End of season review – 4th team

By any standards Macc 4ths have had a successful season, finishing a creditable 3rd place in the league. But it did not always look that way as Macc 4ths lost their first five matches until the 12th October. The high scoring loss away to Lymm 57 – 32 marked a damascene change as Macc went on to lose only one more match in the league all season! Even that match away to Broughton Park 5ths on the 23rd November was only lost by a solitary point!  There were several memorable matches; including playing away at Trafford Metrovic in a biblical thunder and lightening storm when the referee issued no less than five yellow cards! The return match against Lymm at Priory Park was one of the best all round performances as Macc proceeded to avenge their previous loss by winning 53 – 12. However the match that probably gave the team the greatest satisfaction was beating the Gentlemen of Moore 25 – 7 at Priory Park when Moore were already talking of winning the league and gaining promotion.  The fact is they achieved their promotion in second place, but scored just one league point more than Macc.

In the Cup Macc finally lost in the 3rd round away to West Park St Helens 3rds 30 – 20. The home second round tie won 47 – 12 at Priory Park against Crewe & Nantwich 3rds was memorable for what was probably the largest pack of forwards fielded during the season, and Macc pack size tends to follow the 1st team example of being big anyway! 
The 4ths are the social rugby team of the club and as such field a regularly changing group of players, some of whom play every week whilst others play as their choice or availability allows. During the season Skipper Jason Walker has been able to call upon a group of talented players many of whom have many years experience of both the club and the game often at a higher level .  Nevertheless it has been satisfying to see the influx of some younger players during the season from the Colts and elsewhere to keep the often more mature players on their toes.  One such player is Tom Bamberger, who has been a stalwart and regular player for the 4ths this season who as well as achieving the accolade of Players Player of the Year, has regularly turned out for the Colts as well.  Tom’s slim build belies his strength and ability to beat several opponents and has been a welcome addition to the team. Other Colts appearing during the season included Dan Goltman, Harley and Foster Minimus son of Fozzy. Another young player to make an impact this season has been Ryan Brown whose performances on the wing has seen him receive the well deserved the Most Improved Player Award for the season.  At the other end of the scale, Bob Cooke played his last game for the team two days after he was 60. Matt Harding continues to be the cornerstone of the pack at tighthead and is still roaming the wide-open spaces all over the park each week.  Boz was clearly striving for a different record this season and his achievement of the most yellow cards in a season will take some beating.  He did manage a lengthy period in the middle months of the season without “seeing yellow”, but reverted to type as the season wore on!  Two of our forwards figured among the wounded this season.  Danny McDonald suffered a nasty broken ankle before Christmas and Cheeky Walker dislocated his shoulder in March.  We wish them both a speedy recovery.
Macc 4ths are able to call upon some powerful forwards and during the season Streety, Boz, Elliot Lee, Matt Harding, Rob McCloud, Fergus Green, Kevin Wright and Tim Peakman have all made sure that the Macc team is driving forwards and creating the platform for the half-backs and threequarters to play with. This forward strength has formed the basis of the teams success this season, but the evergreen Fozzy at scrum-half coupled with the mercurial Tony Amos at flyhalf has been a combination that has successfully linked the forwards to the fast-boys outside.  The degree to which they can be described as fast-boys varied upon Jason Walkers ability to get the fast ones onto the park each week! Mark Marshall (Marshy!) made a welcome return after an eight or nine year lay-off, and won his £1 bet with Rob Oliver over who would make the most appearances this season! Smithy was somewhat less voluble this season despite turning out regularly in a number of positions across the backline. On the basis that it can’t last we are all looking forward to normal service being resumed in September. Matt Bowden scored a hat-trick against Lymm, while Nick Cooke scored his first try ever against Trafford Metrovic. 
All in all a great season when the spirit was good, the team were consistently winning and the characters made sure that everyone enjoyed their time with Macc 4ths – unless of course you were an opponent!  There has been little talk of retirement so next season will see the overwhelming majority of the team look forward to repeating their success on the field of 2013 – 2014.

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