Macclesfield Blues 10 – 36 Ampthill

After the disappointing home loss to Blaydon last week, a trip for the Blues’ to second place Ampthill looked daunting, especially after the Midlands’ club were coming off the back off impressive wins against Loughborough and Moseley. But despite defeat, there were signs that Macclesfield are still fighting.

As was the case last week, Macc started the brighter and ultimately drew first blood, having shown strong resilience in defence in the opening minutes, then a line break by lock Francis Barker lead to an early but unsuccessful shot at goal for Lewis Barker who was starting at full back in place of the ill Tom Morton. But the away team managed to peg Ampthill back in their own ‘22, before Aleki Lutui’s lineout throw flew over the flailing jumper straight into the hands of Ryan Parkinson who stormed over for the Blues.

A combination of strong defensive sets, by the Cheshire side, that force mistakes out of their opponents, and the fact that Ampthill generally looked out of sorts, much to the bemusement of the home crowd, meant that if you an onlooker didn’t know any better they might think the team in blue were the second place team in National One. Ampthill were struggling to win their own lineout, not to mention get out of their own half. It wasn’t until the 14th minute when the home side actually broke out through a sniping run by Northampton Saints loanee Alex Mitchell, and from there the hosts managed to turn the territory battle around visiting Macc’s ’22 three times after some soft penalties given away in defence, although it wasn’t until their 4th visit when they managed to take anything away, Mitchell going over in the 27th minute after forwards laid the ground work. This seemed to lift Ampthill temporariliy, as more pressure brought a converted try for Karim Lynch. Macclesfield’s head did not drop though, and enjoyed a strong spell before the referee brought the half to a close (12-5).

Blues Director of Rugby Giles Heagerty must have hoped his side could replicate the momentum they had showed in the first 15 minutes of the game, but would have been disappointed to see impressive flanker Joe Bercis break through the defensive line immediately after the restart, and score. If Giles was disappointed to concede straight after the break, then he must have been fuming, 5 minutes later, to see  Bercis again break tackles and provide one of the moments of the match when threw a blind offload in the tackle to put second row Karl Braband over the try line to secure the bonus point.

Macc were struggling to make much happen in attack by this point and Ampthill were powering over the gainline with increasing frequency but at times they really didn’t need to as the increasing penalty allowed the boys in burgundy and yellow to stay in the visitor’s half.

The referee had his work cut out in this game, as at times it was fairly bad tempered, Thomas Davis handing out multiple warnings for back chat from both sides and breaking up numerous scuffles after the whistle. Eventually, the penalty count pegged Macc back in their on ’22 a couple of times too many with lock, and former Tongan international Hehea going over twice from set piece platforms.

So, game over? Done and dusted? Well, maybe as far as Ampthill were concerned but it was at this point something interesting occurred. The Blues had lost scrum half Nick Allsop to a suspected broken wrist in the first half and number 10 Tom Eaton had filled his Allsop’s position and full back Barker, who is returning from long term injury having been highly impressive in last year’s National 2 Title winning season , slotted in at fly half. He hadn’t had much ball to work with since the break but what Macclesfield produced in those last 10 minutes cannot be described as anything other than swashbuckling rugby. The pace, intensity and frequency of ball movement has not been this high at any point this season, since the home win against Fylde in week 2, and Barker was at the centre of everything. Playing from everywhere, the boys in blue, or black and grey as is the Priory Park Club’s away kit, were finishing strong and replacement hooker Paul Millea’s 74th line break lead to Lewis Winterbottom scoring in the corner.

If Macc can replicate the first 5 and last 15 minutes of this game, their may just be light at the end of the tunnel, the sobering thought will be the fact no points were collected again.

Tries:– Mitchell (27), Lynch (35), Bercis (41), Braband (47), Hehea (61, 66)
Conversions:- Tarrant (36, 42, 48)

 Tries:– Parkinson (8), Winterbottom (74)

Half Time:– Ampthill 12 Macclesfield 5
Man of the Match:- Joe Bercis
Referee:- Thomas Davis
Attendance:- 323


👏11 players 1 coach & TR from Macc involved in the final at HQ! 8 of the lads have come from our Mini & Youth section 💥The County XV to take on Oxfordshire at Twickenham Stadium tomorrow!All are welcome to travel to HQ to support the lads, and if that's not possible, it will be livestreamed on England Rugby Youtube! 📺 I’m sure you will join us in wishing the Macc lads and the Cheshire RFU squad all the best 👏👏🏆#macclesfield #local #community #rugby #CountyRugby #cheshire #maccrugby ... See MoreSee Less
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🗣️Another 2 class acts are in for 24/25 🏉Danny has been a growing talent for the past few seasons and is now ready to fire into National League Rugby! 💥 All rounder Phil Laing is absolutely brilliant wherever he plays, a true club man and he’s ready to go! 💪Danny is kindly sponsored by the Mayfield’s 🙏Phil is open to sponsor 📧 #macclesfield #local #community #rugby #oneclub #maccrugby National League Rugby ... See MoreSee Less
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We still have places left for teams to get involved 🔗BOOK NOW:👀💰 £600 Prize for the Men’s Open & £250 for the women’s 7s winners! 🤩🥇🏆Don’t miss a great day of Rugby 🏉 & sport including our new 5 a side football ⚽️ offer! Also Lacrosse🥍 will be full swing on the Saturday for anyone interested in seeing what it’s all about! #rugby #rugbysevens #rugby7s #cashprizes #WalkingRugby #womensrugby #communityrugby #football #lacrosse #Macclesfield #cheshire #rugbyclub #camping ... See MoreSee Less
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The End of Season Awards were presented at the End of Season Ball 2024 - a fantastic evening celebrating the end of a successful season which saw the 1st XV crowned champions of Premier North and promoted to National League Rugby 2 West. Our Macclesfield Womens Rugby XV went (virtually) undefeated and will now move into their first league from the 24/25 season and the 2nd / 3rd Xv celebrated their league achievements too! With thanks to all who attended - and all our supporters and sponsors throughout the year. The event was held in aid of the Cardiac Risk in the Young - Onwards we go into the 150th year for the Club and bring on season 2024/25!!!Full list of winners below!Chairman’s Player of the Season 23/24 - Tom Burden 1stXV Players Player 23/24 - Harry Blackwell 1stXV Coaches Player 23/24 - Harry Blackwell 1stXV Most Improved 23/24 - Tom Jennings 2ndXV Players Player 23/24 - Ted Broadley2ndXV Coaches Player 23/24 - Hector Tomlinson 2ndXV Most Improved 23/24 - Carl Droy 2ndXV Young Player 23/24 - Haydn Keogh 3rdXV Players Player 23/24 - Mathew Price3rdXV Most Improved 23/24 - Rupert Dixon 3rdXV Captains Player 23/24 - Mike Dale Women’s Players Player 23/24 - Tiegan Shaw Women’s Players Player 23/24 - Liz JarrattWomen’s Coaches Player 23/24 - Julia Ashford Women’s Most Improved 23/24 - Annie James Bert Ashley tankard 23/24 - Mel BramleyWomen’s Best Newcomer 23/24 - Chloe Newbigging ... See MoreSee Less
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🗣️Welcome to the club Dan Leake, the ex Rotherham Titans & Sale FC winger will be aiming to pile up the points from September. 📈The club wishes you all the best Dan!👍👏💥Become Dan’s sponsor and get a shout out every time he scores or is mentioned on our feeds. 📧 #welcome #macclesfield #community #rugby #oneclub #newsigning #newkidintown #support #sponsorship #opportunity ... See MoreSee Less
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