Macclesfield Lions 59 – 18 Wilmslow Vikings

11th September 2012

A scorching hot Saturday saw the first home game for the Lions who entertained league newcomers Wilmslow Vikings. Having played a Wilmslow XV during pre season the Lions half knew what to expect from the Vikings, however this was a local derby with bragging rights at stake therefore a tough encounter was to be expected. After last week’s poor performance in the second half against Lymm the Lions were determined to put together an improved performance.

As expected Wilmslow started strong and were competing well at the breakdown, slowing the ball and making it difficult for the Lions to advance down the field, however the Lions ball retention was good and they were able to put many phases together. It was not long before the Lions were able to score, Longmore converted. The Vikings were not phased by the score and continued to put pressure on the Lions and showed that they were able to defend most of what was thrown at them, however Macclesfield had vastly improved on the previous week’s performance and were putting countless phases together which usually ended up with a score. Wilmslow did manage to get over for a try not long before half time, some lazy defending in the Lions back line led to a huge opening for the Wilmslow front row to run in from the 22. Before the half time whistle Wilmslow had managed a try and two penalties. 39-11.

The half time score was not a true reflection on how well the Lions played, Regan was once again showing his first team credentials and was being supported well by the rest of the backline who were playing some very good error free rugby. The young pack were making vast inroads to the Vikings and putting the ball on a plate for Walker who was providing Roberts with some fantastic ball.

At half time the Lions knew they had more to give and went out with the intention on improving on last week’s second half. The first fifteen minutes saw the Lions put together more great play and showed the difference in the two teams, more tries were scored and some great rugby was on show, however the game was to end poorly for both teams. The structure went completely and errors started to creep in, once again the Lions knew the game was won and took their foot off the gas. Unfortunately the Lions were once again the victim of two poor yellow card decisions, within the space of 5 minutes F Lacey and Travis were both sent for 10 minutes rest. Wilmslow managed to get over for another converted try and the Lions did manage to raise their tally to 59 points but again the feeling after the game was that of disappointment. Try scorers for the Lions were Webber (2), Clowes, McCarthy, Knowles, O’Regan (2), Hardwick and Longmore who also converted 7, the game ended 59 – 18 in favour of the Lions.

The Lions have Birkenhead Park away next week and then face Preston at home the week after. This week was most certainly an improvement on the previous week at Lymm, the amount of phases that the Lions put together would have been more suited to national league rugby. There were also some good individual performances, Knowles showed he is one to keep an eye for the future whilst new arrival Longmore provided consistency with the boot. O’Regan put in another performance more suited to national 1 and the Lions will be lucky if he is not selected by Geoff Wappett for the Blues next Saturday. Overall a much better performance but a lot still to work on for the Lions.

Man of the Match: Matt O’Regan

Team: Travis, Knowles, Davenport, Lacey, McCarthy, Laing, Thorpe, Clowes, Walker, Roberts (capt), Board, O’Regan, Hardwick, Webber, Longmore.

Reserves: Curtis, Lacey, George

Next week the Lions travel to Birkenhead Park