Frustration for Pythons after defeat at Aireborough

Dan Shortman secures line-out ball during his side's defeat at Aireborough
Dan Shortman secures line-out ball during his side's defeat at Aireborough

Harrogate Pythons were beaten for the second game in succession in Yorkshire Three, losing out 24-14 on the road at Aireborough.

The hosts kicked-off deep and Gareth Drane responded with a good exit clearance.

Joe Bentham was tackled in midfield and an Aire flanker was penalised at the ruck. Ivan Drane elected to kick for goal, but his effort came back off the post.

From a penalty conceded by the Pythons, Aire were abe to set up a driving maul and their big pack rolled over for a try in the corner and a 5-0 lead after 10 minutes.

A big tackle in midfield by Ivan Drane then gained the visitors possession and the ball went wide to Ollie Wheatley who beat his man on the outside before Nathan Wake appearedto crash over under the posts , only for the referee to rule that he was tackled just short and held.

Another great break by Wheatley eventually saw him knocked into touch, however Hugh Tatlow won the resulting line-out and Wheatley picked up a pass on his bootlaces to scorch over out wide.

Ivan Drane added theextras to put his team 7-5 ahead in the 33rd minute.

The half ended with the Pythons in command and Ivan Drane narrowly missing two kicks at goal, but the away side went into the interval with their noses just about in front.

Harrogate were forced into a re-shuffle at half-time with Wake breaking ribs during his try-scoring attempt, meaning that Matt Leach stepped up to to take his place at prop.

The changes were yet to bed in as Aire shoved the Pythons off their first scrum of the second period and they then went back ahead through a driving maul from a line-out.

Disaster then struck for the visitors as, having claimed the re-start, they spun the ball wide, only for an Aire centre to intercept and run half the length of the pitch to register his side’s second try in the space of a minute.

Finding themselves 19-7 down with under 20 minutes remaining, the Pythons responded well and Wheatley and Bentham both made it over the Aire line, however the referee saw fit to disallow both efforts.

As Aire came forwards, Ivan Drane dummied a clearance kick inside his own 22 and sliced straight through the hosts’ line before offloading to Max Sharp who drew the home full-back and put Wheatley away.

The Aire winger got across to make a high tackle on Wheatley leaving the referee no option but to award a penalty try which was booted over by Ivan Drance to close the gap to 19-14 with six minutes to go.

The Pythons scented victory knowing a converted try would move them in front, but it was the hosts who were to have the final word, touching down from another driving maul and sealing the points.