There was almost a whole league separating the two sides playing on Saturday, and despite the score-line, the Blues were able to hold their own for large stints of the game.
Macclesfield travelled down to 1st placed side Ealing Trailfinders on Saturday after two weeks without a game, and it marked the first game of the second half of the season.
Ealing have been in impressive form at home this season, in particular against teams near the bottom of the table, and with results like 56-24 against Tynedale, 59-17 against Sedgley Park and 47-11 against Cambridge it’s no surprise that they have managed to stay top with 70 points from 17 games.
And as Geoff Wappett said after the game, the score-line was not indicative of the way we played and there were many positives to draw from the match.
Already our set pieces and tackling, which were looking a little shaky in September (the reverse fixture finished at 56-15 to Ealing) have vastly improved, and with experienced players like Dean Williams and Billy Robinson returning to the side from injury, the side looked a lot more confident than at Old Albanians just three weeks ago.
While Williams made his return, it was worrying to see regular Alan Marsh coming off in the closing stages of the game with a dislocated finger.
Meanwhile, it is encouraging to see Chris Jones, who suffered his horrific injury at the Ealing fixture last year, has returned to training and is making his way back to playing regular rugby in the coming weeks.
Next week Macclesfield welcome Cinderford to Priory Park, a side who have the capability to beat anyone in this league on their day, and in fact pulled off a 36-21 victory against 3rd placed Rosslyn Park this weekend.
The team from Gloucestershire are currently in 7th place, and will prove to be a stern test for the Blues, regardless of form.
Cambridge and Sedgley Park, who are also near the bottom of the table, also suffered defeat this weekend, Cambridge losing 41-21 against Coventry at home, whilst Sedgley were beaten 19-9 by Tynedale.
The match against Sedgley Park will now take place on February 9th, after the game was postponed on December 22nd due to a waterlogged pitch.
Blaydon won 24-22 against Richmond, while Esher enjoyed a 45-26 victory against Loughborough Students.
Fylde travelled to Old Albanian, and lost 31-10, as Blackheath secured a 25-15 victory away at Wharfedale.
In what proved to be a successful day of rugby for the rest of the club, Macclesfield 2s were able to get off to a good start this season with a hard-fought 26-16 win against Chester at Priory Park.
2s Coach Paul Bartle said: “Performances of note from Matt King, Morrison, Marsden and Travis who scrummaged exceptionally well in the second half when he came off the bench.”
The 3s and 4s both won against their respective Stockport teams, the 3s winning 24-7, while the 4s enjoyed an emphatic 94-0 victory. The Vets also beat local rivals Wilmslow 22-5 in the last game of the weekend.