Saturday’s away win at Loughborough University could prove to be one of the most important results of the season, and could gear us up to a run of results that will allow us to climb the table and escape the relegation zone.
Four out of the bottom six teams won on Saturday, proving just how competitive the National League One is, and just how difficult it’s going to be when the Blues come up against bottom-placed Cambridge next week, and Tynedale the week after who have moved up to 12th recently.
With just ten matches left in the season and ten points behind Wharfedale in 13th place, picking up points has never been more important, and the dedication and passion shown by the players on Saturday proves just how much the lads want to stay in this league.
With regulars Frankie Barker, Tom Davenport, Ed Stobart, Alan Marsh, Jack Moorhouse and injury-plagued Billy Robinson all ruled out for the game, Head Coach Geoff Wappett faced a selection headache as he shuffled his team around to face the Students, who have proved themselves worthy of staying in this league after being promoted two years ago.
Peter Hardwick made his second appearance of the season, starting at winger, whilst Matt Owen filled in for Frankie at number 8, Tom Mantell taking his place in the second row.
Mantell and Owen both had exceptional games; Matt King also enjoyed another strong performance at full-back, in particular working well with man-of-the-match Matt O’Regan to devastating effect down the wings.
Both sets of supports will have a claim that their side deserved to win, and it was the Blues defensive masterclass in the final ten minutes that proved to be the decisive factor in claiming the four points, as Macclesfield defended chance after chance just inches from their goal line, before Eaton kicked clear and relieved pressure from the onslaught that would have been our undoing at the start of the season.
Next week the Blues travel down to Cambridge, bottom of the league and a potential five points, although their recent results indicate that they should not be taken lightly.
They were able to beat Fylde away on the weekend, winning 33-27 and scoring five tries in the process. Their game previous to that was a narrow 9-7 defeat against a strong Richmond side, proving that this team can do well going forward and defend well.
Tynedale also won at the weekend, picking up a surprise win at home against Rosslyn Park, the final score 38-34.
15th placed Sedgley Park kept the pressure on Macclesfield as they won 26-22 away at Wharfedale, while Coventry were beaten 34-33 away at Richmond.
Blaydon travelled to Old Albanians and won 28-14 which keeps them in the title-race, top of the league Ealing Trailfinders also won 36-33 against Esher, keeping them 9 points clear at the top with a game in hand. Blackheath also picked up a win against Cinderford, the final score 30-22.
The Lions were able to continue their impressive form by winning 19-3 against Chester, whilst the 3s were held level 16-16 against Broughton Park.
The 4s were just beaten 28-24 against Old Bedians, as the Vets also missed out, losing 19-15 against Sandbach.