Macclesfield 4’s 22 – 0 Crewe & Nantwich 3’s

For the second consecutive week Macc 4ths reversed the result of the first round of matches this season with a shut-out of Crewe & Nantwich 3rds 22-0. This win means that since their loss to Lymm on the 12th October, Macc have won 6, drawn 1 and lost 1 by a single point away to Broughton Park. The confidence among the team is justifiably buoyant as they take the Christmas break.

On a very blustery day with a strong diagonal wind and facing the slope in the first half Macc began well. In addition to the usually powerful forward pack the Macc backline held their passes and put together several penetrating runs. Although the Crewe & Nantwich team seemed intent upon running the ball in the backs, all too frequently the ball was spilled and this resulted in Macc being able to stop any real momentum being gained by the opposition. As usual the Macc forwards were dominating the set piece and regularly created the attacking platform for the back row to attack deep into Crewe & Nantwich territorry.  It was from a position just inside the Crewe & Nantwich half that Macc won the ball, passed the ball in a well worked move out to the left where the backrow were up in support to drive the attack home and Streety fought his way over for the first score of the game.  Tony Amos duly added the conversion.  The conditions were difficult but Andy Foster playing his usual nuggety game at scrum half made sure that the team was kept going forward and brought the backline into play to drive home the attack.
As the game progressed it became clear that if Macc were able to cross the gainline and get behind the Crewe & Nantwich forwards that there was little resistance and so Macc worked hard to drive Crewe & Nantwich back to capitalise upon this. Despite the blowy conditions, Tom Bamberger and Harley, two senior colts playing in the centre consistently made ground.  Tom has demonstrated many times this season that despite his slim and wiry frame his strength and skill consistently enables him to break several tackles before he is stopped. It was obvious that during the first half Macc were able to adapt to the conditions and play attacking rugby.  A second back-row try was scored after about 20 minutes when Rob McCloud broke through from a good move up the right and touched down.  Amos missed the conversion. Not long before the half-time break, from a position close to the Crewe & Nantwich 22, Streety forced his way over for his second try.  Tony Amos succeeded with the conversion to take the half time score to 19-0.
At half time Skipper Walker made changes to rotate the squad, including replacing Nick Cooke in the second row with his dad Bob (you won’t read that in many match reports!). In the second half Macc maintained the pressure they had exerted in the first half, and although both Ryan Brown and Tom Bamberger came very close to scoring it was proving difficult to turn the superiority into hard points. In the scrum Macc had a formidable front row, with Skipper Walker, Matt Harding and Boz resisting any efforts from Crewe & Nantwich to drive Macc backwards in the scrummages.
Since Rufus fell off his bike a couple of weeks ago, Matt has been deputising at hooker, rather than in his usual position at prop and despite Macc suffering several accidental losses against the head, Crewe & Nantwich were unable to take advantage. The frustration began to tell on the Crewe & Nantwich front row and handbags threatened to break out before matters calmed and the match continued. Although unable to use the wind to their advantage in the second half Macc were continuously camped in the Crewe & Nantwich half and Macc were unable to score the further tries that their dominance merited, but their pressure eventually resulted in a penalty that Tony Amos stroked over to take the final score to 22-0.

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