Blues 5 – 19 Wharfedale

In the relegation battle of the Blues versus the Greens, Macclesfield were second best as they travelled up to Wharfedale and were beaten 19-5.

Dean Williams scored the only try for the Blues, while fly-half Tom Barrett kicked 14 points for Wharfedale.

Macclesfield did not get off to the best of starts as Captain and kicker Tom Eaton was forced to leave the field with a groin injury, Matt Rhodes his replacement at fly-half.

Despite the setback, the Blues were able to take an early lead through powerful driving from the forwards. Williams was able to claim the try as he stretched and tapped the ball over the goal line despite being tackled by several players.

Debutant George Drury stepped up to take the conversion, however his attempt was unfortunate enough to bounce off the posts.

The Blues went straight back on the offensive after the restart, and their next best chance came when Frankie Barker switched the ball out to the right wing for Josh Fowles to run and dive across the goal line, however the touch judge deemed him to be out of play and the try was disallowed.

Macclesfield continued to pile on the pressure in the opening 15, as both Matt Rhodes and Tom Cruse came close with chances. Their spell of dominance ended as Wharfedale were able to force a penalty and take back hold of possession.

After 28 minutes the home side were able to add their first points to the score line as Tom Barrett scored a penalty after Blues full-back Matt King was given a yellow.

Fowles then came close to scoring down the right wing as his dive across the goal line was once again deemed to be out of play by the touch judge.

Before half-time Barrett was able to add another two penalties to give the Greens a 9-5 lead going into the break.

The Blues started off the second half with several attacking chances, good runs from Matt King and Ed Stobart gained good field position however the home defence stayed strong and the gaps were not to be found.

The attacking momentum did not last long however, and as the weather deteriorated Wharfedale began to attack with fierce determination; the electric atmosphere at Wharfeside Avenue helping to spur on the Greens to find their first try.

Despite a yellow for prop Mark Tampin after 61 minutes, Wharfeside were able to extend their lead with a Barrett drop goal just five minutes later, and soon after that a penalty try was awarded after a powerful driving maul forced a penalty inches from the goal line.

The conversion sailed through the posts to make the final score 19-5, and even a final yellow in the 75th minute for Wharfedale’s Chris Howick was not enough to impact the game and the match ended with a home victory.

Director of Rugby and Head Coach Geoff Wappett said after the game: “It was very disappointing to lose. The first ten minutes or so were ok, we got into the game and got an early score, but losing Tom Eaton, our kicker and captain, wasn’t good.

“With young George Drury having his first game at scrum-half, he’s got the skills but he needed the assistance from Tom.

“Tom’s torn a muscle in his groin really quite badly, there was no way he could even walk let alone run. It transformed the game when he went off.

“Playing at home makes a heck of a difference and in front a large and noisy crowd Wharfedale are a good team; it’s always been a difficult place for teams to go to.

“After the game, the first thing I said to the players was that it’s not over, they have four games to play, and we have three. We’re above them still because we’ve won more games than them, so it’s not over by any stretch of the imagination.

“Wharfedale have Tynedale away next week, and the way that Tynedale are playing that will be a difficult game. We are at home to Old Albanians, but I suspect that if we roll our sleeves up maybe we can get something out of that game.

“It really will be right down to the wire, it’s a question of not throwing in the towel right up to the very last moment of the season.”

Next week the Blues take on Old Albanians at Priory Park for a 3.00pm kick-off, if you can’t make it down to cheer on the Blues follow the twitter updates throughout the match here:

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