Macclesfield came out on top in the local derby against Sedgley Park, beating the visitors 19-3 to overtake them in the league and go 14th in the league.
Two tries from Matt King and one from Ryan Parkinson ensured the victory, and boosts the Blues chances of escaping the relegation zone, who are now 13 points away from safety with 11 games remaining.
Head Coach and Director of Rugby Geoff Wappett was pleased with his side’s defensive display: “We had to get our defence right.
“I think that was our first game this season where we went the full 80 minutes and didn’t concede a try.”
Macclesfield dominated from the kick-off, and Ryan Parkinson was able to score from a driving maul down the right wing after just two minutes. Captain Tom Eaton was off-target with the long-range conversion attempt to keep the score at 5-0.
The Blues quickly took control in the opening stages of the game, impressing in set-pieces and tackling well when out of possession.
Elliot Brierley came close with a chance down the left after the ball was switched out wide, however was outnumbered by Sedgley Park’s defence and the ball was turned over.
Blues were able to keep control of the ball and, despite a missed penalty chance after 20 minutes, looked comfortable in front.
Winger Ed Stobart had the next best chance out on the left wing, after quick off-loading from O’Regan and King saw Stobart with the ball in space, however was tackled into touch after crossing the line.
Frankie Barker and Dean Williams both impressed during lineouts, Barker making an impressive catch from an opposition throw to turn the ball over go back on the offensive.
Williams showed good strength after shrugging off several tackles as he ran through the centre, however was finally brought down 10 yards from the goal-line.
Matt King then scored his first try on the half-time whistle, as he burst down the right wing after the ball was kicked out wide. Eaton converted to bring the score to 12-0 going into the break.
The Tiger’s came out strong into the second-half, and centre Matt Riley was able to score the visitors’ first and only points of the game with a penalty just two minutes after the restart.
Macclesfield took back the momentum, as Williams and Stobart continued to impress. After 60 minutes Eaton dummied a pass to go for a run through the centre, catching the defence off-guard.
After being denied by the visitors defence just inches from the goal-line, Park’s James Harrison led a fast counter-attack, however only made it as far as the half-way line before the Blues were back with the ball.
The home crowd were kept on their toes as the final 15 minutes approached, as Eaton came close with another penalty.
Sedgley Park prop Nicholas Flynn then saw red for stamping on King in a ruck after being repeatedly warned, giving the Blues the extra man going forward.
It was King again who produced the try with just five minutes left, after receiving the ball out on the right wing was able to find the gaps to score, Eaton’s conversion brought the final score to 19-3.
Wappett added after the game: “It’s a shame we didn’t get the bonus point because we created more than enough chances to get it, but at the end of the day we can’t forget that both sides were under a great deal of pressure and knew the importance of the game, and that comes to bear on how they played.
“In the first half we had the majority of the ball, and there were a number of times where we’d get within three yards, but we just try and be too intricate with the passing instead of someone just saying ‘right I’m going for it’.
“We scrummaged well, they had to concede penalties as a result, and our lineouts were pretty good, both with our ball and a managed to flip a few of theirs, so in that sense our set piece and defence was where the game was going to be won.
“Matt King had a good half against Rosslyn Park last week, and in the warm-up Tom Davenport pulled a hamstring so he went straight in at full-back while Matt O’Regan moved to centre.
“I think he did really well, he got two well taken tries, I thought he also contributed well throughout the game.”
Speaking about the Blues next opposition, Loughborough Students, Wappett said: “They’ve been a bit of an inconsistent side, very hard to read. If our forwards can maintain their dominant mood then we have a chance.
“In the reverse fixture we were winning and then let them get back into the game and eventually won. We have to stop them getting the ball and tackle a bit more assuredly so we stop them off-loading as quickly, because that’s one of their strengths.”
Next week the Blues travel away to 11th placed Loughborough Students for a 2.00pm kick-off, for updates throughout the match follow our twitter account here: https://twitter.com/MaccRUFC
15 – Matt King, 14 – Ed Stobart, 13 – Elliot Brierley, 12 – Matt O’Regan, 11 – Josh Fowles, 10 – Tom Eaton, 9 – Chris Townsend, 1 – Tom Mantell, 2 – Sam Moss, 3 – Ricky Stout, 4 – Matt Owen, 5 – Dean Williams, 23 – Dave Marwick, 7 – Ryan Parkinson, 8 – Frankie Barker, 16 – Dave Blackwell, 17 – Gavin Woods, 18 – Mike Finnemore, 19 – Matt Rhodes, 20 – Billy Robinson