Macc were worthy winners over the Gentlemen of Moore 2nds, the league leaders, at Priory Park on Saturday. Last week Macc had faced the bottom side in the league and won well, this week they did it again against the top side. On a bright sunny afternoon, but with treacherous conditions underfoot Macc began facing up the slope and looked determined to cause an upset. What ensued was a match full of commitment with no quarter given by either side. Both sides have big strong packs and in a physical game Macc looked to be shading the honours in both the loose and the set piece. The deadlock was broken when after a scrum the ball was passed out to Smithy on the left wing who after making good ground, kicked ahead and Rob Oliver collected the ball to force his way over the line to score. Amos missed the conversion. Moore were now fully aware that they were in a real match. It was not long before Moore scored a try themselves as their Number 14 ran over 40 yards beating several would be tacklers to touch down. The successful conversion gave Moore the lead. This was also the final score from the Gentlemen in what was an attractive game to watch. Macc scored a second try by Fergus Green to take back the lead, although Amos hit the upright with the conversion to take the score to 10 – 7. Macc were now dominating the game and from a 5 metre scrum that was reset a number of times, Tim Peakman drove over for Macc third try of the afternoon. The conversion was successful and extended the Macc lead to 10 points. Eliot Lee replaced Matt Harding just before the half-time break when the score remained at 17 – 7.
Jason Walker brought on Harley and Dom McCarthy for Tom Bamberger and Jim Welsh at half time and the match recommenced with Macc continuing to be edging the play as both sides continued to drive and tackle hard to try and gain the upper hand. For the second week the game had gone to unopposed scrums as one of the Moore props was injured and they had no substitute in this position. Unlike last week though this did not reduce the aggression and ability of the Macc team to dominate their opponents in the set piece. Although attritional at times the game had its lighter moments, such as when Rufus who was on top wind up form, was confronted by one of their big forwards who had knocked on, who snarled “don’t laugh at me!”. So everyone did just that!
Macc continued their scoring with a try from Rob Oliver, that he successfully converted himself from wide out on the right to take the score to 24 – 7. Macc were putting clear water between themselves and the Gentlemen, and the game had clearly swung in Macc favour as little of the play during the second half was in the Macc half of the field. The frustration of the situation began to affect the Gentlemen and on one of the few occasions when Moore succeeded in getting close to the Macc line there was a widespread outbreak of handbags, with a few scarves and hats thrown in. The referee dealt with the situation firmly and from the resulting penalty Macc were able clear their line. The final score of the match came from a penalty successfully converted by Tony Amos to take the final score to 27 – 7.
This was a match that was described by Jason Walker in his post match interview as “a very satisfying result that was the result of a real team effort”. The Gentlemen of Moore had only lost twice this season before the visit to Priory Park, and dependent upon the Broughton Park result will knock them off the top of the league. Macc have not lost at Priory Park since the second game of the season on 14th September, and with two further home games before the end of January are hopeful of continuing to win.
Next week is the first round of the Cup. Macc play Winnington Park 3rds at Priory Park in a re-run of last week’s match when Macc won 65 – 14