Ryan Parkinson and Ed Stobart fire as Macclesfield run out 32 – 17 victors against Leicester Lions and blustery Priory Park.
The Lions took the lead in the opening minutes through a Jonathan Boden penalty, but it didn’t last long. A flurry of penalties conceded by the visitors gave Macclesfield great field position that they took advantage of. Parkinson was at the back of a rumbling maul on the six-minute mark and there was no stopping it, the Blues took the lead.
Chris Jones came on as a blood replacement mid way through the first half and his first action was to dive over from close range to extend the hosts’ lead. With ten minutes left in the first half, the Lions finally managed to string some phases together and worked it down into the Macclesfield 22. In the end it was Thomas Morris rumbled to the line and the visitors drew level at 10 – 10.
A quick brace of tries from speedster Ed Stobart put Macclesfield back in the driving seat. He had Tom Eaton and Elliot Brierley to thank for his first, they showed good hands to put him in space and Stobart did the rest. The second was a set piece move from 30 metres out, Stobart picked a lovely line and sliced right through the middle of the defence for a clear run to the line.
For all the territory and possession the hosts’ had enjoyed they could have been further ahead, but the conditions made it almost impossible to play expansive rugby, the scores at half time were 22 – 10.
The weather worsened in the second half, which made it difficult for the players, the Blues were put under a bit of pressure and had to defend their line well. Referee Will Halford got slightly happy on his whistle, which made for a staccato second half.
The crowd had to wait until the 70th minute for the next score. It went to Leicester, another unstoppable driving maul got them to within 5 points. But when they failed to regain the restart, the Blues pounced and killed the game off.
Parkinson’s second try eased the pressure, he was again at the tail of a driving maul to pick up his 23rd try of the campaign. Elliot Brierley raced away to mark his return to the starting 15 with a try and round off a successful day for the Blues.
League leaders Darlington Mowden Park won with a bonus point again against Preston at the weekend. The Blues now sit five points behind them but do have a game in hand thanks to last weeks’ postponed game against Harrogate. Stourbridge failed to pick up the bonus point on Saturday and are now just two points ahead of Macclesfield.