It’s amazing how just one turnover can completely change the complexion of a rugby match. Macclesfield Blues competed well against local rivals Fylde, and went in it at half time only trailing by 4 points in what had largely been an evenly matched game. It’s probably fair to say at that that stage it was anyone’s game: neither side were at their best, but it was still all to play for. Then came the turn over, the breakaway and the yellow card for Edd Stobart and everything changed: within that crucial 10 minute spell Fylde grabbed 2 tries and effectively put the game to bed. In spite of a spirited comeback and 2 late tries, the Blues couldn’t rescue a bonus point and left the Fylde coast empty-handed.
It was an afternoon of frustration and further injuries for the Blues, and naturally Head Coach and Director of Rugby, Geoff Wappett, was left ruing that one crucial turnover. Macclesfield Blues may have played some decent attacking rugby at times and scored 3 good tries, but that was scant comfort for Geoff. The fact is the team lost, and Geoff and the boys were not happy with that. In Geoff’s eyes there’s no such thing as a good loser: as he remarked, show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser. Here are Geoff’s thoughts on the game and the upcoming fixture next weekend at Priory Park against Blackheath.
How would you sum up that performance?
“I thought we were competitive in the first half. The fact is neither side were at their best, but we looked as good as they did in my view. Going in only 4 points adrift meant it was all to play for in the second half. I was pretty confident that if we kicked on from there we could come away with something to show for our efforts. The frustrating part was that the injury curse struck yet again. We lost Josh Fowles before kick off with food poisoning, and then suffered again when Tom Davenport stretched and tore a hamstring trying to prevent a try. It’s bad news for the team as we probably won’t see Tom again this side of Christmas. When you get so many injuries close together, it’s very difficult to get any sort of consistency.”
So what went wrong in the second half?
“I guess it was just one of those things really. We started the half well and were beginning to take the game to them and get the driving maul going. As we got more front foot possession we momentarily lost concentration and somehow turned the ball over. The Fylde player raced forward, and though Edd Stobart managed to get back and stop him, he managed to incur the wrath of the referee and was yellow carded. Fylde kicked the penalty and scored 2 further tries whilst Edd was off the pitch. What had been a close-fought affair suddenly became a forgone conclusion. You have to give the boys great credit though as they rallied and scored 2 good tries through Elliot Brierley and Jack Moorhouse, but it just wasn’t enough in the end.”
So what do you take from the game?
“Well there are definitely plenty of positives that the team can draw on. The back-three play of wings Brierley and Stobart, and fullback Moorhouse was a joy to behold. Brierley appeared much more confident on the wing and ran with the determination of a man who wanted to keep the shirt he’s only just been handed. Stobart was all over the field defending and attacking and whatever he was involved with more often than not resulted in a positive outcome. Moorhouse too, was busy and effective, and with every game looks more and more the fullback his natural qualities suggest he should have always been.”
“The other positive is the attitude of the payers. They’re working hard and the physio/rehab department are working equally hard too. We must stick to the task, and if we do we’re still confident we can turn the corner. However, we’ve got to overcome what appears to be a generous streak where we gift 20 points or so to the opposition in games. This always puts us on the back foot, and from there we’re always likely to be playing catch up rugby. If we’re going to give points away, then the very least we can do is make the opposition work for those points.”
So next up at Priory Park is Blackheath – what are your thoughts on the game?
“Blackheath lost to Rosslyn Park by 5 points at the weekend. Previously we lost to Rosslyn Park by the same score. Does that give us any idea how the game will pan out? Of course not. What we do know is that it will be a cracking game. It always is against Blackheath and it’s always tight if previous encounters are anything to go by. We’ve won 3 of the last 4, with Blackheath winning the last encounter, but those statistics don’t tell you anything. We will be playing to win, and feel confident that we have the resources to achieve this. What we do need is the support of the home crowd though. We need that support more than ever. The players do care and will be showing that on Saturday afternoon. The team will be trying doubly hard to give the crowd something worth shouting about.”