Blaydon 24 – 24 Blues

Macclesfield picked up three points in the 24-24 draw at third-place Blaydon on Saturday in the Blues penultimate game of the season.

A 60th minute try from substitute Chris Jones levelled the match and secured the bonus point, as Elliot Brierley, Ryan Parkinson and Dean Williams all scored in the first half.

Director of Rugby and Head Coach Geoff Wappett was hoping for a win, but was pleased with the points gained: “If we were not in the circumstances we are in now it would be better; I think going up there and getting four tries and getting the draw, we would normally be delighted in.

“Most other oppositions have come away from Blaydon getting considerably less than three points, but with a bit of good fortune, it could have been more.”

Blaydon attacked from the kick-off, causing an early scare for Macclesfield as full-back Matt King was caught with the ball close to the Blues goal line, and, after a Blaydon scrum, the ball was kicked across the pitch only for Matt O’Regan to intercept.

Blaydon’s first try came after five minutes as winger Tom Jeffery received the ball out on the right wing in space and scored in the corner, the conversion went wide to give the home side a 5-0 lead.

Then, against the run of the play, Elliot Brierley found himself in the right place at the right time to intercept a pass on the half-way line and race on and score, winger Ashley Platt-Hughes scored the conversion on his debut start to edge the Blues in front.

Dean Williams then increased the lead with an unstoppable run down the right as Macclesfield started to settle down and get into the game, the conversion wide to bring the score to 12-5.

Blaydon retaliated, and saw a try ruled out after Tom Jeffery was penalised as he crossed the line, however the side capitalised on the resulting scrum and Gavin Jones touched down from a strong maul to narrow the gap to 12-10.

However, just three minutes later the Blues punished sloppy defending as Dave Marwick caught a lineout throw and dropped it to Ryan Parkinson who was allowed a clear run through the middle of the park, Platt-Hughes comfortably dispatched the conversion.

With five minutes until half-time, hooker Tom Cruse was given a yellow for breaking down a maul, and Blaydon centre Charles Incledon was able to score a converted try from the advantage allowed by the referee to cap off an action-packed first half, bringing the score at half-time to 19-17 to the Blues.

Minutes into the second half the home side were able to surge back into the lead after a converted try from a powerful driving maul was scored by Chris Wearmouth.

Much like in the first half, the Blues settled down after conceding and went back on the offensive, and good attacking play from Brierley, Cruse, King and O’Regan helped the side progress up the field.

After strong pressure from the Blues, substitute Chris Jones was able to grab his first try of the season to secure the bonus point and draw level at 24-24.

Macclesfield’s next best chance came when O’Regan was gifted a clean break down the left wing from his own half, however the defence were able to get behind the ball in time and the attack broke down.

Wappett added after the game:  “Three points from a visit to Blaydon is fantastic, and it keeps us in the running for safety, albeit very tight in the survival stakes.

“We talked with the boys and they have good heart and spirit and are looking forward to the Fylde game. We have been assured that Fylde will bring their strongest side; I’d expect that of any team in the league.

“If that’s the case then we have to be at the top end of our game, but we know their strengths and ours, and we are confident that we can get a win and score some tries. It will be a real challenge; but it’s a one-off, final flurry to pick up points.

“Tom (Eaton) was nearly fit this week, he recovered remarkably quickly, but Davenport isn’t available next week, so we just had to be patient and hope he will be all the better for next Saturday.”

Next week Macclesfield take on Fylde in the final game of the season, make sure you come down to cheer on the Blues for the 3.00pm kick-off, or alternatively follow the Twitter updates here: https://twitter.com/MaccRUFC

15 – Matt King, 14 – Ashley Platt-Hughes, 13 – Elliot Brierley, 12 – Matt O’Regan, 11 – Josh Fowles, 10 – Tom Davenport, 9 – Matt Rhodes, 1 – Tom Mantell, 2 – Tom Cruse, 3 – Martin Kent, 4 – Matt Owen, 5 – Dean Williams, 23 – Dave Marwick, 7 –Ryan Parkinson, 8 – Frankie Barker,  16 – Sam Moss, 17 – Gavin Woods, 18 – Chris Jones, 19 – Mike Finnemore, 20 – Chris Townsend

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