Macclesfield welcomed Ellesmere Port to Priory Park on a warm, sunny Mothers Day for the Cheshire Cup semi final.
From the kick off Macclesfield were put under early pressure from a number of Ellesmere Port high balls. Despite a passage of nervous Macclesfield play, we were awarded a penalty which was well executed by James Scott, giving us an early 3 -0 lead.
From this point Ellesmere Port began to put together some good moves in their backs and after a good passage of play went over to score a try, which was converted.
EP continued to dominate in most areas and were soon rewarded with a penalty which their fly half put through the posts to take a 3 – 10 lead.
Macclesfield continued to be pressed hard and put up a very solid defence, with some excellent tacking by the forwards, in particular Ben Tatton. Cracks did start to appear and EP ran in two further tries, one converted which took to score at half time to 3 – 20.
This team has never been beaten by such a score let alone faced such a large half time deficit so the next 30 minutes was going to tremendous test of character for such a group of talented players.
After a rousing team talk, Macclesfield returned to the field with a new resolve and began the fight back. Some tactical changes at half time showed early promise and after absorbing some initial pressure from Ellesmere Port, Macclesfield started to play with some passages of controlled rugby which eventually lead to breakaway by Jamie Dunkerley, who went ran through a couple of lines of defence, popped the ball up to Charlie Pozniak, who went over to score a try, which was converted by James Scott. The score was now looking better, at 10 – 20.
There was now much more belief across the team and Macclesfield began to dominate the game. With 12 minutes of play left encouragement came from all quarters and after a couple of passages of good play, Jamie Dunkerley went down the wing and scored in the corner. Conversation made, the score was now 17 – 20.
The crowd, coaches, substitutes and other on looking age groups raised the volume level and this inspired the team to push that bit further and after a tense final passage of play, Jamie Dunkerley made a break down the wing, drawing a tackle from the oncoming defender and passed to James Scott, who went over to score a try, which gave us the lead. As James lined up his conversation, the ref shouted final play, he hit the post. Final score 22-20.
It would have been very easy for the lads to give up at half time as nothing we tried came off against a very determined Ellesmere Port team. To a man they didn’t give up and this very talented group of players dug deep to pull of one of the most spectacular victories.
A massive thanks to the supporters and the referee for their part played in the game and we look forward the final on 4th May.