away at table-topping Northallerton when resident joker Thomas Copsey suffered a double leg break which brought the game to an early close with Northallerton comfortably wining 55 to 5 with an hour gone of the match. You’d have thought with the amount of cheese slices consumed over the past couple of seasons that those calcium rich bones would be as strong as steel but alas they are not – snapping like twigs on a forest floor as the covering Northallerton defence tackled the advancing Copsey following an excellent break by the ever-improving youngster Jamie Sykes.

It was actually Aireborough’s best move of the day which ultimately ended up with the stricken Copsey lying prone in some considerable distress; a cross-field kick from Ollie Catherall in the centre of the pitch was well caught out wide by substitute Jamie Sykes who showed a clean pair of heels to his opposite number before drawing the fullback and offloading well to the supporting Thomas Copsey who was well tracked and tackled by the covering defender.

Aireborough’s second best move of the day was pretty much their first move of the day and resulted in scrum half Stuart Wilson sniping from around a ruck close to the Northallerton try line to press the ball down for his third try of the season. One can only hope his sponsor, GMEX Construction, build sturdier structures than the foundations Aireborough built for themselves on Saturday! Aireborough were quickest out of the blocks and for the first 10 minutes applied constant pressure on Northallerton which provided the base for Stuart Wilson’s unconverted try.

Northallerton, however, aren’t top of the league for no reason and soon began to assert themselves on Aireborough and forced their way into the game. Despite a number of changes from previously victorious Aireborough sides in recent weeks, Aireborough contained the revered Northallerton pack and were more than a match for them and their coveted one dimensional catch-and-drive approach which has been the basis of their success this season.

Northallerton’s backs aren’t too shabby either though, despite often playing second fiddle to their larger counterparts in the forwards and as the two large packs cancelled each other in midfield Northallerton turned to plan B and began stretching Aireborough out wide with quick hands and quicker feet.

With Northallerton dominating possession, if not territory, it was only a matter of time before they breached the stretched Aireborough defence and dotted down out toward the wing to draw the teams level.

Two more Northallerton tries followed as both teams wilted a little in the sun and the intensity of the match began to tell and laboured breathing from the two large packs could be mistaken for hippos giving birth. The referee brought the half to an end, much to everyone’s relief, with Northallerton leading 15-5 at half time – three unconverted tries to one – and water and advice from Si Davies was taken on board during the break.

HT: Northallerton 15 v Aireborough 5.

With Si Davies’s inspirational words going in one ear and out the other, Aireborough started the second half poorly – Northallerton’s dancing fullback making short work of a tired Aire defence and with their kicker finally finding his boots Aireborough were 22-5 down and any hope of victory from the first half display seemed to have been evaporated by the hot North Yorkshire sun.

More tries followed from Northallerton as their talismanic full back stepped, weaved and jinked past defenders and either scored himself or found a supporting attacker. Aireborough were unable to get a hand on a player who will definitely not look out of place in Yorkshire 2 next season.

Aireborough made it harder for themselves with ill-discipline giving Northallerton territory and Matty Jones’s outrageous deliberate knock-on earning himself a ten-minute rest and giving Northallerton even more space to run into.

Northallerton continued to be clinical in attack, moving the ball wide at every opportunity and more (I don’t know the actual number) tries were scored as a despondent Aireborough yo-yo’d between their own sticks and the half way line and prayed for an early final whistle to put them out of their misery – which did eventually happen, but in a way that no one would have wished.

FT: Northallerton 55 v Aireborough 5.

Man of the Match: At half time, this could have gone to any of the players, all of whom had put a shift in against their table-topping counterparts. At full time, this also could have gone to anyone, but only because we were all as bad as each other and this would have been renamed to the ‘who was least rubbish’ award. For putting his body literally on the line for the cause, Thomas Copsey stood out as man of the match (don’t see this in anyway of a sympathy vote though Copsey – even though it kind of is…).

Being the gentleman that he is, however, I know Copsey would pass on the award to the People of the Match who were undoubtedly the paramedics from Yorkshire Ambulance Service who were quickly on the scene to provide top quality care that only our fantastic NHS can deliver and our own physio Heidi who is very much the unsung hero of the playing team.

Brown Ale Moment: I know I just awarded them the people of the match award but the paramedics were in the mix for this award, deciding to take Copsey to Middlesbrough (for those that haven’t been, think Mordor crossed with Dresden after the allies gave it a right good going over in WW2 and dropped nearly 4,000 tons of explosives on the city – I’d rather go to Coventry and that says it all). Yes, Middlesbrough at 22 miles is much closer to Northallerton than Leeds (54 miles) but even so, the lad’s broken his leg and then you do that to him! Despite all that however, Matty Jones for his ridiculous knock on wins the award – so even if you weren’t there in Northallerton see it, given the paramedics didn’t win the award for Middlesbrough, you can guess just how bad it was.

Aireborough will be looking to bounce back from this defeat, just their second in nine games, with a strong performance away at Yarnbury 2’s in the Aire Wharfe cup on Wednesday. Kick-off is at 6.30pm and the lads would appreciate your support from the side lines. More details to follow on social media and Slack.

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Key moments

Try Stuart Wilson scores for Aireborough


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50:00 Yellow Card
Matty Jones is yellow carded for Aireborough
End of period 1
10:00 Try 0 - 5
Stuart Wilson scores for Aireborough
Start of the game
Replay game

As it happened

  • Northallerton
  • Aireborough
  • 0
  • Stuart Wilson Try 10:00'
  • Matty Jones Yellow Card 50:00'

Team selection

Stevenson-Cocks, Harley Stevenson-Cocks, Harley
Johnson, Rob Johnson, Rob
Copsey, Thomas Copsey, Thomas
Barber, Nick Barber, Nick
Jones, Matty Jones, Matty
Catherall, Ollie Catherall, Ollie
Wilson, Stuart Wilson, Stuart
Exley, Luke Exley, Luke
Chapman, Christopher Chapman, Christopher
Holmes, Richard Holmes, Richard
Pendriss, Tom Pendriss, Tom
Justham, Alan Justham, Alan
Lister, Rich Lister, Rich
Jackson, Nick Jackson, Nick
Booth, Martyn Booth, Martyn

League round up

Other Yorkshire Division Three results

Leeds Modernians


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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Northallerton 25 109
2. Old Otliensians 25 102
3. Wensleydale 26 80
4. Leeds Modernians 26 71
5. Castleford 26 65
6. Aireborough 25 63
7. Hemsworth 26 63

Team sponsors


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