So now we’ve got the fixture list, Macclesfield Blues know exactly who they’ll be facing in this season’s National League 2 North competition. It’s good to see some old faces: teams against which we’ve had our battles in the past. It’s also good to see some new blood in the division too: teams like Sale FC and Huddersfield. No team should be underestimated in this league, however, whether they’re new to the division or not. Every game will be close, and no doubt the season will go down to the wire.
So what can Macclesfield Blues expect from the coming season? Will it be another all-conquering year this time round too, just as it was in 2013/14? Well, a run of results like that will definitely be difficult to repeat. We may have won 26 games and drawn 1 with only 3 loses throughout the course of the year, but standards are improving all the time so it’s unlikely history will repeat itself. That’s not to say that we can’t keep our fingers crossed and hope it does for once.
So which local rivalries are set to be renewed this season? Well, the Blues will be playing Cheshire rivals, Caldy. Macclesfield won both of their fixtures when the teams last met: 52-15 and 47-29 respectively. Hopefully the Blues will have enough strength in depth to do the same again.
Games against Preston Grasshoppers are never easy. Preston are a hard team to play against as they put lots of pressure on the opposition and never give up. Last time the teams met the Blues were made to work hard for their 25-3 victory, only finally opening up in the last quarter. The reverse fixture saw the Blues run out 28-17 victors, though that too was a closely contested affair.
Games against Sedgley Park often have an edge to them. There’s always intensity and spirit, and the Blues will know that they’ve been in a game regardless of the outcome. Sedgley were one of the few teams to beat Macclesfield when they last met in National 2, edging out the Blues 23 points to 19 at Park Lane. Honour was restored in the reverse fixture, but the Blues were still made to work hard for their 37-21 victory. Expect more of the same this time round.
Macclesfield have had some tough matches against Chester, but have always seemed to have the edge over their local rivals. Last time round the Blues won both fixtures narrowly beating Chester 15-14 earlier in the season, before coming away with a more comfortable victory 30-6 when the teams met at Priory Park. Chester will nevertheless still believe they have the beating of the Blues and will come expecting to take away points.
But what about the other bigger hitters in National League 2 North this season? What can the Blues expect from them? Well Stourbridge will certainly present a challenge. They’re a good team and will no doubt have recruited well. Macclesfield Blues just about had the edge in the championship-winning season, winning 19 points to 16 away, though Stourbridge did manage to force a draw at Priory Park.
Tynedale will also renew rivalries with Macclesfield once again this season having suffered relegation like the Blues. In last year’s National League 1 competition the honours were even. Macclesfield claimed their first win of the season against Tynedale 20 -22, though they suffered a heavy loss 60-20 in the reverse fixture. These matches will be challenging and Macclesfield Blues will have to be on their mettle if they’re to get anything out of Tynedale.
So can the Blues emerge triumphant from National League 2 North and immediately bounce back into National League1? Well, hopefully, but it’s not going to be easy. Far from it: it will be a battle. If they’re going to reclaim their place in the higher echelons of English rugby they’ll need to be at their best, and they’ll need our support too.
So, see you in September.