Quarter final exit for below par Aire
By Granville Sellers
Aire demolished by rampant Harrogate
Aire 0 v Harrogate 57
On the back of a series of improving performances, underdogs Aire felt they were in with a chance of causing an upset against a big guns Harrogate. The strong and swirling wind was bound to be a factor & one which the coaches had identified as an area which Harrogate would look to exploit with their exceptional kicking game.
Aire had been surprisingly lethargic in the warm up and their game readiness was tested immediately whenHarrogate recovered the ball from the kick off. There was to be a deja vous moment from the first encounter, when a deep and accurate clearance kick wasn’t quickly diffused. Full back Jack Higgins found himself isolated on the deck and the ball was quickly snaffled by the chaser which led to a score in the opening minute.
Matters got worse from the restart, when the visitors waltzed with ease through some flimsy defence to score a 2nd in as many minutes. Aire were shell shocked and their body language told a story. Aire steadied themselves, but Harrogate were the dominant team and the rest of the first half was a rearguard action. Another sloppy try was conceded leading to half time score of 19-o
The narrative continued into the second half with poor tackling ,ineffective organisation and a lack of controlled aggression allowing Harrogate to keep the score board ticking over with regular frequency. Aire's pack were on the back foot, with only the line out catch and drive actually delivering any front foot ball.
Aire were on the ropes and their cause wasn’t helped by some aimless field kicking which gifted field position and at least a couple of very tries.
In contrast Harrogate were well drilled, precise and clinical in both attack and defence. Aire were always 2nd best in this encounter and it was a relief when the final whistle was blown. Without doubt Aire we’re poor, but take nothing away from Harrogate who were organised,made good decisions and were clinical
Without doubt Aire have the individual talent to mix it with the likes of Harrogate, but with the influx of new players the squad needs to gel. Improved individual and team performance can only be achieved by hard work both on and off the field.
Aire need to learn from this match and have a shot at redemption when they travel to Huddersfield YMCA this coming Sunday 11:00 KO