Macclesfield 20 – 13 Blackheath

Macclesfield held strong after a tense second half on Saturday as the Blues secured a much-needed 20-13 win against Blackheath at Priory Park.

Tries from Will Bordill and two from no.8 Frankie Barker help push the Blues into the lead, while solid defending help to keep it.

The win narrows the gap between Macclesfield and Sedgley Park to just one point as the Blues look to escape the relegation zone.

Director of Rugby and Head Coach Geoff Wappett was pleased with the result; “It’s a good feeling to win, it helps confidence in the side and we just have to see where we can take it.

“We’re taking one game at a time and we don’t need to focus on the league table. That would be a silly thing to do.

“The only thing we should worry about is winning points, wherever we got we should at least take one point.”

Blackheath kicked off and controlled for the first ten minutes, two penalties were scored by fly-half Daniel Mugford to give the visitors an early 6-0 lead.

The Blues struggled with set piece plays during the first quarter, and Blackheath came close with several chances, however both sides struggled to hold the possession and penalties were conceded by both teams.

Elliot Brierley made a threatening run through the oppositions defence at the 15 minute mark, however was called back when the referee failed to play on for the advantage.

After 17 minutes Blues captain Tom Eaton then converted a penalty from 30 yards out, spurring the home side back into action.

Macclesfield began to pile on the pressure; the Blues spent ten minutes desperately trying to find a way through just five yards from the Blackheath line.

Macclesfield then scored two consecutive tries, Frankie Barker grabbing the first after 29 minutes, the conversion bounced off the post to make the score 8-6.

The second began from a successful Macclesfield lineout, leading to a powerful driving maul that crossed the line. Will Bordill was the scorer as Eaton converted from 40 yards out to give the Blues a 15-6 lead going into half-time.

The Blues came out strong into the second half, Matt O’Regan and Bordill both gaining ground with good runs, however it was Barker who stepped up again for his second try.

The number 8 powered through on the left wing after receiving the ball from a Macclesfield scrum high up the field. Eaton converted from afar to take the Blues further into the lead.

With Blackheath back in possession, the London side began to settle down and control the ball, putting the Blues on the back foot.

After 53 minutes Blackheath’s David Allen was able to touch down from a strong driving maul that the Blues could do nothing about.

Mugford’s conversion brought the score to 20-13, and with 30 minutes to go the result was still all to play for.

The Blues held their resolve; despite several clear-cut chances for Blackheath, strong tackling from Tom Mantell, Matt Owen and Frankie Barker held the visitors at bay.

Wappett added: “We deserved to win that game. There have been games in the past that I’ve thought nearly the same, where we were in the driving seat and still managed to lose, but today we deserved it.

“I thought when we scored the third try we still had enough time to settle down, take control of the game, get a 4th try and take the bonus point.

“We still made life quite difficult for ourselves in the last 20 minutes or so, but we got the win and I thought we were a bit better than the seven point margin.

“You can never really relax until the final whistle blows, we hadn’t put the game to bed and then they got their try to bring it to 20-13 with 30 minutes to go.

“Before that stage we were playing rather well and looking very decisive in everything that we did, but we still didn’t absolutely ram it home.

“We conceded a driving try today but for the large part our defence stood up stronger and our tackling was better.

“I just though we have to manage the game better at times, especially when we need to close the game out.

 “With every passing week we’re getting nearer to the likes of Chris Jones getting fit again, after Christmas certainly Dean Williams will be back refreshed and fully fit.

“Billy Robinson had his second game today; he’s a couple of weeks away. Mike Finnemore is probably two, maybe three weeks away.

“All of a sudden in a few weeks time it will be a lot more competitive for places, which will be better for everybody.

“It just sharpens everybody up, our performances will improve, but saying that we can’t just wait for that to happen.

“We have Esher next week, they lost to Rosslyn Park by six points today, Blackheath lost to Rosslyn Park by five and we also lost by five points.

“That tells us that you can’t rule out anything, and on our journey down to Esher we should be able to do quite well.”

Next week Macclesfield travel away to Esher for a 3.00 kick-off, to follow the updates during the match click here:

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