Any nervousness the team might have been feeling was quickly dispelled after the early try against Cinderford at Priory Park last Saturday. From that point Macclesfield Blues looked every inch the better team, despite the awarding of a controversial penalty try. Head Coach and Director of Rugby, Geoff Wappett, has promised as much after the encouraging performance at Ealing the previous weekend. He said they could take confidence from the game, and boy was he proved right. Macclesfield Blues took the full 5 points, and you’d have to say it was thoroughly deserved. Naturally Geoff was thrilled with not just the win, the manner of the win too: but, he’s not getting carried away just yet. There’s the small matter of the bottom of the league clash with Cambridge to deal with first. Here are Geoff’s thoughts on the game and the upcoming fixture at Cambridge.
You must have been absolutely delighted with that performance at the weekend: how well did the Blues play?
“Oh yes, I’m absolutely delighted by that result, and think we definitely deserved the full 5 points. I knew after the Ealing performance that we were playing better overall, and it showed in the performance against Cinderford. We got off to a good start and looked lively. For the first 10 minutes we were dominant, but then we let them back into it, which was a mistake. Cinderford are a tidy side, and they gave us a bit of trouble. We conceded a really strange penalty try which set us back a bit. They crossed kicked to their winger and Jack Moorhouse raced after the ball. He was adjudged to have deliberately knocked the ball into touch in our in-goal area and was yellow carded. It seemed harsh to me, but there you go. That brought the game back to 10 all, but we kicked a penalty just before the break to give us a slender lead.”
“In the second half we were excellent. For the first 25 minutes of the half we really put them to the sword and played some good stuff. We took our foot off the pedal after we’d scored the bonus point try, but fortunately weren’t made to pay for that. So, all in all, a very satisfying day at the office.”
Was that performance more like the Macclesfield of old?
“Absolutely. It just goes to show that experience can make all the difference. Dean Williams played his second game and put in a really good performance. Billy Robinson’s experience has made an immense difference to our scrum at tight head, and Ryan Parkinson made his return after a long injury lay off. You won’t believe this but after 25 minute he dislocated his thumb. He eventually went off and had loads of stitches. We were worried at the time that the injury might end his season, but things are looking a little more positive now. It’s unbelievable to get yet another hand injury: it seems to go from one disaster to another, and what’s worse is that it couldn’t happen to a nicer bloke. He’s a great lad and has worked his socks off to get fit and get back. The thing is when you’ve got players like this coming back into the team, the influence they have over the players around them is immense.”
Next up is bottom of the table Cambridge, what are you expecting from them?
“Cambridge were hit for over 100 on Saturday, so they’ll be hurting from that. In fairness we’ve no idea what sort of team they sent down to Rosslyn Park or whether they’d written off the fixture before travelling, but as a squad they’ll feel the pressure of that result and we can expect a reaction to that. But we’ve just got to concentrate on our game and not second guess other teams. We’ve beaten them once this season and shown that we have the game to cause them problems, so we have to do a workmanlike job on them and really make a point of trying to get the full 5 points. Our confidence is in good shape, and as long as we control that confidence and stay focused, then I think we should be OK.”