It’s always been a bit of a bogey ground for Macclesfield Rugby Club, but last weekend the Blues were able to get the monkey off their backs with a well-deserved win up at Tynedale. Mind you, it proved to be a little too close for comfort at the end, but Macclesfield Blues haven’t chosen to necessarily do things the easy way this season. Naturally, Head Coach and Director of Rugby, Geoff Wappett was delighted with the win: he feels the result will definitely boost the confidence and self-belief of his players. He also believes that the win may well prove to be the catalyst for a much-improved performance for the rest of the season. Next up, it’s the dark horses of National One, Richmond: a side steeped in rugby history who’ve been off the mainstream radar for some time. Will Macclesfield Blues be able to build on the win at Tynedale and overcome Richmond when they come to Priory Park this weekend? Well, here are Geoff’s thoughts.
That must have been a sweet victory: how are you feeling after the win at Tynedale?
“I’m absolutely delighted and chuffed to bits with that result, because Tynedale is a difficult place to go to. I’m not quite sure why some places are like that: maybe it’s the journey, maybe it’s the fact that it’s a bit of a closed-off environment? Who knows? All I do know is that most teams, even the top ones, find it difficult to go up there and come away with points. They’ve probably managed to stay in this league because of their home form. So considering our season’s position and our injury problems, then a bonus point win up at Tynedale was fantastic. Actually it was more than that: it was absolutely awesome, and might go some way to quietening our critics who’ve been venting their spleens recently.”
Mind you, great result, but the last 10 minutes must have concerned you a little?
“Naturally it was a concern, but that’s been pretty much the story of our season. We have a habit of adding to our own problems when there’s no need to. At 27 -8 we were sitting pretty having dominated the game really, but for some reason or other a few doubts started to creep in and we gave them a foothold in the game that probably wasn’t really deserved. We let them back into it, and to their credit Tynedale took full advantage of it, and that made the last 10 minutes unnecessarily uncomfortable. Anyway there was a collective sigh of relief when the whistle finally blew.”
In spite of that nervy last 10 minutes, that result must surely inspire the team and give them self-belief for the games to come?
“It has to, doesn’t it? Sometimes there are points in a season where all you need is a little nudge here, or a bit of good fortune there, and you can kick on from it. Maybe that’s one of those moments. I’ve said all along that we have been playing some reasonable rugby at times, but making unnecessary howlers. I think a deserved win like that is what we needed because it will give us confidence and self-belief.”
Richmond have an illustrious pedigree at the top level, but are a bit of a dark horse for many of today’s fans: what have you made of them this season?
“In their day Richmond were one of the teams to beat, but obviously they’ve had their problems. Given what happened to them with dropping out of the league, you have to say they’ve done remarkably well getting as far as they have. You can only say well done. They played a very close and tight league with Albanians last season, and gained their promotion to National One with narrow victory over Caldy in extra time, so it’s not been easy for them to get this far.”
“They appear to have done a good job with recruitment, though they are in the rugby heartland of the capital, and can pick and choose players, and, like Rosslyn Park, they appear to have access to some ‘tidy’ jobs in the City, so that’s got to help too. Still their season’s been a bit mixed. They got a bit of a walloping by Rosslyn Park last week, so that won’t have done their confidence much good. But at the end of the day you have to focus on your own team. We certainly don’t feel overawed by any team we face, even the likes of Rosslyn Park. We gave them a close run a few weeks back and were unlucky not to get something out of the game. We’re pretty confident that we can go into most games and be capable of winning.”
“We’ll have the home advantage with us, and we’re feeling confident after last week’s win. The lads are up for the game. We’re definitely looking forward to the weekend and looking forward to hopefully going on a bit of a run.”