The Blues let a 12 point lead slip in the quarter final of the Raging Bull League Plate, against a Stockport side that managed to get round the Macclesfield defence four times. Macclesfield took the lead with an Ollie Aston penalty early on in a tightly fought first half. Tom Leicester’s second half short range try regained the lead after 5 minutes. Ben Hadfield stretched the lead further after a powerful run off the back of a ruck. Ollie converted both tries. Stockport clawed their way back into the game, scoring in the corners to edge the Blues out the match.
The Blues started well, keeping the ball for the first few minutes, slowly making progress down the pitch towards the Stockport line. Their continuity was rewarded with a penalty in front of the posts just outside the Stockport twenty two. Ollie’s kick bisected the uprights to take the lead. Stockport slowly got back into the game, timely interceptions by Aled, Tom and Charlie stopped some promising moves, enabling the Blues to clear their lines. Mike used his pace to get back to support Aled in defence, permitting some controlled tidying up of the Stockport clearance kick. Tom, Callum D and Charlie combined to hold up their man and win the scrum after an incomplete maul. Late in the half Stockport broke clear to score in the left hand corner, leaving the Blues to turn round with a two point deficit.
Playing into the wind in the second half, the Blues had to concede more territory with the shorter length on clearance kicks. Despite this, Ollie used the breeze to good effect, putting a penalty kick into touch the right side of the flag on the Stockport line. Callum W claimed the lineout, then the ball was spun out to Tom, who lined up his opposite man and crashed over the line to score. Ollie converted the extras. Front and back row combined for the next opportunity. Ben broke off the back of a scrum, then popped the ball to Elliot who flipped the ball out of the back of his hand to George, who broke free, only to have the ball dislodged from his hands in the in goal area. Ben then added to his try tally in typical style, powering off the back of a ruck to smash over the line for the touchdown. Ollie converted again giving the Blues a twelve point lead.
Stockport were patient and went wide to score three tries in a ten minute period, the Blues defence only managing to keep them in the corners to make the conversions tricky. With few minutes left , Tom had to turn down a penalty shot at goal, knowing that the three points would not be enough, despite drawing, as Stockport had scored more tries. The Blues couldn’t repeat their earlier lineout success, allowing Stockport to clear. Despite a top tackle by Lewis and a steal by Tom, the Blues couldn’t build on any possession or territory to threaten the opposition line again.
George put his body on the line again, and we wish him a speedy recovery from his shoulder injury. Matt is also up and about after his suspected concussion.
Squad: (1) Elliot Jones (2) Scott Greenway (3) Joe Stubbs (4) Doug Swallow (5) Callum Wright (6) Matt Price (7) George Hodkinson (8) Ben Hadfield (9) Harry Grant (10) Tom Leicester (11) Mike Green (12) Charlie Davies (13) Callum Davies (14) Ollie Aston (15) Aled Williams (16) Alex Soltau (17) Sam Black (18) George Jackson (19) Lewis Pierce (20) Josh Hunt
Macclesfield Colts: Penalty: Ollie Aston (14) – 3m
Stockport: Try: (16) – 38m
Macclesfield Colts: Try: Tom Leicester (10) – 5m, Conversion: Ollie Aston (14)
Try: Ben Hadfield (8) – 13m, Conversion: Ollie Aston (14)
Try: (11) – 16m, Try: (14) – 24m, Try: (11) – 27m