Torrential rain immediately before the match made the already wet and heavy conditions even more difficult than anticipated. Whilst not quite as bad as the Somerset Levels, it was clearly a day more suited for forward play rather than open expansive rugby.
Macclesfield 4’s 53 – 12 Lymm
It took both sides several minutes to settle to the slippery pitch and the early play was scrappy from both sides as they became accustomed to the conditions. What ensued was one of Macc’s best performances this season, all the sweeter for having lost in a high scoring game at Lymm in the away fixture in October. This had Captain Jason Walker grinning with pleasure during his post match interview.
Macc scored first from a scrum close to the Lymm tryline when the scrum turned and Rob McCloud pounced to touchdown the loose ball. The conversion was missed. Macc were not able to retain the lead for long as Lymm scored a fine try as from a scrum the ball was spun to the left winger who rounded his man to touch down on the left. The scorer converted his own try to take the score to 5 – 7 to Lymm.
By now Macc were well on top in the forwards with Bos, Eliot Lee and the supercharged Streety forcing Lymm back with their powerful driving play as they took on Lymm head on. Lymm had no answer to these aggressive and dynamic tactics and began to fear the sight of Streety, playing one of his best games, frequently on the charge towards them. Dave Phillips was the next Macc try scorer, successfully converted by Rob Oliver. Rob Oliver also took the points shortly afterwards from a penalty kick awarded for one of the Lymm players stamping, albeit lightly, all over Bos. Lymm scored a second try as their speedy backs created space for a well taken try that showed the danger that Lymm had out wide and importance of preventing the Lymm backs from getting good possession. Streety finally made it onto the scoresheet for Macc when he drove through several players to force his way over the line. Again Rob Oliver added the extras to to give a half-time score of 25 – 12 to Macc.
In the second half Lymm began strongly, although their tactics of trying to take on Macc in the forwards was perhaps not the most sensible ploy. Macc continued to dominate the forward exchanges, creating good possession for the backs, playing attractive and effective rugby as they forced the pace and deprived Lymm of possession. Macc scored four more tries in the second period, through Bos, Rob Oliver, Streety (again) and Spenny. All the tries were successfully converted by Rob Oliver. Captain Jason Walker had used his bench effectively to keep momentum strong by bringing on fresh legs. The final score was a comprehensive Macc victory by 53 – 12.
On a day suited to Macc’s traditional forward strengths, it would be easy to assume that this is the sum of the successes of the Macc 4ths this season, but whilst Streety’s power packed performance took the eye, Rob Oliver also showed his undoubted class in the centre as he drifted and wafted past his man on regular occasions and only missed one kick at goal all afternoon.
Next week Macc play Crewe & Nantwich at Priory Park in the second round of the Cup. In the two previous meetings this season, honours are shared, but Macc won the last encounter at Priory Park in December 22 – 0 which augurs well for Macc who have shown that on current form they are a serious handful and more than a match for anyone.