Head Coach and Director of Rugby, Geoff Wappett, told Macclesfield Rugby last week that if the Blues were going to continue their great run of form and come away with points from Richmond, then they were going to have to do it the hard way. Well, never was truer word spoken. It was attritional at times and hard graft, but Macclesfield Blues came away with 4 richly deserved points. Did fate play a hand in Tom Eaton’s twice-taken conversion kick right at the death? Not in Geoff’s opinion – the points were earned over 80 minutes. Still, when the sun shines on you, you have to make the most of it, so if it was fate, the boys will happily take it and hope for more of the same against Coventry. Here are Geoff’s views of that great win at Richmond and his opinions on the visit of Coventry this Saturday.
5 games, 5 wins: it surely can’t get much better than that, can it?
“It was a great win and will boost our confidence for the rest of the season. Mind you it was a tough old game, but I suppose it was never going to be anything else. It was nip and tuck all the way, and all you can do is try and stay as close and as tight as you can and hope you get the rub of the green. We knew going into the game that either side was capable of winning. But the experience of the last few weeks has set us up well for tight games like that. The lads have shown great resilience and resolve and play right up to the final whistle. This time we were fortunate to get the final score, but I think on balance we deserved it. We’d been pressing Richmond for the last 15 minutes, so a score looked likely. Fortunately it fell to us.”
Was fate or luck on the Blues’ side with Tom Eaton’s conversion kick?
“No doubt some people would say we were lucky because Tom got to take the conversion attempt twice, but let’s face it, if it was luck, we were more than due for some. We’ve had some rotten luck during the rest of the season. Still, whatever the reason, be it fate or luck, I said to the boys the sun’s shining on us at the moment, so make the most of it. The double conversion kick is not something I’ve ever really come across before. I’ve seen conversions where the kicker’s approached the ball to take the kick but the defender’s closed down too early, so the kick has been re-taken. But Tom never started his approach and never changed his position once.”
“He then kicked and missed, but the referee spoke to the two offending Richmond players because someone had said something to Tom. He then gave Tom a second shot which he nailed straight through the posts from out wide, just like last week. We didn’t nick the game as some people may have suggested: we earned that victory. Yes it was close, but had it been a boxing match we would’ve won it on points.”
What are you expecting from Coventry?
“Our last game was a strange one. They got a lead on us, but we fought back. With 20 minutes to go it looked like Coventry were reeling. Then we missed a scoring opportunity: they picked it up, we missed the tackle and then they scored. Then they scored another. The final score which I can’t recall – maybe because I don’t want to, made it look like a totally one-sided contest. So we know that we owe them one. We didn’t cover ourselves in glory last time, so it’s time to put matters right. It’ll be a tough old game though, as Coventry have been playing quite well recently. Hopefully our supporters will give us that extra boost. I must congratulate all the Blues fans who travelled down to the last weekend’s game by the way. They were magnificent, and made more noise than the whole Richmond supporters put together. Let’s hope for the same this weekend at Priory Park.”
“We’re all playing with confidence now, so that will be an advantage. One or two of the lads are really hitting form and playing extraordinarily well. I though Matt King had an outstanding game: Matt O’Regan played well too. Tom Mantell carried the ball remarkably well. I don’t know the statistics, but he was far and away the best ball carrier on the park last Saturday. All these things auger well for the weekend.”
So what have the Blues got to do between now and the end of the season?
“It’s pretty simple really. In the last 7 games we need to get 3 points more than Wharfedale or 5 points more than Tynedale. It we do get 3 more points than Wharfedale then we would overtake them as we would’ve won more games than them. I would have thought that’s definitely possible. That’s not meant to sound arrogant or overly-optimistic: I think it’s just a realistic goal. All we need to do is finish 13th.”