Macclesfield Rugby Club find themselves bottom of National 1 at Christmas, but by no means out of the fight after a 21-12 defeat at the hands of North-West rivals Fylde.
The Blues suffered a nightmare first 40 minutes at Fylde’s Woodlands home – three converted tries saw Giles Heagerty’s men go in at the break 21-0 down. The scores were not all through the hosts’ domination of Macc though, their second try came off the back of some heavy pressure but full-back Warren Spragg intercepted a Tom Eaton pass to stride clear and finish.
After some strong words from Heagerty and his coaching staff at the break, Macclesfield came out looking for a reaction and to turn the game around.
That’s exactly what they set about doing. Josh Redfern got the crucial first score in the second period, and Eaton added the conversion to make it 21-7.
The next score also came Macclesfield’s way and a comeback looked on the cards. Fylde found themselves reduced to 14-men and Redfern took advantage to again cross the whitewash and dot down, 21-12.
Macc’s scoring would finish there though, and they would find themselves defending astutely for the majority of the remainder of the match despite Elliot Brierley’s yellow card.
After the match, Heagerty was rightfully frustrated with his side’s poor first-half showing, which ultimately cost his side the match.
“We allowed Fylde to dictate too much of the game in the opening 20 minutes,” explained Heagerty
“Once we got ourselves into the game, we were just too impatient. We were banging on the door when we threw the interception pass for their second, and turned the ball over a couple of times in good positions.
“There were strong words at the break, but they were necessary. And it brought a reaction from the players. We got two quick scores but then made silly errors and gave away penalties to allow Fylde back into the game – that meant it was game over. We selected a side to execute a specific game plan. But it shouldn’t take 40 minutes of playing plus half-time to respond in a way that’s needed. We can’t give sides a head start like that at this level.
We’ve been the masters of our own downfall again. The first-half against Fylde sums up our season so far. We’ve played some good rugby in parts but defensively let ourselves down. I’m confident in my players to respond in the right way, we just need them to be more consistent. We’re more than capable of achieving our goals.”
15 Warren Spragg; 14 James Bailey, 13 Scott Armstrong, 12 Chris Briers (c), 11 Oli Brennand; 10 Greg Smith, 9 Greg Nicholls; 1 Jake Pope, 2 Tom Burtonwood, 3 Adam Lewis, 4 Nick Gray, 5 George Nott, 6 Jack Turley, 7 Ben Vernon, 8 Matt Rogerson.
16 Jonny Wild, 17 Alex Loney, 18 Paul Arnold, 19 Matt Lamprey, 20 Connor Dever.
15 Sam Broster; 14 Lewis Winterbottom, 13 Elliot Brierley, 12 Max Smith, 11 Myles Hall; 10 Tom Eaton, 9 Jordan Brookes; 1 Tom Mantell, 2 Sam Moss, 3 Billy Robinson, 4 Oliver Parkinson, 5 Dave Marwick, 6 Josh Redfern, 7 Nyle Davidson, 8 Ryan Parkinson (c).
16 PJ Millea, 17 Elliott Millar-Mills, 18 Mike Finnemore, 19 Joe Palmer, 20 Nick Allsop.