It’s been a mixed couple of weeks since we last managed to catch up with Head Coach and Director of Rugby, Geoff Wappett. During that time Macclesfield Blues have managed to secure a vital win against Blackheath, but unfortunately then came unstuck against a powerful and athletic Esher side at the weekend. However, there are positives to be had for the team, even in defeat. The team are still managing to create opportunities; it’s just that at times they are struggling to convert them. There may be no competitive game this weekend, but Geoff and the team are upping the intensity of the training during the coming week, so that the Blues will be ready to fire on all cylinders against Wharfedale next weekend. Here are Geoff’s thoughts about Blackheath, Esher and the Macclesfield Rugby Club’s long injury list.
So, since we last spoke the Club has won one game and lost another, how do you think these two games went?
“The Blackheath game went pretty well I’m pleased to say. The irony is that it wasn’t really that different than some of our other performances this season, the only difference being that we didn’t have that bad 10 minute spell where the game plan came unstuck. We managed to keep our concentration throughout the match and weren’t careless. We played consistently and were well deserving of our win in my view. We took great encouragement from that performance.”
“Our visit to Esher last weekend was sadly a different story. The conditions were difficult, but it was difficult for both sides so we won’t use that as an excuse. We actually played quite well, but the truth is they were a much more powerful and athletic side than us and we couldn’t live with them. You have to remember that 7 or 8 of their players have Championship experience and it showed. They could lift their play to a level of intensity that we struggled to match.”
“For large portions of the game we were there or thereabouts, but we couldn’t convert our opportunities into scores. We had two or three scoring chances in the first half but couldn’t take them. The difference is when they got an opportunity they took it. Esher are a good side no doubt. We’ve spoken in the past about games where had things gone differently we might have won: that clearly wasn’t the case with Esher. They are a strong and commanding side and they were definitely one of the best sides we’ve played.”
“The score line at half time was a little unfair as we were playing competitively. Still we didn’t get our heads down and managed to tighten things up during the second half. We kept Esher to a single score and again had one or two opportunities ourselves, so I take some comfort from that. The major difference between the two sides is that we just didn’t have that extra edge to take our opportunities.”
You’ve got a week’s respite now before the clash with Wharfedale at Priory Park, how’s the injury situation progressing?
“Unfortunately Will Bordill has joined the walking wounded list with a shoulder injury: hopefully he might be back in time for the Albanians game. The likelihood is that Mike Finnemore might be back in the back row for Wharfedale after a 6 or 7 week lay-off with a knee ligament injury. Chris Jones had the pins removed from his leg last week and he’s now back in full training, so hopefully, fingers crossed, he’ll be back in action in the New Year. Tom Davenport has also been out for a while, but we’re hopeful that by Christmas time he might be back in contention. Dean Williams is reaching that stage where we can probably say with confidence that he’ll also be back in the New Year.”
“Sadly it’s not all good news: Ryan Parkinson’s consultant is a little bit concerned about the way his arm’s knitting together at the moment, so he probably won’t be back in action for a while. Billy Robinson has played a couple of games for the second team, but his ankle keeps swelling up, so we’ll have to monitor that carefully. By and large things are improving ever so gradually, and we’ll just keep our fingers crossed that we don’t pick up any more injuries in our heavy training sessions this week.”