In Touch 73

Club History from Bob

With recent announcements regarding retirements of a number of long term, high class first team players I wondered how the increased professionalism in the game at all levels had impacted player longevity. The Club already has a 500 Club recognising the very few players who have managed to play over 500 times for the Club, indeed the Chairman claims closer to a 1000 appearances!  Undoubtedly the rigours of League rugby limits the number of appearances at first team level. But within all this I doubt that anyone can match, let alone surpass, the achievement of John Robinson.

In the last game of the 1970-1 season, against Leek, prop forward and Captain John Robinson played his 106th consecutive first team game for the club. In this era the first team Captain actually took on responsibility for all playing activities, training, away trip organisation and so forth. This surely constitutes a record of incredible durability and unlikely to be broken particularly with the increased physical demands of the modern game.

Minutes of Annual General Meeting

For all the notes please download our PDF here

RRG Macclesfield Rugby Club Golf Day 2018

On a beautiful summers day at the glorious venue of Tytherington Golf Club 78 golfers assembled to fight to the death to win the prestigious Cup and bragging rights for the next 12 months.

There were several ex-players, coaches, sponsors, friends of the club all participating. The day started with Tytherington’s excellent golf coaching pro helping people on the range, this did confuse several players and in fact on the advice of the coach Dr Eldon Burke decided to try and play left handed as it may improve his game after playing right handed for 20 years.

There were several on course prizes all generously donated by sponsors  which Matt Harding seemed to excel at, in fact at one point in the tournament Matt was winning The Longest Drive, Nearest the pin (on 2 holes) and Nearest the pin in 2, alas he didn’t win anything in the end. The signature hole was the 11th – The chance to win a brand new Toyota, kindly donated by our headline sponsors RRG. The tee was littered with brand new cars, now in order to make this challenge slightly harder Keith & Annette Oliver (Keith Ex-player & Annette keen supporter of the club) were providing drinks (Provided by Jon Calendar – Thanks John!) unfortunately after 2 beers and a double G&T for each player everyone struggled to score an “Ace” No-one won the cars and they were driven back to the garage, shame Chris Miller was a year too late!

Lee Burkett was the rules official for the day taking his responsibilities very seriously, in fact he and Kingy managed to consume 18 pints of Guinness during his tour of the course, that’s a pint a hole – well done Lee

Once all teams had finished and the scores were totally the winners were

1st Place – Concept Group (Ex-players Andy Vass & Tim Kerr) Nick Smith & Matt Harding jumped on the picture??

2nd Place – Our Friends at Macclesfield Cricket Club

3rd Place – Bollington Insurance after a card play-off – well done Andy!!

Too many other winners on the day to mention including the good old fashioned winner – The Rugby Club spirit. The Tytherington Club looked after us exceptionally well, great to see some old friends (even those from Wilmslow Rugby Club!) we all had a great day and loads of fun.

I would imagine that Nivea after sun will be sold out by 10am looking at the number of red faces in the room last night.

Last thanks to Danny Ackerley our new Commercial Director, he did a sterling to job, see you all next year where I hope Mickey Jones will join us rather than poncing around Belgium on an electric bike



What a wonderful day for the RRG Toyota Macclesfield Rugby Club Golf Day! We have lots of prizes on offer from some wonderful sponsors. Check out today’s competitions and what could be won!

Hole 1

Longest Drive – Mystery Prize !! – Sponsored by Together Money

Hole 3

Nearest Pin – Bilyama Goodie Bag !! – Sponsored by Bilyama Golf Holidays

Hole 4

Nearest Pin in 2 – Mystery Prize – Sponsored by On Point Developments

Hole 5

Nearest Pin – Hole in 1 Prize – 12 Months private medical cover worth £4,000

Any Pars will receive Copper membership worth £100’s

Sponsored by Pinches Medical Group

Hole 11

Hole in 1 prize (a car !!!) plus hit the green raffle

Have a few beers / Gin and watch your playing partners hit magnificent shots !!

Sponsored by RRG Toyota

Hole 14

Straightest Drive – Sponsored by TNC Granite


Maclessfield Rugby Club AGM May 24th 2018 – Chairman’s Statement

Macclesfield Rugby Club AGM was held on the 24th of May 2018, you can read the notes and Chairman’s statement below.

  1. Lady & Gentlemen, Welcome to tonight`s AGM for the Season 2017-18
    At this stage in the evening, my I remind everyone that only full members of the club are entitled to vote on matters considered at the AGM.

    APOLOGIES; I have received apologies from the following members;
    Tim Peakman, George Lewis, John Taylor, Pete Harper Sr., Mike Keeling, Barry Jones, Michael Jones, Dave Holden and Helen Holden.

    Barry Jones is unwell at this time – he must be as this is the first AGM that Barry`s missed in about 143 years – and I`m sure you`d all like to join me in wishing him a speedy recovery.

  2. Since the last AGM we have sadly lost the following members;
    John Fielden, Peter Taylor, Ron Townley and Jamie Pearson.

    Please can we all stand whilst we observe a minutes silence to reflect on those we`ve lost.   Thank you.

  3. The Approval of the Minutes from 2016-17 AGM
    Proposer & Seconder required.
    Gentlemen – it is with pleasure that I present the chairman’s statement for the season 2017-18 to you tonight. It is appropriate that I start by looking back on what may turn out to be a watershed year for the club and its continuation.

    • There have been two momentous events this year.
    • After relegation from National One last year we recognised that life in National Two North would give us an opportunity to consolidate and gradually evolve the first team, as a number of our more experienced players had moved on. We have always maintained that we would never bankrupt the club chasing players’ salaries – but it’s true to say though, that even with the greatly reduced budget available to Giles last season, we didn’t expect at Christmas, to be seriously considering the prospect of relegation. It was at that point, and with some regret, that we terminated Giles’ contract.
    • This was no easy thing, as all of us on the committee had played our rugby when such considerations were absent – but we had to act swiftly to allow the new person sufficient time to rescue the situation. With hindsight, it was the right thing to do, but I want to recognise Giles’ contribution to professionalising the approach and preparation of the team over the past 3 ½ seasons.  
    • I also want to recognise the contribution of Marshall Gadd since he took over in mid December.   Since that time, we have played 17 games, winning 10 with a total of 49 points from a possible 85, and from sitting in the bottom 2 in early December, under Marshall`s guidance, the club finished in the top half of the table.  Remarkably, if the season had started when Marshall took over, Macclesfield would have actually finished 4th behind Sale, Sedgley Park & Tynedale, added to that, if Macc had played and won the rearranged game against Hinkley, we would have finished 3rd! Huge credit must go to Marshall for what he`s achieved, especially when you consider he`s done it on his own and had no help in terms of other coaches, both during the week and on match days.

      I’m pleased to say Marshall is going to continue next year, and to rebuild the team, a task made somewhat harder by the retirement of a number of leading & experienced players Ryan Parkinson – 157 games (over 100 tries), Tom Davenport – 141 games, Dave Marwick – 158 games (46 tries), Lewis Barker – 61 games, Nick Alsop – 40 games, Matt King – 108 games (52 tries) and Charlie Reed – 23 games.

    • A Total of almost 700 National League caps between them for Macc.
    • To these guys: I want to express my thanks, wish you luck and emphasise you are always welcome at Priory Park
    • The challenge is there then, for Marshall to build and set up the team how he wants it and I know he is already well on with this task
    • The other main theme was the shambles of the planning application. When one considers the professionalism and thoroughness of the Jones Homes work, against the shambolic performance of the council and its officers, the contrast could not be starker. Our best approach is to bypass this process and rely on the national government process. We are fortunate that Jones Homes are sticking with us through this process and I hope that in due course, our patience will be rewarded. Our challenge then is to remain solvent until 2022 at the earliest – more on this later.
    • With regards to matters on the pitch;  I don’t want to steal thunder of the other captains but the 2nds, 3rds and 4ths have also had excellent seasons. The seconds this year have gone through a process of re-building and continued to perform well and provide a number of players to the 1st team squad. The challenge for this team is that there are a couple of good teams in the league but also a number of really poor outfits that don’t provide preparation for the harder games. The threes have competed well following promotion last season into a league just 1 level behind the 2nd team,  and the fourths continued to thrive, providing that all important stepping stone for younger players coming out of the Colts, but also allowing some – shall we call them `more experienced` – players to prolong their playing days.  I want to thank the captains of all 3 teams -Matt Thorpe, James Keep & Ryan Brown – for working together at the start of the season when a prolonged period of injuries and unavailability’s, made turning out three teams each week a real challenge.
    • Without their efforts in the broader interest of the club, it is likely that the fourths would have folded and once that happens – as we have seen with the 5th team a few seasons ago – it will never reform so it is vital that we keep this going.
    • The revival of the colts continues with a model that I think is the only workable approach – that is, a single senior team with the coaches transitioning with their players. Great credit must go to Tony King, George Edwards, Matt Harding, Tony Wright, Dan Holden and Rob Oliver for an unbeaten season in league B – a level above last year. This bodes well for the senior sides as some of these guys move adult rugby next season.
    • As you will hear, the mini and junior section continues its unbroken success. We continue to succeed in cups and tournaments and are heavily represented in county age groups and Sale academy. None of this happens by accident and I would like to recognise the work of the coaches but especially Phil Mason, the chairman of the section for taking on a thankless job with unlimited enthusiasm.
    • The club continued to be heavily represented in Cheshire rugby, with 5 players representing the County at Senior level (Ryan Parkinson, Lewis Barker, Nick Alsop, Charlie Reed & Tom Burden) & five former or current players representing the Cheshire Under 20`s playing in the A-league semi-final against Cornwall  – missing out on a trip to Twickenham by just 1 point. Despite this, it was a fantastic achievement having only been promoted last year.
    • I`d like to congratulate the 2 Macclesfield players who were voted into the All Star XV for National League 2 North – Billy Robinson & Lewis Barker. A fantastic achievement considering the dominance of Sale and Sedgley Park this season
    • I`m delighted to announce that we are in the process of starting a Ladies Team here at Macc. and huge thanks to Mary Thorpe as the primary instigator of this initiative.
    • Finally on the playing side, I`d like to say A big Thank You to all those who have represented Macclesfield Rugby Club this past season, at whatever level – you are all an important and integral part of our club.
    • I want to return now, to the re-development of the club. As you know, at the end of a long process characterised by incompetence, our application to re-develop the ground was rejected. This means we need to commit ourselves to another three to four years of austerity, but also we need to find ways to re-invigorate the club. I am delighted to welcome Steven Branch onto the committee after he replaced Tim Peakman in November, and he, along with the other committee members, are already working on this:
      for example;

      • The first team budget has been reduced further as part of our financial stewardship. I`d like to thank the `contracted players` for agreeing with the budget cuts and taking a reduction in match fees. Indeed, some senior players have led the thought process for the new pay structure.
      • Our Physio budget has halved as Hogan & Mitchell have been replaced by Ollie Ware along with a couple of students and we are actively looking at cost savings wherever it`s possible
      • Regarding fiscal matters, Pete White will give you an overview of the financial performance of the club in his report, but it continues to be a struggle – we cannot invest in basic facilities in the way that we would like.
      • Bob Cooke has volunteered to act as liaison/coordinator between Jones Homes and the club over the next four years as the marketing strategy develops and we generate more social and fundraising activity
      • We are initiating the One Club approach and ditching the Blues and Lions tags so that everyone from U6 to first team feels part of the same club and from this season, all teams from Under 6 to 1st team, will wear identical playing shirts.
      • We also feel the club needs to cash in on it`s heritage – it`s 140 years ago that the club was originally founded and we need to promote that history. We also need to be seen and recognised within the town for what we are – a community club within Macclesfield, open to anyone & everyone. Not an exclusive private members club – something which Cheshire Council clearly were of the opinion that we are.
      • We are pushing hard on increasing sponsorship and other commercial activity – Dan Ackerly will start his first full pre season as commercial manager this year and will have a longer run in than last pre season to identify and sign up sponsors. Despite joining well into the summer last year, when getting sponsors is very hard, Dan performed admirably and I`m delighted to announce he has just secured a 3 year shirt sponsorship deal with a local business to the tune of £12,000 per season – details to be announced early next month.
      • However, we seem to take 1 step forward and 1 backwards – Halliwell Jones have decided not to renew their sponsorship deal of £11,000 per year.
      • Therefore, with kickbacks like that in mind, the role of business development director is currently under review as part of the club’s wider cost saving plan. There is a risk of redundancy here and the likelihood is that Jonathan will leave the role early in September
      • Whilst we are doing our utmost to kerb expenditure, We still need to carry out the following repairs asap; Deep fat fryer – £1,750, Waste pump – £2,550, Floodlights (Main pitch & Astro)- £1,500, Repair auto barrier – £750, Improvements to the boiler room – £850 Total of £7,400
        And that`s without any improvements to the antiquated showers in the changing rooms and other important maintenance issues
        It therefore, goes without saying, we need everyone to pull their weight, pay their subs on time and support any functions, fund raising events we may have.

        With that in mind;

      • We remain committed to running a full social programme and I’m pleased to say that Julia Maxton Close has agreed to chair a reformed social committee.
      • We are re-structuring the executive committee to include the chairman of minis and juniors (in keeping with the one club theme) and, as you’ll see, we have nominated some young blood to take over from Charlie Halle and David Mair who are stepping down after serving for 6 years. As mentioned earlier, Steve Branch has already joined the committee having taken over from Tim Peakman in November.
      • I`d like to take this opportunity to thank David, Charlie & Tim for their sterling service to the club over the past 6 seasons – their contribution has been Herculean, and their support for me has been immense and welcomed.
      • We have 5 current first team players – Tom Davenport, Chris Townsend, Franky Barker, Sam Moss & Billy Robinson who have held up their hands to assist in various ways and have already come up with some new and innovative ideas to help the club. I find this extremely encouraging as they move from playing to putting something back into the club.
      • A team of volunteers from within all sections of the club – minis & juniors, senior players, bar staff, supporters and management – have been busy at weekends and evenings, painting and tidying up the main room and there are plans to extend this to the entrance hall, stairs, landing and the changing rooms.
      • Despite all of this we really need your help in bringing in more sponsorship and cash into the club, no matter how small a sum. I really can’t emphasise how difficult maintaining sponsorship income is, as evidenced by Halliwell Jones withdrawal – and we put so much effort into this to maintain membership fees and bar prices at a reasonable level. If you, or someone you know, is willing to sponsor the club, or help in any way, please encourage them to do so as early in the season as possible. We are determined to improve the facilities at the club for the next few years and we have ambitious renovation plans that will hopefully enable us to bring in more revenue but this cannot be done on good will and loans.
    • Despite the difficulties, we continue to maintain a proper community rugby club thanks to the efforts of a small army of volunteers and club employees. I can honestly say, the majority of alickadoos from visiting clubs comment to me on this aspect, and of what a great social club we are, asking `how on earth we continue to punch above our weight against the big boys with the big budgets and resources to match, yet still maintain our fantastic community club spirit and outlook`.  During the past season, I have also received a number of emails from visiting supporters, who have taken the time & effort to write to me, saying how much they enjoyed their visit and to say what a great club we have here.
    • So credit to everyone who has helped our guests enjoy their time at Priory Park, both club officials and employees, but also you, the membership who make our guests feel welcome here every Saturday.
    • To this end I believe the most important task of this statement is to recognise these people. This list is long but you will forgive me because they must be acknowledged:
    • So, in no particular order;
      Jonathan Marsh – doing an invaluable job on the commercial & business side of running the club, combining this with role of Match Day host.
      Geri and her bar staff – Elaine, Kerry, Amanda etc. – Fantastic bar service – These girls work tirelessly to ensure everyone gets served – sometimes under real pressure & always with a smile despite some impatient punters. I have had many comments from visiting officials and supporters, praising the girls behind the bar.
      Maggie & Barry Priestly and the team who provide the catering – Food always of a very high standard, and they have suffered financially due to the unprecedented number of postponed games – particularly on Sundays when the place is usually teaming with kids and parents. Unlike Senior rugby, these games are re scheduled so they lose out on income.
      Gate team led by Colin Joyce, Alan Cope, Sue Bowen, Dave Teale, Helen Stuart, Jane Harper, Will Montgomery, Keith Dobson, Mark Reddiough, Mike Keeling, Ray Richardson, Sarah Tobin-Flynn and Helen Holden – Sterling effort by everyone, too many to name. Always put on a brave face, despite standing on the gate facing the elements– and also facing irate punters who somehow think they have the right to come in free of charge
      Terry Robson & Derek Laidlaw – for 4th official duties 
      Albert Simpson – For liaising with the referees and other match officials for the past 30 plus seasons. Albert has now stepped down from this role, so I`d like to give him a special Thanks for all his efforts over the years.  He can now enjoy the match days without worrying about other duties.
      Tony Close – For sorting out the applications for International tickets and the `will & pie` club.  Anyone here not yet a member, please see Tony for details about how you can help your club and enjoy a fantastic pie lunch!
      David Wilkinson – Match day commentator, and raconteur (his phrase – not mine!)
      Sir Nicholas Winterton & David Rutley MP – For their continued their support over the season
      Ground Staff – John Webster, Phil Jones, John Davies, Barry Day, Dave Armstrong, Roger Hadwin, John Brown, Steve Fry, Dave Holden and Bill Roberts – Save the club a fortune in labour costs and are invaluable – volunteers. These guys worked exceptionally hard this season in the face of one of the wettest, coldest winters on record.  We can`t praise their efforts this winter too highly.
      Tim & Sam Broster from Branching Out 2 – Who very kindly paid for a much needed vertidrainer to help the drainage on the main pitch.
      James Jennings, Andy McLean, Barry Priestly (Barry the Pie) – For organising, assisting work parties to paint the clubhouse.  Also, to all those who turned up to help in this important project, giving up their valuable time on Sundays and evenings.
      All of the minis, juniors and colts team coaches and administrators – For their hugely important roles in introducing youngsters to our great game and showing the patience of Saints in nurturing and coaching these star of the future.
      Phil Mason, MJ Chairman – Difficult job of running the MJ section with all the differing factions. Also a great help on match days hoisting the flags, putting out the pitch flags, and organising ball boys and mascots each week.
      Ross & Simon, Blues physios from Hogan & Mitchell – Hogan and Mitchell are stepping down after 3 years and are being replaced by Ollie Ware. 
      Dr Philipp Gruenbeck – Dr Phil has had to step down from match day attendances due to his circumstances having changed, so extra thanks to the Doc tonight.
      Marshall Gadd  – First team coach – Marshall started the season as 1 of a team of 3, but found himself in sole charge after Chris Jones left and Giles was replaced.  As mentioned earlier, his achievements and results are even more impressive when you consider he`s done all the coaching on his own.
      Luke Grey, 1st team manager – Luke has been the only ever present at every single game this season giving invaluable help to Marshall and the squad on match days. Sometimes Luke is here 5-6 hours before kick-off ensuring the 1st team are organised, kitted out etc every single Saturday
      Jim Curtis – Handling the disciplinary issues like Rumpole of the Bailey
      Bob Jenner – Taken over from Clive Hammond as NCA representative and also Doing a fantastic job on the history of our Rugby Club.  Check out the web page to have a look at the Timeline he has produced with some help from Wilkey.
      Derek Laidlaw – for washing the strips each week and saving the club a fortune. 
      Mickey Jones – for organising – yet again! – the Beer festival – an extremely important revenue stream for the club.  After 24 years (and several pints of beer!) Mickey is taking a step down from this role and we are looking for a couple of volunteers to step into Mickeys rather large shoes.
      Julia Maxton Close – Fantastic effort in organising the Ladies’ Lunch for 100 Ladies and for putting her name forward to head up a social committee.
      Captains of all social teams – A really Difficult job and much appreciated. Please give these guys your support.
      John Webster – For another outstanding season as President of Macclesfield Rugby Club and also representing Macc at Cheshire RFU meetings
      Clive Hammond – Thanks to Past President Clive for his support and advice and for persuading several members to donate much needed funds to carry out some desperately needed upgrading of the club facilities.
      To those members who probably wish to remain anonymous, but you know who you are, who have very generously donated their hard earned cash to help their club. – If anyone is in a position to donate some money – no matter how small – please contact Clive Hammond.  Rest assured, any money donated will be exclusively used for the improvement of the club house and grounds.
      Tim Peakman, David Mair, Pete White, Charlie Halle & Steve Branch – For their tireless efforts in running this club and supporting the Chairman
      And Finally to all you for your support week in and week out – Sometimes it`s very difficult when things don`t always go the way they are planned, and there are always certain individuals who insist on `having a cheap shot` at the Committee on a Saturday afternoon, but Thank you to everyone who DOES lend their support, whether by way of words or deeds. This far outweighs the negative comments and makes it worthwhile.

      Please forgive me if I`ve forgotten someone, however, that`s inevitable when there are so many to thanks for the success of our club.

    • On the social side, we continue to have variable success – Christmas, players’ and Ladies’ lunches are always sold out but we struggle to fill the normal pre match lunches for some unknown reason. Over the past 6 seasons, Debbie & I have attended 173 pre match lunches – At 40 different clubs and I can honestly say that the food served up by Maggie & Barry and their team is amongst the best there is – staggering when you see the facilities and space they have to work with.
    • On that point, I`d like to clarify and make it clear that all meals and drinks that the committee and their partners enjoy here, are paid for by the individuals themselves and nobody is subsidised in any way by the club. All are fully paid up members with season tickets – even though in some cases, they are Life VP`s choose to don`t need to pay an annual subscription. We choose to in order to help our club. I`d also like to mention that all travel expenses to away matches are also paid for by the committee members – other than sometimes travelling on the team bus – and that nobody benefits financially from being on the committee – quite the opposite in fact.
    • We need both your advice and support on what social events you would like run, their frequency and timing. Obviously, these events are an important source of revenue but beyond that, they are an important component of the social life of the rugby club and I am anxious that we continue to have a full and varied social calendar that has something for all members. So please contact Julia if you have any suggestions whatsoever as to how we can improve things in this area.
    • As you will all know, we are desperate for income and any suggestions, however trivial they may seem, are more than welcome. One idea which we are considering, is to have a wall in the 1st XV dressing room, dedicated to all those who have had the honour and privilege to play for the 1st XV here at Macc. For a payment of £100, your name would be there as part of the proud heritage of his club. Do the sums – if we had 200 people come forward, that`s £20,000 of income to assist in improving facilities here.
    • With regards to `spreading the word` I`m staggered at the amount of club members, players and MJ parents/coaches who have asked me what`s happening with the proposed development of the club.
    • All communications are sent out in a weekly newsletter and put on the club website, & on social media. I`m unsure as to what else we can do, but if anyone has any ideas, please advise as I`d be pleased to know!
    • The purpose of the chairman’s report is to look back over the season just gone but I can’t help also looking forward to next year.
    • There is much to look forward to as we consolidate our position, and I would urge you to think about the renovation of the club and fully get behind the `One Club` initiative. I think people are now beginning to recognise how precarious our situation is and are now starting to come forward with offers of help. I am reassured that people are now starting to recognise how much the club means to them and how important it is to keep it going. However, we need more help and no one will be turned away, so whatever you can offer, either as sponsorship, donations or pro bono time, please come and talk to me. Ladies and Gentlemen, if you`re still awake, I`d like to thank you for your support throughout the season and for your attention tonight, and hopefully we can rely on your support for what is an exciting future at our club.
  7. Election of Executive Committee

    The Executive Committee have asked John Webster to continue in his role as Honorary President and I`m pleased to announce Webbers has agreed.

  8. Election of 2nd, 3rd & 4th team captains
  9. Any Other Business

Blaydon 34 – 52 Blues

The Blues are Back!

Macclesfield recorded a long overdue win last week against local rivals Chester and their first under Interim Head Coach Marshall Gadd and were looking to pick up back to back wins for the first time since the last two games of their N2N title winning season in April 2016, at Crow Trees where they met a youthful Blaydon side, and it so it transpired that the home side were brushed aside by bigger and stronger forwards alike who in the first half ran at them almost non-stop.

The Blues took a commanding 35-10 lead in at the break having scored 5 tries of various methodology showing how diverse this team’s abilities are. James Hampson will have many checking the record books and a certain Lee Blackett (Wasps Backs’ Coach-holder of the premiership record for quickest try while playing at Leeds) sweating as James Hampson set the ball rolling when he picked up the kick off after one bounce and ran in for a try I personally times at 10 seconds on the nose.

The home side replied immediately as the Macc forwards marched a scrum forward but left the ball behind and the inspirational Laughlin (no. 8) powered over. 4 and a half minutes on the clock and a try at either end. The spectators didn’t have time to sip their drinks as the Blues made the most of their superiority at the scrum again, this time, in the Blaydon 22 and Ryan Parkinson picked up then pumped his legs over the line with 2 men hanging behind him. 

Believe it or not the game went quiet for a period after that with both sides enjoying some possession and territory but no major incident took place before Captain Parkinson broke through the red line and offloaded beautifully for Tom Morton to score and convert himself (24th minute 21-5). The Blues were getting into their stride and Parkinson was showing how important a player he is when even his decoy run put the defence on their heals just enough to allow the robust Tom Burden to go through and under the sticks from 30 metres out. Perhaps they took their foot off the gas for a moment when James Borthwick offloaded in the tackle and despite James Hampson catching the linebreaker he was powerless to stop the offload to Daniel Marshall, in the 31st minute. That appear to revitalize Macc and a classy bit of vision from Morton put Hampson in again breaking down the wing just outside the ’22.

Its hard to know what the team talk was in either dressing room at half time, but Blaydon certainly weren’t giving up where as at times it looked like perhaps The Blues were giving the young North Easterners a chance. A couple of linebreaks were not converted and possession given up in dangerous areas put the travelling fans on their toes. They were looking at their watches on 64 minutes as the home side had pulled it back to 38-29 after tries from Stevenson, Appleton and Davidson met only by a Morton penalty. The Blues looked a little ragged as they fell off tackles and suffered a number of linebreaks in a twenty-minute period the Cheshire side will undoubtedly look back on with concern in their review and brought back memories of their last visit to this ground last year in National One where they held on for a 24-24 draw having had a 21-point lead at half time.

However, those fears were put to bed as the Priory Park outfit emptied the bench, regained their composure as the introduction of Lewis Barker at Full Back brought a little extra magic and after putting 21 phases together Barker found a gap to put Dan Lomax through from 23 metres in the 70th minute.

The points were ultimately assured 5 minutes later when Barker broke the line again despite appearing isolated in kick reception and a penalty was put to the corner and but who else other than Ryan Parkinson was at the back of the Blue Maul Machine, picking up his 100th try in NCA rugby. Tom Morton kicked the conversion from the touchline to complete a 100% record for the day and looks to be getting back to his best rugby having left Sale Sharks in the summer.

This was certainly one for the neutrals but both sides will be looking at their defensive lapses in training this week. Perhaps Macclesfield were always going to struggle to maintain the intensity of the first half and Blaydon were not going to take a thrashing lying down. The Cheshire outfits have won 2 of their last 3 since the change of management and score 101 points so appear to be getting their mojo back. The most pleasing thing for Marshall Gadd’s men must be the confidence they appear to be building and their ability to score from a range of sources. It’s likely to be a meaty affair at home to Huddersfield next week at Priory Park, one not to be missed as the Macclesfield Blues go hunting for 3 W’s in a row.

Blues Wins and “Sexy Mauling” – Giles Looks Back At A Good Performance

Giles took some time to reflect on a hard fought win last weekend against Leicester South

Congratulations on the win on Saturday.  It sounds as though it was a proper battle!

Certainly, the conditions made it so. There was one hell of a breeze, blasting straight down the pitch. It always makes it hard to play good rugby, and no matter which way you start, there will always be a difficult half to face.

You must have been confident, going into the half having kept their scoring down to three?

We know we can defend a lead, but we knew with the wind in our faces, we’d be up against it in the second half. They have a strong kicking game. Both the Fly and 9 took advantage of the conditions, and we knew they would come back, so we made sure our mindset wasn’t just to sit back and defend the lead. We had to go out with the intention of scoring, and we did just that.

You sounded pleased with our ability to maintain possession

I was. We made sure we stopped them having the ball. In those conditions, you have to control play. We didn’t let them keep hold of the ball at all, which is a major plus. But then we made sure that we kept multiple phases of play, within the forwards, to keep the pressure on them.

Billy Robinson crowned off a special day for him with an excellent performance

To reach 200 caps is one hell of a milestone. He joins only two other players to have done that. He really is an evergreen player and he gave us the platform from which to play last Saturday. He would only expect a pat on the back, but he and Sam are the perfect examples of our guys doing the job. I always say to the players, go out and do your job as well as you can. Billy, Sam and the other guys were part of a massive pack effort. The front row worked their socks off and that gave us the opportunity to get our mauling game going.

You talk about wanting to play good quality rugby. How did Saturday’s game rank?

I would like to consider myself someone who wants to see the game’s greatest skills on show. Last week was one of those games when I think the outside centre touched the ball once.

It’s not how we normally play, but I have to say, there is nothing sexier than watching a maul powering forward like that! It can be frustrating for the backs, but it’s all about winning. I was loving it!

We have great ability within the squads. We can play the expansive game, but we can also close it up and play like we did on Saturday. It has taken us a few weeks to click, but now we need to build and learn from every game going forward.

Who stood out for you in the game?

Ryan has had time off with injury, to come back in and start, and to put in a man-of-the-match performance shows the mark of the man, and why he’s captain.

Our half back pairing were fantastic too. They gave us a high level of security I’ve not seen before. Chris got us moving around the field in the right way, and as a pair they allowed us to exercise a game plan and get a good win.

Hinkley on Saturday. Any thoughts going into the game?

It was good to get a win. But we need to win this week. It’s no good if we don’t put those things we talk about into place and put in some more improvement.

Hinkley are third at the moment, so that’s going to be a challenge. They are a good side; I’ve watched them quite a bit and they are well organised and coached – it’s why they are where they are.

We are well organised and coached too, but we have to make sure we respect them and do the job for the club and our supporters.

Hinkley have only conceded 12 fewer points than Macc this year, and looking at Macc’s stats, we have conceded fewer points than anyone else in our half of the division.

We have worked hard at being stingy. We had a change of defensive philosophy, with Marshal Gadd taking over running the defence. With the exception of the tigers game, we haven’t conceded many tries, and only one try in two weeks. In 160 minutes of rugby, that’s good going.

At times in the last few games we’ve been under the pump for 12-15mins solid defending. And we didn’t let them in. We never gave up and they didn’t look like scoring. It gives me great pleasure to see that, the guys getting back on their feet after every phase and working hard. We are working on our concentration levels and making sure we don’t switch off, or get distracted, because that’s what causes problems. I’m looking to see more of the right stuff this weekend.

The Blues play Hinkley away, this weekend. K.O. 3pm

Rugby notes from ‘Clubman’

After a long run without a ‘W’ the Blues returned to the points with a gritty performance at Priory Park against a South Leicester side that the previous week had beaten high flying Tynedale inflicting a first defeat of the season on the North East outfit and the 18-9 victory meant that the visitors failed to cross the whitewash and this result will set the squad up for the tests to come starting on Saturday at Hinckley who recorded a very good victory at Tynedale by 20-18 and in doing so replaced them in second spot in the table with leaders and still unbeaten Stourbridge creating a nine point cushion at the top with a close fought victory over Sedgley Park in the Midlands by 33-31.

Elsewhere Blaydon went down 20-14 at Sheffield to give the home club their first ‘W’ of the season at the bottom of the table with current basement club Wharfedale losing at home to Leicester Lions but as I keep being told it is still early days and as we enter November the campaign is but 1/3rd over. The Blues result however moves us that little bit further away from the ‘danger zone’ with a couple of tough games to come before the squad have a break with 18 November being a ‘reserve’ date and with injuries hopefully clearing up we can show our true potential on the park.

On Saturday I took a break from Priory Park and a long standing arrangement with a former Ampthill player and neighbour of mine saw us travel to Thurstaston on the Wirral to see Ampthill play Caldy in a National One encounter with Ampthill holding sway in a high scoring encounter by 39-22 with nine tries being scored on the open spaces of Telegraph Road.  Caldy, of course, replaced The Blues in National One this season.  Just a bit wild and windy standing on the embankment there but a good atmosphere nonetheless.

Watching that game as a ‘neutral’ it was interesting just how many potential referees there are in a crowd each offering their advice on what should have happened on the park………………it doesn’t happen at Priory Park – does it ??

Elsewhere in the club the Lions (2nd XV) recorded an excellent 38-7 victory over Preston Grasshoppers at Lightfoot Green to make it two on the run and the 3rd XV got their season into winning ways with a 19-12 victory over Stockport Twos but the 4th team went down 27-20 against Moore 1st XV but sadly I have not been provided with any further details of these games.

As we enter November we see the first of the Autumn Internationals taking place with the Barbarians taking on New Zealand at Twickenham on Saturday with England taking on Argentina at the same location a week later with all the home nations taking part in games as all start to tune up for the next World Cup which takes place in Japan in 2019 as well as the Six Nations which begin in the New Year.  With all the injury problems for the England Squad it will be interesting to see how the new players perform.

Reading The Rugby Paper on Sunday it was good to see two former ‘Blues’ players – Fergus & Charlie Mulchrone turning out for London Irish & Harlequins respectively.  Both made massive impressions when they turned out at Priory Park and they seem to have settled into life at a higher sphere.

This weekend as we see the clocks go back then keep an eye on kick off times as the Lions, 3rd & 4th teams will be kicking off at either or with an occasional 1st team game away from Priory Park also kicking off earlier.  As always the 1st XV will kick off at at Priory Park with the lights on.

Saturday’s games:-

1st v. Hinckley – Away –
2nd v. Sedgley Park – Home
3rd v. Wirral – Away
4th v. Knutsford – Home

For those travelling to Hinckley they play at Leicester Road, Hinckley LE10 3DR and from Priory Park it is just over 89 miles so allow two hours for travel.

Enjoy your Rugby – I do,


Macclesfield Rugby Club Ladies Team

We are proud to announce the latest addition to the Rugby Club, our Ladies Team!

Are you aged between 18 – 80 looking to get your fitness soaring whilst enjoying being a part of an enthusiastic rugby family? If the answer is yes, the Macclesfield Rugby Club Ladies Team is perfect for you!

More than 18,000 women and girls play rugby regularly in England and we are excited for Macclesfield to get involved too.

So if you are looking for a source of fun and fitness, come along to our free ‘Give it a Go’ day on Sunday 26th November! All are welcome.

For more information please contact Mary Thorp via

Blues 18 – 9 South Leicester

Macclesfield came into this after 5 defeats on the bounce and with South Leicester fresh off the back of a win over Tynedale on a sticky wet and windy Cheshire day this game was not one for the neutrals with plenty handling errors but not much in the way of points scoring in a gam where 70% of the game was played between the 2 ‘22’s.

The Blues started lively and Lewis Barker kicked an early 3 points 5 minutes in after both sides looked ok in their first couple of phases but failed to put anything more together. But after Director of Rugby Giles Heagerty had claimed that his team had failed to manage the game as well as their opponents Sale FC last week, they appeared to set out to right that wrong this week, with good positional play while maintaining what Heagerty praised last week, the strong defence, repelling South Leicester’s attack despite positive mauls.

Barker missed a second shot at goal after the visitors’ fly half Aley was yellow carded for an intentional knock on, a punishment that may even have surprised the home fans but no one was complaining. The Blues were unable to pick up any points during the sin bin but almost as soon as Aley returned the Blues turned defence into attack chasing down Charlie Ree’s long clearance kick and forcing a pen, which they put into the corner and converted on 21 minutes through the returning Ryan Parkinson who went over in trade mark style off the back of a powerful maul.

The Blues forwards really earned their corn today, making 57 metres through mauling and dominated the majority of the scrums, so special mention must go out to the front row of Sam Moss, rookie Loose head Brendan Berry and Billy Robinson who was making his 200th appearance for the club today. Even when penalised these front 3 may have been harshly dealt with given fan reaction.

South Leicester are no mugs and came back all guns blazing after going 10-0 down and but for a good recovery tackle from Charlie Reed, Collingham, who is clearly a very good player on todays performance along with their scrum half Shaw who kicked brilliantly, would surely have gone over in the corner. Restricting the opposition to 3 points on the half hour was an important plus for the Blues, especially as they failed to pick u any points with their next visit to the opposition red zone. Defence was colossal for the Cheshire side managed to keep the men in green hoops out just before half time which surely gave them the psychological edge heading into the sheds – Half Time 10-3.

The second half was a very twitchy affair with South Leicester drawing first blood 10-6 on 42 mins after the men in Blue held the ball too long but kicking options were limite playing into the strong gusty wind, but 3 minutes later Barker responded from tee after Brendan Berry forced a pen out of Collingham. Both teams were taking 3 points whenever offered which gives you some idea about the conditions, the pitch and the game of rugby we saw today.

From that point on it was an arm wrestle, with neither side taking advantage of their red zone visits and the Blues survived a few onslaughts, South Leicester probably edging the number of red zone opportunities but the Blues’ defence was resilient and for mistakes out of the visitors. The bench played their part with Chris Jones giving plenty of go forward after he came on for Degroot who hobbled off with an ankle injury, and the ever enthusiastic Tom Poole played well in a slightly unfamiliar role at loose head after a huge shift by the ever improving and impressive Berry. Tom Mantell will have a fight for his shirt when he returns and with Berry an experienced hooker Sam Moss may be looking over his shoulder also.

The last phase of play in the game saw the home side put together 23 phases including a Lewis Barker break, which forced a penalty which was put into the corner and the impressive Ryan Parkinson carried well over the gainline to set up Franky Barker’s pass to fellow lock Dave Marwick to score in the corner, and with that the result was sealed. This was a day for the forwards and so it was quite fitting that the forwards combined to get the last score. The home forwards came up huge for the side today, constantly laying the platform and driving them up the pitch in the scrum and maul.

Macclesfield have had a tough few weeks but having broken the miserable run, having really had to dig deep in their locker, hopefully confidence has been restored and with a number of their injuries returning in the next 2 weeks the Blues must be looking to build on this platform and return to the more familiar end of the table.

Macclesfield RUFC

Tries: Parkinson (21), Marwick (79)

Conversions: L. Barker (22)

Penalties: L. Barker (5, 45)

Drop goals:

Sin Bins: 

Red Cards: 

South Leicester



Penalties: Aley (40, 42, 66) 

Drop goals:

Sin Bins: Aley (9)

Red Cards:

Attendance: 231

Referee: George Selwood

Half-time: 10-3

Star man: Billy Robinson-on the day of his 200th Cap Robinson was massive at the scrum in a game that was all about the forwards and the battle of the big boys. Chief Exec Pete Harper gave Ryan Parkinson the award in the clubhouse after though, and special mention should go to him for his constant over the gainline carrying.

Macclesfield (1-8 and 15-9): Berry, Moss, Robinson, F. Barker, Marwick, Degroot, Palmer, Parkinson (c) and Reed, Mayor, Winterbottom, Davenport, Hall, L. Barker, Townsend

Replacements: Sherratte, Poole, Jones, Lacey, Lomax.

South Leicester (1-8 and 15-9): McNaughton, Johnson, Murray, Compton, Ward, Ireland, Moolman, Collingham and Venus, Cooke, Nunney, Pohe, Bean, Aley, Shaw

Replacements: Cave, Boshi, Harris, Marks, Harrison.

We talked to Matt Coleridge, Performance Analyst for Macclesfield Blues

Tell us about your role at Macclesfield Rugby Club?

My main role is as the Performance Analyst for the 1st Team, which means I am cutting the video clips for players and coming up with the stats for the players and coaches to assess how we are performing.

Secondly, during last season and into this season I have taken over the team related media duties. So all the match reports and all the BluesTV content is produced by me and that’s my monotone voice you can here asking the questions in the interviews. 

It’s a lot of work on top of my full time job but it is enjoyable and I do feel like it’s helping the club on and off the pitch so it’s worthwhile.

What made you come to Macclesfield Rugby Club/ How long have you been at Macc Rugby?

I was doing the Performance Analyst role at Preston Grasshoppers, where I spent 3 enjoyable seasons, and so had also worked with Howard Hughes (former Macc team manager) at Lancashire U18s and Giles Heggerty (Macc director of rugby) at England counties u18s and the two of them convinced me to make the switch. They were and still 2 people I have immense respect for and so I leapt at the chance to work with them again, and Macclesfield had just added Marshall Gadd and Paul Millea as players to an already formidable squad so I also hoped we could win N2N, and we did, and I fancied a crack at National One to help boost my professional ambitions and I got that too so the decision was definitely vindicated.

I’m in my 3rd season with Macc now, and I am enjoying it still, we are in a tough run at the moment, but there are a lot of good teams in our league this year, we have suffered a long list of injuries but we have blooded some youngsters and from my perspective we are doing some great work behind the scenes on analysis that you will probably never hear about in afraid but trust me when I say we are working very hard!

Where were you before/previous experience, and how is it relevant to your current role at Macclesfield Rugby?

Funnily enough I have come into the Performance Analysis field via a different route to many who are in it, in that my full time job is as a Police Intelligence Analyst so a lot of the techniques and systems I have implemented have actually been picked up from that side of things. Analysis in my opinion is less of a skill and more of a state of mind, all that changes is what the subject is, so I trade in Crime Pattern Trends for Rugby. It has been a massive help in terms of drilling down into data and helps the coaches get what they want out of my work. It sounds nuts but it actually is an asset I think sets me apart from a lot of people in the business because they don’t have experience identifying data gathering opportunities or how to interrogate it.

As mentioned, I was at Preston Grasshoppers and I picked a lot up there as during that time we had some coaches who were involved in the pro game and had links to their clubs so I did a lot of fact finding and shadowing visits to places like Warrington Wolves, Widnes Vikings, Wigan Athletic Football Club and did some bits of work with some of those.

I worked with Huddersfield Giants for a bit in Super League to pick up some good experience and won the League Leaders’ Shield in that time which was nice. And as mentioned I also worked with Lancashire age groups which led to meeting Giles at England U18s who I went on the Ireland and France tours with.

As for the media side of things I have only a little experience from doing some freelance video work for Warrington Wolves in the last 2 years, I am pretty much winging it but hope that people are enjoying reading what I rant…I mean write and the BluesTV highlights.

What achievement are you most proud of? Either on or off the pitch?

On the pitch would be the National 2 title in 2014-15. I like to think I had a hand in our achievement that year and thoroughly enjoyed the whole season, start to finish. Off the pitch, I guess being chosen to do the Analysis for the England U18’s tours was an honour, but if I am honest I think the biggest achievement is actually juggling this role with a full time job, a dog and managing to just about keep my wife Louise on side. I think when she met me and I was working for 4 different rugby teams she must have thought ‘what the hell is he doing and where do I fit in’. We have been through a lot over the years and dealt with a lot of things that many people will never know about so not to sound too soft but to be still doing this job is an achievement in itself.

What is the worst mistake you’ve made?

I think biggest mistake was choosing to go with Katy Perry’s Hot & Cold for my initiation song on the bus back from Stourbridge 2 years ago…I forgot all the words, did a terrible rendition and got rinsed by the lads as a result but hey, all part of the process I guess.

What do you most enjoy about your current role?

In all honesty I don’t really ‘enjoy’ the media as such but it is fun to see something you write in black and white print and to be the one to bring the highlights to the fans as they are a passionate and supportive bunch. I more enjoy the analysis side of things. I enjoy the camaraderie of the group and the sense of being part of something, being a cog in the wheel.

Most of all though the 2 things I like most are the learning experience I get from working with the coaches, I have learnt so much about the game from Marshall Gadd in areas of the game I didn’t have a clue about before like the set pieces but the number one thing for me is the rewarding feeling I get when I provide something that has a direct impact, such as if I provide a stat that leads to us amending aa tactic or selecting a player that makes a difference, perhaps I notice something in a players technique and it is delivered back to them, or even in our opposition preparation I see something that the players act on and gives us the edge in a match.

What does this involve? Tell us a little about your day-to-day activity for the club?

Well, my role now is twofold – primarily I and the Performance Analyst for the 1st Team which essentially involves coming up with the criteria and means of recording and monitoring performance of the team and players, and putting in place the infrastructure to do that in conjunction with the coaches. We do that using something called KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) which are the criteria that reflects how well tactics have been carried out in the team context or how well some one has done the role expected of them from a player perspective.

In very simple terms a team KPI would be the number of phases we have put tithe there, and a player KPI would be getting over the gain-line for a forward for example. I am also responsible for using video and statistics to prepare the coaches and in turn the players for upcoming opposition, as well as feeding video and data back into the coaches during the game to try and help give direction during the matches.

And then there are a lot of off the cuff tasks Giles and Marshy ask for like ‘how many times did that happen or that happen’or ‘can you get me all the videos of this or that happening’ but. I won’t bore you anymore with that haha!

The other part of the role is the media element and that has been interesting as I had never really had any respect for the press side of things and although I was interested in a sports journalism role when I was a kid I never really have had any intention of doing that role, but when the media guy left last year someone needed to step in and I volunteered.

At first a lot of my reports were really middle of the road and safe, for want of a better phrase, but then I decided that was just boring so now they are far more edgy and I wouldn’t say biassed but certainly more of a Blues’ fan’s perspective. I acknowledge the opposition of course but at the end of the day I just say it how I see it now. 

It’s a lot of work on top of my full time job but it is enjoyable and I do feel like it’s helping the club on and off the pitch so it’s worthwhile.

Where do you see the future of Macclesfield Rugby? And what is going to be your role in securing this future for the club?

Well, I think that the blend of the players we have in terms of age and experience stands us in good stead for the long term. Players like Tom Burden, Tom Poole, Lewis Winterbottom, Joe Palmer and Sam Parry forcing their way into the first team is healthy for us going forward, and them learning off the likes of Tom Mantell, Ryan Parkinson and Tom Davenport is great for their development.

When the club move into the new facility (when it is built, im not sure when that is) they will have a shiny new ground to match their ambitions. A period of stability this season would be a good thing allowing Giles to blood these youngsters while planning some recruitment and build from there. It might be nice if we can add a ladies team to our ranks.

I am no expert and pride myself on being one of the lads rather than one of the men upstairs but from my time here I have seen that the club has a very supportive committee and Mr Harper is an enthusiastic Exec who wants the best for the team and club so I believe the ship is being steered well. There could always be more investment but  I think the right people are out there chasing the right sponsors and making the right moves for Macclesfield Rugby.

What are you most looking forward to this season?

Well at writing this we are 8 games in and its fair to say we are not performing as I had hoped so I guess I am looking forward to helping turn the run around, but in addition its nice not having trips to Plymouth and London every other weekend although that’s the kind of opposition you want to test yourself against.

I look forward to the new tasks and challenges that greet me as we go through a season and the mental stimulation I get from that, and from helping the team. But by April I cant wait for a bit of warm weather and to get back on the golf course haha.

Following last week’s game at Sedgley Park, Giles gives us his views

On another wet, soggy day Macclesfield Blues visited Sedgley Park for a local derby. Despite some strong play from Macclesfield, Sedgley ran out winners 35-15. Giles gives us his views of the game and the key areas of Macclesfield’s performance he is looking to improve.

It’s never fun to lose to local rivals, how do you feel about the game now we are a few days on?

“My views haven’t changed. We were naïve in the game. It’s the best way to describe it. It took us 65 minutes to get the level of enthusiasm we wanted. As a result of that, we invited too much pressure onto ourselves in terms of attack and turning the ball over too softly.

“For some of that, you’ve got to give credit to Sedgley. They were physical and up for it, and they out-enthused us in the first half. It cost us, as it left us with far too much to do.

“It is a local derby, and we recognised that, which is why we were disappointed with the loss, but our supporters were fantastic and we want to bounce back for them and for ourselves.”

Were there any key moments where you felt the game was taken away from you?

“There were some defensive moments where we let Sedgley in. Giving away penalties at the break down just relieves any pressure that we’ve built up. From there, momentum is lost, and it takes a lot to build that back up again.

“I’ve picked out two key moments with the guys that I think were the major factors to us getting behind the pace. Firstly, in the very first play of the game, we had the opportunity to charge down the kick and follow up on both sides of the ruck. We went up on one side, but not the other. Which gave them the opportunity to clear. So, we went from a good attacking position to being just outside our own 22 in one kick. Then at halftime we made a technical adjusted, but straight away kicked poorly, and gave Sedgley the opportunity to score from the resulting scrum.

“It’s just two key moments, but they influence the rest of the game. Momentum is lost and we need to fight to get back into it again.”

Do you think that loss of momentum is being carried from other games?

“Not at all. I don’t believe we are losing momentum in a long term sense. Each game has been a different loss. The game against Huddersfield, there was one key moment that took it away. Leicester, the red card. Saturday, I’ve mentioned.

“It’s those key moments that turn the game. They are all unique to the context of the match. But we have to make sure that we avoid repetition of them. We know we have the ability, we just have to get a little bit more swagger back in our step and let our rugby do the talking.”

You sound confident that Macc can bounce back quickly.

“Absolutely! There are no alarm bells going off just because we’ve lost some games. No one said we were going to go unbeaten. These are great teams we are playing and it’s a competitive league. We just need to do the work hard to make sure those key moments go our way, then we will start seeing the results I think our guys deserve.”

There’s a number of high profile injuries in the squad at the moment, it can’t be easy dealing with the loss of key players?

We have a high quality playing squad. Yes, we are missing some of our experienced players, and guys who have the ability to control games, but the guys who have come in are high quality too.

“Liam Parfitt was outstanding yet again, he’s just been exceptional over the last few weeks. Brendan Berry, too, had a great game.

“You could argue that experienced players help turn those key moments our way, but we have quality in depth and it’s up to guys out there on the field to make it happen.”

Sheffield Tigers are visiting Macc this weekend. Any special preparation?

“We had an excellent training session and video session this week. Our physicality is improving and we have the capability to do better. Also, our ability to maintain possession is an area of genuine  improvement, and we are happy with that. We want to turn that into maintained pressure now.

“I do believe we are getting better, but it’s key for the players to get direct transfer from the training field into Saturdays. We have limited time with players, but our focus is to deliver what we do in practice straight onto the field this week.”

Any word for the supporters ahead of the game?

“It goes without saying that we love people coming down to watch us at our home ground,  and are always grateful for the support we have. All I ask is that the supporters stick with us, both on and off the field. Get behind the team and don’t worry about the end of the season at this stage.

“The landscape of Macc Rugby has changed so much in the last few years, and our context has changed too. We are in a different position to where we were two years ago. We’re looking to keep improving and take care of business this weekend.”

Get behind the Blues this weekend at home against Sheffield Tigers, kick off 3pm .