Macclesfield suffered a heavy 62-12 defeat against 2nd-place Esher on Saturday in their first loss in eight games.
First half tries from Tom Cruse and Matt King provided the home side’s only points, as Esher’s full-back Charlie Walker enjoyed a sensational game scoring five tries in the process.
The Blues did not get off to the best of starts as Ed Styles received a yellow for a cynical tackle on Andrew Wright, the resulting penalty scored by Esher fly-half Luke Daniels.
Jack Clifford then scored down by the posts after his diagonal run across the centre found the gaps in Macclesfield’s defence; Daniels converted to give the visitors a 10-0 advantage after ten minutes.
A good run from Frankie Barker that nearly shrugged off several tackles resulted in a penalty for the Blues, however the target was too far for captain Tom Eaton and the score remained the same.
Parkinson then also carried the ball well going forward, however a lack of support meant he was tackled and the ball turned over.
As Styles returned to the field Macclesfield started to enjoy some strong attacking play, their first try coming from Tom Cruse, who received the ball after quick passing from Matt Rhodes and Eaton down the right wing.
The Blues were beginning to put together some impressive attacking displays, as good runs from Matt O’Regan and Matt King helped take Macclesfield up the pitch, whilst solid defending from Barker and Dave Marwick ensured Esher did not have the ball for long when possession switched.
After 27 minutes it was King who had the pace to outrun Esher’s defenders as he stormed down the left wing to score and level the match, Eaton’s conversion from the touchline bringing the score to 12-10 to the home side.
The Blues were not able to hold onto the lead for long however, as rapid full-back Charlie Walker scored his first try after the ball came to him on the right.
Another two tries in four minutes for Walker extended Esher’s lead to 27-12 just before half-time as the no. 15 punished the Blues at the back on quick counters.
Esher took hold of possession as the second half went underway and a forward even crossed the goal line once but a penalty was given and play was brought back for a scrum.
Macclesfield did well to hold on for the first 20 minutes of the second half; Parkinson impressed again going forward, while a short kick over the Esher defence from Eaton was nearly caught by winger Josh Fowles high up the pitch on the right wing.
However, after 60 minutes the floodgates opened and converted tries from Chris Elder, Luke Daniels, and two more for Charlie Walker extended Esher’s lead to 55-12.
The Blues were then penalised at a scrum, leading to prop Gavin Woods receiving a yellow card. One minute later a penalty try was awarded for the same offence and Daniels converted to bring the final score to 12-62.
Director of Rugby and Head Coach Geoff Wappett was disappointed with the score-line: “It obviously wasn’t what we were looking for. They are an extremely good side, but our end product of today was not very good.
“We went 10-0 down quite quickly, but we got two tries back and we were playing well, between ten minutes and 30 minutes we had a golden spell.
“We played how we intended to play, and we tried to keep and dominate the ball, dominate the field position.
“And then ten minutes before half time their full-back punished us, he’s some player. He’s got so much pace and we just couldn’t cope with it.
“In the last 20 minutes our concentration went and all of our bad habits of the past revisited us, it was a game that looked as though we couldn’t get over quick enough, we just wanted it finished.
“What I’ve said to the players is that we need to be playing smart, thinking smart, and when you’re playing high quality games like this that becomes very important.
“We weren’t smart today and we didn’t think clearly enough at certain situations and consequently we paid the price for it, so I want us to be on the ball next week.
“Some of the things we were doing today we were doing really quite well, and against less physical, less quality opposition it will work but we came up short because played against a very physical, strong, young high quality side.”
Next week Macclesfield travel away for their crunch game with Wharfedale, if you can’t make it onto the coach to cheer on the Blues, follow the twitter updates throughout the match here: http://twitter.com/MaccRUFC