Aire 22 v Morley 38
Aire u16’s faced a daunting challenge against Morley in this first round Yorkshire Cup game. Their opponents are steeped in Cup success, having been regulars in the final over the last few years.
The conditions were difficult, with a heavy pitch and torrential rain making ball handling very tricky.
Aire received the kick off and a series of drives were met by a solid marrooon wall of tacklers, who hit hard in the tackle & who competed at the breakdown. A turn over gave Morley possession and it was then their turn to test the home sides defensive structures. Aire had to soak up some pressure, but they also defended with commitment & physicality. Defences were on top and the opening 15 minutes were generally played within the middle third of the pitch.
After difficulties in the last match, it was evident that the extra training had paid off and Aire’s power packed scrum was in the ascendancy. The sizeable front row of Vaughan, Tom Rudd & Mason definitely had the upper hand and the engine room of TommyRollinson & skipper Jonny Ivory added ballast in the 2nd row.
Both teams probed, but it would have been easier handling a bar of Imperial Leather soap. Aire began to find some territory and were awarded a penalty 30m out. It was time to get on the score board, so the kick was taken and Aire drew first blood.
Morley immediately responded and it was their urn to get a foothold in Aire’s territory. Aire were forced to soak up pressure and eventually the line was broken and Morley went in for a converted score.
Aire responded with meaty drives from the likes of Matt Tindale, Vaughan Reeves and Mason Cliff. A gap was spotted on the right & Lewis Rudd Watson was put into space 30m out. He split 2 defenders with an impressive show and go & raced in to dive in the corner. The ball appeared to have been grounded before skipping on the turf, but the referee was behind play and apparently unsighted. The refs decision was no try as he didn’t see the grounding and the game restarted with a 22m. Aire certainly felt aggrieved, but showed resolve to bounce back. The set piece was going well and once again Aire were in good field position.
The Aire forwards drove hard and eventually the pressure told & Joe Priestley crashed over from 2m. Unfortunately the conversion was missed & Aire went in at the break 14-8 down.
There were only minutes left on the clock and Morley capitalised on a lapse of concentration to score a soft try.
The second half was a much looser affair, with more space out wide for fast lads. Aire added a long range solo effort by Sammy Woodley, who raced in under the sticks. The conversion was slotted and Aire took the lead 15-14.
Unfortunately the lead was short lived and a lapse in defensive concentration allowed Morley to strike back to regain the lead.
The big collisions continued & neither side were taking a backward step. The bench had been unloaded at half time and added some fresh legs and impetus. Eddie Farnell was putting himself about & Ollie Nicholson showed good pace to track back in defence and make an important tackle.
Aire marched up field and were awarded a scrum on Morley’s 5m line. Aire had Morley’s scrum under the pump, but for some reason decided not to walk them over the line and the ball was released to the backs. This played into Morley’s hands and they shut out the danger. Aire gathered a loose kick and rumbled back up field. A series of powerful drives were repelled; however Aire were just metres short. Tom “Chelsea” Hirst hit a hard line and crashed over for to score & Aire took the lead.
Morley’s restart went deep & unfortunately the ball was fumbled and Morley attacked from the scrum. Further mistakes gave Morley an opportunity and they went in to take the lead.
Aire then lost their shape and further mistakes gave Morley further opportunities, which they seized & scored 2 further quick fire tries.
Aire were shattered at the final whistle & there was a feeling that they could and maybe should have won the game.
All the Aire lads fronted up, but there were some stand out performances, particularly in the pack. Joe Priestley had a solid game, Tommy Rollinson hit some nice lines & carried well. Skipper Jonny Ivory led from the front & invariably made yards. Tom Rudd is growing into the hooker role and getting better with each game. In the backs Josh Wood looked at home in the full back position and Sammy Woodley had a great game in the centre. Jack Dawson &!Felix Kraam both looked sharp on the wing
It’s hard to single players out, but joint man of the match award goes to props Vaughan “Reevo” Reeves and the Mason Cliff. Both were magnificent and put in a huge shift throughout the whole game.