Macclesfield 25 – 30 Rosslyn Park

Blues picked up a valuable bonus point as they suffered a narrow 25-30 defeat to on-form Rosslyn Park.

Despite not getting the result, Blues showed an improved performance to recent weeks as Matt Owen, Sam Moss and Frankie Barker all added their names to the score sheet.

Director of Rugby and Head Coach Geoff Wappett praised the work rate; “Generally It was an 80 minute affair; we kept going right the way to the end.

“All in all you can say it was encouraging, we lost the match but it was encouraging because we didn’t look a million miles away from where we want to be.

Macclesfield enjoyed a strong start to the match, as Matt Owen scored his first try of the season after just five minutes.

Captain Tom Eaton converted to give the Blues an early 7-0 lead.

Rosslyn Park came back in attack with a quick response, as Hugo Ellis found the gaps to touch down for the visiting side. The conversion put the two teams back on a level pegging.

With fast wingers causing problems for Macc’s defence, strong tackling from Eaton and Tom Mantell kept Rosslyn Park from breaking through.

However, after 17 minutes Steve Parsons scored to give Rosslyn Park the lead after the first quarter. Eaton then took advantage of a penalty kick to bring the score to 10-12.

Rosslyn Park enjoyed spells of possession, however the ball was turned over on plenty of occasions and Blues proved they were no pushovers.

Alan Marsh pulled off a powerful tackle late in the first half, timing it perfectly to flatten the opposition as soon as he caught the ball from a kicked clearance.

Impressive full-back Ed Lewis-Pratt then scored for the visitors as he ghosted through the defence with his speed and balance.

A penalty ten minutes before half-time was converted, giving Rosslyn Park a 10-20 lead going into the break.

As the second half went underway, Rosslyn Park showed why they were at the top end of the league with superior set piece displays, however Blues held strong at the back.

It wasn’t until the 60th minute that Dominic Shabbo scored a skilful try on the left wing, dodging tackles to score an impressive solo effort.

Katz scored the conversion to give Rosslyn Park a 10-27 lead, putting everyone in the stands on the edge of their seat.

It was perfect timing then for Macclesfield to dig deep and give Rosslyn Park something to worry about.

Sam Moss came off the bench to score after strong pressure down the left wing; the conversion narrowly missed the target to bring the Blues to 15-27.

Katz added another penalty kick, giving Rosslyn Park their last points of the match with 20 minutes remaining.

Frankie Barker then capped off an impressive game with a try five minutes before full-time, Eaton found the target with the conversion to mean Blues were close to gaining the bonus point.

And it was Eaton who stepped up as he scored a penalty kick at the full-time whistle, giving Macc something to take away from a very tough fixture.

“There were a couple of opportunities that we missed in the first half,” Wappett added at full time; “but there always will be. There isn’t a game or a team that you can’t say that about.

“There were two or three situations where we were forcing play still, and we need to stop doing that.

“You can look at the different positions in the league, and you wouldn’t necessarily relate to the gap being that big, there are very fine margins this season.

“On a positive note, that was probably the first game this season where we haven’t sustained a serious injury.

“I thought Mike Finnemore was tremendous on his debut start, it was uplifting. Mike’s a young lad and he really did shape up today.

“I thought Frankie Barker had a good game, and particularly in the back row. I thought Tom Mantell had a good game, good scrummage and was very physical.

“You could see they had a lot of pace around the team; they were slightly more physical than we were going forward but we stood up to it.

“We need to be full of ammo for next Saturday; Saturday is a ten-point game, and by all accounts they beat Old Albanians this weekend.

“We’ve got a scrap on and we’ve got to fight for absolutely everything. Whoever comes out of next week with nothing will start to look around a feel a bit lonely.

“The performance today was encouraging; we’ve got a situation where we’ll probably go into next week’s game without too many changes.”


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