As we move into the New Year, Macclesfield find themselves sitting pretty at the top of National Two North.
Last year the Blues were relegated from National One on the final day of the season. According to captain Tom Eaton, the experience the team gained in that league is one of the reasons they’ve been so successful so far this year.
“I think we have performed well collectively this year, there have been no individuals, there have just been consistently good performances throughout the side.
“We’ve got a lot of experience from higher leagues and I think that has served us well so far,” explained Eaton.
The season has been almost perfect for the Blues, but there has been one slip up. In November Macclesfield suffered their only defeat of the season so far, going down 17 – 32 to Birmingham Solihull.
“The Birmingham and Sheffield games were particularly disappointing so we will be working hard to avoid any repeats of those.
“It was a blow to lose in the manner that we did against Birmingham so I am pleased we bounced back and be more consistent since,” added the captain.
“Of course I’m very pleased to top the league but I’m still unhappy about any of the points we have dropped.”
The biggest win of the season so far came away in Herefordshire when the Blues dismantled Luctonians, running in 11 tries and winning 10 – 69. However, Eaton picked out a few different performances that he was impressed with.
“I think our best 80 minutes was against Luctonians but I’m not sure we have been much better than that first 20 minutes against Darlington.
“No one has come close to doing what we did to them since,” he added.
“Also our win over Sedgley Park at their place gets better and better after seeing how well they have done since.”
The league leaders have had more than their fair share of injuries and have still managed to keep on winning. The Christmas break was well timed from a Blues point of view and allows the players to recover after 16 straight weeks of playing.
Eaton believes that if they can avoid more injuries in 2014 then their chances of promotion are significantly enhanced.
“Injuries will become very important over the next part of the season, if we keep the right people on the field that will make a big difference.
“Attitude will inevitably dictate if we keep winning or not, if we are focused and hungry enough we will get what we deserve,” said Eaton.
January is a big month for Macclesfield, they welcome Sedgley and Chester to Priory Park, both are big games against the teams that are fourth and fifth in the league. However, according to the captain, every game is a big game and a slip up is only one bad performance away.
“The games against Sedgley and Chester will be good as we know they will be gunning for us so we will have to be up for the fight.
“But every Saturday is the next biggest challenge as one defeat could see us knocked off the top and Sheffield showed us that that can happen against any side.
“We will be doing everything we can to make sure it doesn’t,” he insisted.
The Blues are going to face many challenges in the New Year, when you’re top of the league there is a target on your back and everyone is desperate to beat you. But Eaton insists that his side will have to concentrate on themselves.
“The biggest challenge is against ourselves this season, If we turn up and perform to the levels we can, and should do, we will get 5 points every week. It shouldn’t matter who we play.”