Macc 4ths returned to league action on Saturday after a break of several weeks of cup action and postponements because of the weather, with a fine win against Trafford Metrovic at Priory Park. Although it was a fine afternoon the sometimes treacherous wind was to play its part in the scoring for both sides. Macc began strongly and in the early exchanges showed the forward power that has stood them in good stead this season, but also made good ground when the ball was moved along the backline as Trafford usually opted to play the ball close in, with little ball making out to their centres, suiting the Macc tactics.
Within five minutes though Macc were behind to a penalty goal scored by the Trafford fly-half into the wind, and who showed himself to be an accurate and dangerous kicker throughout the match. Macc nearly scored shortly after the restart, but were unable to get across the line. Another infringement within range of the Macc posts allowed the Trafford kicker to double the score with a further penalty to take the score to 0-6 with only 10 minutes gone. This woke Macc up and they were soon driving hard into Trafford territory, and with quick ball from both set scrums and rucks were able to make good progress into the Trafford half. Dom McCarthy, playing in the centre having several rumbustious charges up the middle. Cooke minimus had his best game of the season as he also made several penetrating runs coming in off his wing. The forwards, with Boz and Rob McCloud prominent repeatedly drove forward into Trafford and kept Macc on the front foot. The pressure was now exerted from Macc and it resulted in a try from a lineout by Elliot Lee, converted by Foster minimus to give Macc a lead that they never surrendered 7-6. Cooke maximus was then replaced by Kevin Wright at No 8. Five minutes later Bamberger scored Macc second try, again converted by Foster minimus who made an effective halfback pairing with his father Foster maximus at scrum half. This made the score 14-6 to Macc.
Before the half hour Trafford had two more penalty attempts, but the wind made it difficult for the Trafford kicker to gain much distance. The first was missed, but the second awarded for a high tackle was successfully converted to take the score to 14 -9. This conversion also resulted in Dom McCarthy cooling his heels on the touchline for 10 minutes for gross insubordination to the referee by laughing! Shortly after the successful Trafford penalty Macc were awarded a penalty opportunity but unfortunately the kick went wide. Not long afterwards Macc scored a fine try from 40 yards after a simple overlap was created from ruck ball that was passed through hands until it reached Cooke minimus on the left wing who scored his first try of the season to increase Macc lead to 19-9. The try was not converted. The final score of the first half, and Macc’s final score of the match came from a penalty goal from Foster minimus, who had clearly been studying Owen Farrell, as he booted over a monster kick from the half way line. The wind might have helped a bit! Despite being one man down Macc had added 8 points.
The half time score was 22-9 to Macc.
In the second half play was very stop start, with the referee’s interpretation at the breakdown causing difficulties for both sides, but the penalty count was in Trafford’s favour. In the lineouts neither side gained regular clean possession and the put in was no guarantee of being able to create a platform. Early in the second half, shortly after McCarthy had returned to the field, Cheeky Walker, the wily flanker dislocated his shoulder and left the field en route to A&E. Trafford made good use of the wind in their favour by regularly kicking deep into the Macc half. The Macc defence held Trafford out well in these situations, but Trafford did eventually make it across the line for a converted try to take the score to 22-16. The difficulties experienced at the breakdown also saw Boz yellow carded, his first since 2013, for interfering with play on the ground. Trafford scored a further penalty goal to close the score to 22-19 but were unable to get the next score that might have given them the draw or win. Despite not scoring in the second half Macc held on to win the match 22-19.
During the season so far Macc have beaten every side at least once, with a single exception. Macc now lie fourth in the league on points difference from Trafford Metrovic but Macc have a game in hand.