Coventry 38 – 3 Macclesfield

A dominant second-half performance gave Coventry a 38-3 victory as Blues’ injury list grows even longer.

Fly-half Clifford Hodgson put in a man of the match performance by scoring 18 points through penalty kicks, conversions and a drop goal.

Head Coach and Director of Rugby Geoff Wappett was disappointed with the final 40 minutes: “I thought, in terms of field position and pressure we won the first half.

“It was sad that we put all that pressure on and came away empty handed. We were giving penalties away because we were put under pressure; it continually increased their lead through 3 point penalties.

“Little bits of things like that, slowly but surely they took over the game, and in the last 10 minutes we were just blown away; we had nothing left in the tank.”

Macclesfield kicked off and the crowd of 849 immediately got behind the home side.

Coventry made an early push after four minutes, however the ball was turned over and Macc responded with a quick counter.

A nervy moment followed after a loose ball drifted over towards the Macclesfield line, forcing Matt Rhodes to chase it and clear whilst a Coventry forward was bearing down on him.

Captain Tom Eaton hobbled off after seven minutes, an ankle injury forcing him to sit out for the remainder of the game. Josh Longmore was his replacement.

Soon after coming onto the pitch Longmore scored a penalty kick, giving Macc their only points of the game.

Both sides enjoyed periods of possession and close chances, however neither side were able to get a foothold on the match.

Coventry began to regularly turn the ball over, giving Blues the opportunity to apply strong pressure and go for the try.

The impressive new fly-half for Coventry, Clifford Hodgson, scored his first penalty kick of the match, equalising to bring the score to 3-3.

A penalty kick was then missed by Longmore from close to the half-way line; however Blues continued to put the Bears under heavy pressure.

Full back Matt O’Regan came close to scoring, and minutes later the Blues came inches close again to a try.

The spell of dominance ended when the ball was turned over by a penalty. This allowed Tom Harris to score Coventry’s first try.

The conversion hit the post, giving them an 8-3 lead as the first half was drawing to a close.

Minutes before the first half ended Ryan Parkinson had his game cut short as a broken arm forced him off the field to be replaced by Mike Finnemore.

In the second half Hodgson came into his element; scoring a drop goal after 51 minutes.

He then scored two consecutive penalty kicks, extending Coventry’s lead to 17-3.

As the last ten minutes approached, Coventry began to dictate the play and find the gaps in the Blues defence.

Both Greg Evans and Jack Le Roux scored for the home side, Hodgson scoring both conversions.

To make matters worse a penalty try was awarded at the final whistle for persistent fouling, Hodgson once again kicked straight to make the final score 38-3.

Wappett added after the game: “It was obviously extremely disappointing to lose tom Eaton so early in the game.

“He’s important as a playmaker and there’s no way that any replacement can do his job as well at short notice, although Longmore did respectively well.

“We kept the ball for a long term in the first half, and when we got the penalty, it was my call to keep the scrummage instead of a penalty kick as the lads looked like a score was about to come.

“As it was we were turned over and lost the opportunity.

“The second half started reasonably well, we made some good breaks, and for 10 or 15 minutes we were fine.

“Dave Marwick has been struggling with his hernia/groin strain and he had to be substituted, Cruse came off so slowly but surely we had to put the bench on.

“Ryan Parkinson was playing really well and to lose him before half time was a massive loss, the poor lad has broken his arm, and now there is a metal plate in his forearm as well as in his hand.

“So it was very sad, we are very unfortunate in that we lost Eaton, Parkinson and Marwick through injury.

“We’ve got a long injury list, one of the longest that I’ve ever known; it’s not just the number it’s the quality of player, it is the experienced players in key positions that are injured.

“Without a doubt the back to back home games that we have are very important. It is a shame that we’ve had these injuries as we are at an advantage with these two home games.

“Obviously it’s still early in the week and the lads are all recovering from a pretty hard game on Saturday.

“Of where we are for selection for the Rosslyn Park game, Marwick and Parkinson are certainly going to be playing, hopefully Eaton will make it.”

Next week Blues take on second-placed Rosslyn Park at home in what will prove to be a very exciting fixture, make sure to make it down to Priory Park or follow the twitter updates here: https://twitter.com/MaccRUFC

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