How do you get over the disappointment of seeing your unbeaten run come to an end? Well, in the opinion of Head Coach and Director of Rugby, Geoff Wappett, there’s only one way – and that’s to get back on the horse and show that you are still a force to be reckoned with. The best way to respond to a defeat is to put in behind you and go out and earn a victory. Go out and show everybody what you really are capable of, and draw a line under a disappointing performance. That was the message Geoff delivered to Macclesfield Blues last week in training. The Blues obviously took Geoff’s words to heart as they earned themselves a bonus point win up at Otley at the weekend. The Blues showed their fighting spirit and it was then business as usual. Now Geoff is asking for, and expects, the same sort of fighting spirit when the Blues take on Caldy at Priory Park this weekend. Here’s what Geoff had to say when Macclesfield Rugby caught up with him earlier this week.
Was the bonus point victory the perfect antidote to last week’s disappointment?
“Well, let’s say it went some way towards it. I was really down after the disappointing display against Birmingham Solihull. We should really have won that game, but we just didn’t perform on the day. I know the players were also bitterly disappointed, so the Otley victory puts us back on the right track. Going up to Cross Green is never easy. Matt Owen who we’re delighted to have back fit, told me he’s never won up there, even in the days when he was playing at Manchester. It’s a tough place to get a result. So we were definitely pleased to come away not just with a win, but with all 5 points.”
“I was generally pleased with the way we played too. I wouldn’t say we necessarily hit our straps, but we were really good and steady. Otley looked very busy when they had the ball, but fortunately weren’t able to do much with that possession as our defence and our set piece stood up well. Because we were able to keep our line and our shape Otley didn’t really offer us too many problems. We scored 2 tries from out wide and Ryan Parkinson scored 3 on the back of good solid work from the front five. I thought the back row of Parkinson, Finnemore and Jones were outstanding, and I also thought that our debutants, Greg Mellor at full back and Joe Murray at scrum half gave a really good account of themselves. I think having a specialist scrum half opened up our game a lot. We’ve had to play narrower than we would’ve liked when Tom Eaton stood in at scrum half, but when he went back to fly half we were able to play a much more expansive and attacking game.”
What are you expecting from Caldy, given that they’ve just beaten the team who ended the Blues unblemished record?
“The truth is you never really know what to expect, save the unexpected. The one thing you quickly learn in this league is that you can never take any side for granted. Yes it might be a local derby and on paper we might be favourites, but at the end of the day it all depends on how you perform on the afternoon of the game. The relative league positions mean nothing on a Saturday. All you can do is play to your potential, front up and make sure you do the business. If I was a bookmaker and looked carefully at the odds I’d say we were favourites to win the game, but fortunately I’m not a bookmaker – I’m shrewder than that. We won’t be taking chances and certainly won’t take any unnecessary risks. My mantra has always been hard work and endeavour. If we work hard and play to our ability, then we should have enough to come away with the points.”
What would be the ideal result for the Blues when Darlington Mowden Park play Stourbridge at the weekend?
“Is there an ideal result? I’m not sure. I’m not even sure what my preferred result would be. The odds wouldn’t be on a draw, so one or other team is probably going to win. Will it be a 5 point win? I doubt it? Will the losing team manage to get a point? Probably, given that the teams are pretty well matched. Can Stourbridge’s forwards dominate enough to starve Darlington’s back line of attacking chances? Maybe. These are all questions we don’t have the answers to. All you can say is that if we perform against Caldy on Saturday, then the ultimate beneficiaries of the top of the table clash will be Macclesfield.”