Macclesfield Rugby Club started their 2012-2013 campaign in the National League One with high aspirations after finishing sixth last year, however with the departure of several key players, and a bout of serious injuries, Macclesfield struggled to get off the ground running.
Four losses out of five in September left the Blues stuck near the bottom of the table, and things went from bad to worse as they lost their next three games; one of them a devastating loss against Loughborough Park at home who came from behind in the last minute to steal a win.
Macclesfield won another three games in 2012 against Tynedale, Wharfedale and Blackheath, making it four wins out of 15 as the first half of the season came to a close.
With the gap to safety growing more and more out of reach, the Blues needed to turn things around and start climbing back up the table.
Losses against high-flying London clubs Ealing Trailfinders and Rosslyn Park were the only poor results, as Macclesfield won 35-24 against Cinderford in January, and then went on a seven game winning streak in February and March to improve their chances of staying in league one next year.
Three losses and a 24-24 draw against Blaydon in April put the pressure on Macclesfield and Wharfedale, who went into the final weekend of the season with 14th place still undecided.
The Blues were able to pull off a narrow 29-28 win against Fylde at Priory Park; however Wharfedale’s five-point victory over Cambridge meant that they were the ones to stay up and Macclesfield were relegated to the National League Two North alongside local rivals Sedgley Park.
While Macclesfield managed to secure the same amount of wins as 8th, 9th and 10th place, the lack of bonus points seriously harmed the Blues efforts of securing safety with too many three-try games throughout the season.
While the team’s bad luck with injuries became the talking point in the first few months of the season, it also gave Macclesfield’s new signings the chance to jump straight into the starting line-up.
Matt Rhodes made scrum-half his own position for the entire campaign as he rarely missed a game, while Elliot Brierley became un-droppable as he became Macclesfield’s top try-scorer this season with ten tries. Dave Marwick, Tom Cruse and youngster Mike Finnemore also impressed for the Blues throughout the season after arriving in August.
Winger Matt King enjoyed an outstanding first season in the first team after making the jump from the second’s half-way through the season, and Ryan Parkinson proved how significant he was with match-winning performances whenever he was fit and available.
Fly-half Tom Eaton proved to be an influential figure as he captained his first season, and will be hoping his side can bounce straight back up as they challenge for promotion next year.
Macclesfield’s second team enjoyed success in their league as they dominated and finished top, overcoming rivals Preston Grasshoppers who finished in second place.