Macclesfield were denied a losing bonus point after a impressive performance by a heroic second half comeback from a Coventry side who fought back from 13-3 down to win 13-21.
The first points of the afternoon went to Macclesfield as debutant Sam Marland, on loan from the Cornish Pirates kicked a penalty.
Coventry responded five minutes later with a penalty of their own kicked by captain Cliff Hodgson who scored the first points of his 16 point haul for the afternoon.
For the first time this season The Blues were able to establish a platform and dominate at the scrum, this provided clean ball and produced penalties on a number of occasions in the first half, debutant Marshall Gadd having a real influence at loose head.
It was a Macclesfield scrum that helped to produce The Blues’ first try of the half, the pack built good pressure which allowed scrum half and vice-captain Jordan Brookes the room to sneak blind and get over the line out wide, Marland only just missing the conversion from out wide.
With the penalty count adding up for Macclesfield it was only so long before the referee reached to his pocket, Jordan Onojaife the unlucky man for the visitors as he was penalised at the breakdown.
As the half hour mark passed, Macclesfield claimed their second try. Again dominance at the scrum creating space on the blindside for Brookes, who put Josh Fowles into a hole, Fowles finished superbly in the corner. Marland was again left with a tricky kick and just missed out, 13-3.
Shortly after the second Blues score, Coventry were shown their second yellow card of the half and were down to 13 men for a brief spell. However they saw this tough period out with some astute defensive work.
Coventry were awarded for their strong defensive work with a penalty on the stroke of half time. Hodgson slotted the kick and sent his side in at the break seven points down. There should have been more points on the board at half time but fantastic defending from both sides kept the score down.
It took 20 minutes of the second half for the first points to be scored and for Coventry to break through the host’s defence. With a penalty advantage, fly half Jones chipped in behind for winger Dom Lespierre to pounce on. Hodgson converted to level the scores, 13-13.
Coventry took the lead immediately after their first try, with another. The visitors counter attacked swiftly and Hodgson found some space to finish out wide, this time to wide for his perfect kicking display, 13-18.
Both teams coughed up ball as the game became a little scrappy. Coventry enjoying spells of possession but the pace of the Macclesfield backline was forever causing the away side problems on the counter attack, notably through debutant Sam James, and regulars Elliot Brierley and Matt King.
With a minute to play, Macclesfield gave away a penalty deep in their own 22, Coventry cruelly opted for the three points, Hodgson duly delivered and denied The Blues their first point of the season.
However, there was still drama left in this fantastic game of rugby as Macclesfield missed late opportunities for three points. Firstly from the kicking tee as Sam Marland pushed his kick wide of the far post, then a missed drop goal attempt from Marland completed the match and meant Macclesfield are still in search for their first points.
The Blues will take a lot from Saturday’s performance and will hope this will really kickstart their season. The Blues travel to Blackheath next weekend as they look to begin the climb up National One.
The Blues Line Up
15 Sam Marland
14 Matt King
13 Elliot Brierley
12 Sam James
11 Josh Fowles
10 Tom Eaton
9 Jordan Brookes
1 Marshall Gadd
2 Sam Moss
3 Elliot Millar-Mills
4 Dave Marwick
5 Olly Macauley
6 Max Smith
7 Phil Williams
8 Mike Finnemore (c)
16 Ryan Jackson
17 Shane Heffernan
18 Jonny Kenny
19 Matt Thorp
20 Greg Newton