Macclesfield Blues finally managed to get the monkey off their backs, claiming their first win of 2017 at Priory Park. The victory against Loughborough was no more than the Blues deserved and was a fitting reward for the character and spirit the team have continued to demonstrate through some of the darker days of the season.
Now the boys get a week’s rest and recovery, before facing Moseley in the first of 5 season-defining fixtures. Could 5 more Loughborough performances be enough to secure Macclesfield Blues future in National League 1? Well, the answer according to Head Coach, Giles Heagerty, is possibly. It might prove to be a tough task given the teams Macclesfield Blues have still to face, but Giles believes the Blues’ future is still in their own hands.
Were you delighted to have finally got a win at Priory Park in 2017?
“Absolutely, but in a typical twist of fate I was in camp with my England squad, so I didn’t get to see the game live. I’ve watched the game back and was pleased with what I saw, but I couldn’t be there in person unfortunately. I suppose it just goes to show you what a difference a change in practice can have on the performance.”
So, did you do things differently last week, or was Saturday’s win simply just one of those rare occasions where all the stars align?
“The simple answer to that is yes; we did do things differently. On Tuesday night we let one of the lads lead a bit of the session. I think it’s important to do that: it’s important for the players in terms of their development, and it’s also important for the squad because they get to hear a different voice. Then on Thursday night we ran a practice session alongside Wilmslow Rugby Club. They came along and we both made use of the 3G pitch in Cheadle Hulme. It was a refreshing experience and I think we both got something out of the session. It might be a bit of a cliché, but it goes to prove there’s truth in the adage that a change is as good as a rest.”
Having reviewed the video of the game, what pleased you most about Saturday’s performance?
“I think probably, the resilience we showed. We scored early and got ourselves in the game, but Loughborough are a side that will punish any error or lapse in concentration. I was sat with some England colleagues monitoring the game on Twitter, and I said when we scored our penultimate try that we were going to get a result. Then Loughborough scored, and I thought to myself, oh no, I spoke too early.”
“But we showed grit and determination, and credit to the boys they dug deep and got a penalty then scored off a driving maul in the last minute. That just shows the character and determination in this group. Even though we’ve had some pretty dark times this season, everybody stuck together and ground out a result, and I think they all deserve a big pat on the back for that.”
Could 5 similar consecutive performances save Macclesfield Blues season, or is that an unrealistic goal?
“Well, the thought goes through your head: 5 games to go and potentially 5 bonus point wins up for grabs. If we could achieve that, we’d definitely be in a decent position. But the point is, you can’t get ahead of yourself in this league. Each game presents its own challenges, so it’s counterproductive to think too far ahead. We face Moseley away next, and that’s going to be one tough old game. They’re a big side with strong runners and we know we’re going to face a real challenge. But when we last faced them at Priory Park we controlled the majority of the play until the last play of the game.”
“What we have to do is build on last Saturday’s performance, and try to keep that momentum going. We’ve still got to face some big sides before the end of the season, but the final 2 games will be at home: so it will be good if we can finish the season on something of a high. I still believe our destiny is still firmly in our hands, but we’ll see. The boys have got a week off now, so let’s refresh and get Moseley out of the way, then we can see where we go from there.”