Macclesfield Blues secured that all important bonus point win to retain their place at the top of National 2 North thanks to hat-tricks from winger Ed Stobart and the league’s top try scorer Ryan Parkinson and also a brace from Elliot Brierley. The Blues knew they had to make playing in front of the Priory Park crowd count to keep the dream of winning the league a realistic possibility. The Blues had the bonus point secured after 26 minutes in a first half that saw them score 5 tries. The visitors, Otley played a big role in a exciting spectacle for all watching. The game finished 48-21 and kept Macclesfield top. So just how pleased was Director of Rugby Geoff Wappett with the result?
How do you feel the game went, just how good was that performance?
“I thought we played some really good stuff; we have a knack of being able to play some extraordinarily good stuff and some extraordinarily poor. Fortunately whilst we were playing some good stuff we also scored points. To be fair to the players we had the bonus point after about 25 minutes. So if you have the bonus point after 25 minutes you have pretty much got all you came for, I’m not saying the rest of the game is pointless but it loses a little bit of its adrenaline. There is no doubt about it we lost a little bit of our drive. We were casual, a little bit too casual in the second half when we should’ve tightened up and done a better job. But when we are good we are very good. I’m pleased because we’re scoring tries and we’ve scored more tries than anyone in the national leagues. And you can see with 8 today, it’s not a bad return.”
How much of a relief was it to get the bonus point?
“Without sounding too immodest, I was expecting to get it, it wasn’t a surprise. I was pleased we did it, it takes away any anxiety from the rest of the game then but it can come and bite you in the bottom if it takes the edge off of your game.”
After an impressive first half do you feel the lads took their foot off the gas?
“We lost a bit of concentration, and we conceded an enormous amount of penalties, the penalty count finished at 21 penalties to 4, which is a remarkable total considering we were the victors of the match and we can’t repeat that again. Normally a team conceding lots of penalties are the team fighting to get the ball. That made it a lot more difficult for us. We were giving ball away and lost it a few times in contact. It could’ve been a big total but as it was Otley stuck to their guns and kept going.”
With two hat tricks scored, how impressed were you with the performance of Ryan Parkinson and Ed Stobart?
“The way our team is set up to play, I know Ryan is going to score tries and consequently Ed also got three, all tries need to be scored, someone needs to touch them down, a call must be made the players must have composure and motive to do things at the right time. I set Ryan a target of 30 tries at the beginning of the season which is a massive amount for any player, especially a back row forward. But the way set things up it is possible for back row to score high amounts of tries, I have had back row forwards here before who have got a lot of tries because of the way we play but Ryan has been very impressive. And Ed’s finishing has improved enormously, but there were still chances he could’ve finished so he can’t rest of his Loral’s he has to keep sharp and not think three is enough!”
How do you think this win sets you up for the run in now? Just four games to go!
“We’re doing it in a set of three. We’ve got three games until the Easter weekend off. We have two on the road and one at home. If you look at it logically, all of these three are games we should win; we’ve beaten those three sides well. Caldy, we beat by 50 points at home. Luctonians we beat them by 69 away. And Preston, we also beat them. Those three, we should win. But logic and sport don’t always go together. Strange things can happen, we have to make sure we prepare properly by doing the necessary preliminary work and not get up our own bottoms! It’s not just a question of beating them; we need to be looking to get five points to keep the pressure on our two immediate opponents. Then we have a weekend off, then we will come back, and continue our preparations for Darlington. It would be nice if we could go up to Darlington with the league already won but I don’t think that is going to happen. The Darlington vs Stourbridge (next weekend) will play a very interesting part of the final run in. there is still lots to play for and still an opportunity to mess it up, just like there is an opportunity to lay down a great foundation. You’re in the home straight and you can still trip over your own shoe laces if you’re not careful. I’ve been around a long time and I will be doing all I can to ensure we do not slip up.”