The score may have looked like Macclesfield Blues were comprehensively beaten down at Ealing last weekend, but score lines can be deceptive. In fact, it was anything but easy. Ealing were made to work for their 5 points, and had the Blues been able to keep the level of intensity with which they played for most of the game, then they might have come away with a creditable bonus point. Still, there were plenty of positives to draw none the less. Head Coach and Director of Rugby, Geoff Wappett, was delighted with the spirit and commitment showed by the team and believes that the match could well prove to be the catalyst for the start of a Macclesfield Blues revival. The next few games will determine the team’s future, but Geoff is confident that the team have the ability and confidence to turn things around, starting with Cinderford’s visit to Priory Park at the weekend. Here’s what Geoff had to say.
How pleased were you with the performance against Ealing, if not the result?
“In spite of the score, we played really well. Ealing are a very good side, especially at home. They’re not at the top of the table for nothing. Ealing play with great pace and a level of intensity that few other teams in this league can match. Never the less, I thought we played really well, and that to me is the clearest indicator yet that things are definitely on the up. Yes, the final score may not have looked that close, but frankly I think that score flattered them. Our forwards performed really well and produced some good ball, and our defence was much better. Compared to the Albanians game, we were a totally different team. We were intense and focused, and on any other day could’ve come away with the bonus point our play deserved.”
So what made the difference? Why was this performance so much better than the one against Albanians?
“You could tell that the team was up for this one. I’d mentioned before the game that what I wanted was a performance, and that’s exactly what I got. They’d had a three week break because of the Sedgley postponement and it showed. They looked fresh and ready to go, and produced a performance that should give us great encouragement for the task that lies ahead. We have to kick on this weekend against Cinderford and build on the confidence that the Ealing game gave us. We all appreciate that we’ve got a massive task ahead of us, we’re in good heart and we will naturally be giving it our very best shot.”
How good is it to have the likes of Dean Williams and Billy Robinson back?
“It was a real boost having Dean back. He’s a big guy with a big heart who inspires confidence in those around him. Things are starting to look up in terms of injuries. Billy Robinson made his comeback recently, now Dean’s back and proving what an asset he is, and next Saturday Ryan Parkinson should be back which is great news. We now just don’t have an experienced pack to field but we’ve also got a strong bench to back that up. Unfortunately as seems to be the way this season, when one player comes back, another gets injured. We lost Alan Marsh with broken and dislocated fingers. He’s had an operation, but will be out of action for a while which is a real blow.”
So how do you build on that? What do you expect from Cinderford?
“Cinderford are a very good side and having probably their best season so far in National One. Having said that, we were disappointed with our last performance against them, especially giving away two or three easy interception tries. We weren’t playing all that well at the time, but we still managed to open them up. It’s going to be very competitive. We’re certainly not taking anything for granted or being overconfident, but I think we can get something out of the game.”