Aire march on with emphatic win
By Granville Sellers
Cross Green curtain comes down on South Leicester
Aire 46 v South Leicester 5
The Aire lads were in uncharted waters when they took on the challenge of East Midlands opposition South Leicester in the curtain raiser before the Otley National 2 senior game. Although missing some regulars, Aire were boosted by the return of their RL lads, who add direct running and physicality . There was a good crowd down watching and the sun was shining on what was to be an exciting afternoon.
South Leicester certainly had some big units in their ranks, so the game plan was to play a high tempo and expansive game. South won the toss and elected to swap sides, so Aire had the sun in their eyes in the first half. It was the kick chase that was dazzling though, with Aire smothering South and forcing them to concede an early penalty. Skipper Johnny Ivory declined the kick to touch & then charged onto a quick tap penalty. The ruck was effectively cleaned out and the ball whipped to centre Sammy Woodley, who spotted a gap and went over from 15m for the opening score on the right hand side to make it 5-0.
The restart was fielded by the bullocking winger Lewis Rudd Watson, who bounced off several defenders, before spotting space wide. A well weighted grubber kick turned South and was pounced on by Sammy, who dotted down under post. Unfortunately the conversion sliced, but in the blink of an eye Aire led 10-0.
South were beginning to lose their composure and matters got worse when they got jackalled at restart ruck. Talisman hooker Eddie Farnell put in a pin point bomb kick, which was coughed up in South's in goal area. An attempted clearance fluffed and the ball ended up safely in Felix Kraam's bread basket and a flop over the line took Aire into a 17-0 lead.
Aire weren't in a charitable mood and again caught the restart & worked their way back into South’s territory. For once Aire lost possession, but stand off Harvey Sellers effected a smart turn over at the ruck. Scrum half Spencer Wood reacted to a numbers mismatch and fizzed a neat pass to Eddie Farnell, who cut a great line to score and make it 22-0.
Aire’s kicking game has been much improved over the last month and this time another well weighted grubber was picked up by Sam Woodley. He was brought down, But flanker Tom “Chelsea” Hirst was on hand to continue momentum. Tom was closed down, but provided a delicious offload to no8 Joe Priestley who clinically finished off the move to make it 27-0 at the break.
The lads went into the sheds pleased with their efforts, but knowing full well that South had some dangerous player and that focus would be essential in the 2nd stanza.
Half Time Aire 27 v South Leicester 0
Aire kicked off and Sammy’s accurate restart was not diffused by South, resulting in Aire winning possession back and the ball being taken to ground. The ruck was cleared and replacement scrum half Danyal Aslam whipped the ball wide and slick hands released Sammy Woodley, who made yet another searing break. As he was closed down a superb pass found Joe Boughton who outpaced the defence to score a superb try 34-0.
Whilst under the sticks, the South coaches laid the law down to their lads & the ear bashing had the desired effect as they were transformed into a different team from the resulting KO. They kept their discipline and began playing with passion and for the first time in the game, put Aire on the back foot. After minutes of sustained pressure, Aire found themselves with a line out in their own 5m line. Slow off the top ball was dollied up to stand off Harvey Sellers, who was clattered by South back row, causing him to spill the ball. South were quickest to react and it was their turn to get on the scoreboard 32-5.
The resulting KO led to a defending scrum, which was nudged backwards by the dominant Aire pack. Aire pressure forced South to kick, but the ball only found Ethan Heede, who made good yards down the left. He was eventually stopped, but a text book ruck clearance provided quick ball which Tom Ayrton gratefully received to dive in at the left corner 39-5
After some sloppy wok, it was Aire's turn to feel the heat deep in their own territory. South were turning the screw, but Aire's front row took one against the head and number 8 Joe Priestley lashed the ball downfield to relieve pressure. Aire forced another mistake and won the ball back, which ended up in Joe Boughton's mits. Joe's path to the try line was blocked by the considerable size of an opponent, but this didn't deter him and the defender was duly sat down and the final try scored for a 46-5 win.
The lads went into the sheds quite pleased with their efforts, but for the coaches it was a mixed bag. There was some really good work, but also some poor decision making, execution and a fair few missed opportunities.
Rucks JB bounce big unit 44-5g