Solid bonus point win for Pythons
Harrogate Pythons coach Dan Bird assembled a strong squad for the visit of Aireborough to Station View. The Pythons kicked off in front of a large, vociferous crowd however it was Aire who started quickly and the Pythons were penalised for offside in front of the posts to allow Aire to take the lead with a penalty. 0-3 4 mins. The Pythons responded when following a solid scrum Hugh Tatlow made good ground to win a penalty. Steve Youngson linked well with Jed Carr but Tatlow was tackled into touch. Aire were finding it tough going with Dan Harland and Sandy Dunlop leading the tackle count and Adam Challis and Luke Price-Gerrard making the hard yards. Clean line out ball led to a good break by Tim Evans and Matt Leach was first in support to pick up and drive over between the posts. Will Clough added the extras. 7-3 20 mins. Another clean break by Evans saw him heading off towards the line but the referee called him back for jumping into a tackle. Another cheap penalty conceded by the Pythons gave Aire a chance to reduce the deficit which they took with a well struck kick. 7-6 30 mins.
The Pythons responded when an Audsley-Beck pass put Tatlow clear. Quick ball was spun to Max Sharp on the wing who beat his man before being penalised for holding on. The clearance kick was superbly taken by Youngson who put Ollie Wheatley away. Leach won quick ball and Clough found Tatlow in a gap who raced away to score under the posts. Clough added the extras. 14-6 35 mins. However another lapse in the Pythons concentration allowed Aire another penalty which was converted to make the half time score Pythons 14 Aireborough 9.
The Pythons started the second period strongly with Sharp charging down the clearance kick but the Aire full back won the race to touch down. Audsley-Beck put in a kick and chase and was taken out. Ivan Drane took a quick tap but strong Aire defence kept the Pythons out. Tatlow took clean line out ball on the Aire 5 metre line and the Pythons went for the driving maul and piled over the line with Dunlop emerging as the try scorer. 19-9 49 mins. The Python’s scrum was now starting to dominate and a big drive by props Nathan Wake and Will Butler drove Aire off their own ball. A great ball steal from Sam Beagrie and strong carry from Dunlop saw Clough pick up and dart over for the bonus point try which he also converted. 26-9 70 mins. The Pythons were now playing with confidence and Youngson collected a clearance kick and ran infield to link with Evans who crashed through for the try. 31-9 77 mins. Another scrum against the head saw a jinking run by Carr who timed his pass perfectly to Audsley-Beck to cut through for the final try. Clough converted to make the final score Pythons 38 Aireborough 7.
This was a solid performance by the Pythons who will be looking to carry this form into next week’s game away at Wibsey.