Macclesfield Blues may have come away from Ampthill without any reward, but the performance they put in, particularly at the start and towards the end of the game, was very encouraging indeed. In fact, Head Coach, Giles Heagerty, was purring after witnessing a blistering 12-minute spell of fine running rugby in the latter stages of the game. He believes this shows that the future for Macclesfield Rugby Club is very bright indeed. But what are the Blues expecting when Cambridge visit Priory Park this weekend? Will Macclesfield Blues have enough firepower to overturn the narrow defeat they experienced early on this season? Here’s what Giles had to say.
Even though the Blues ultimately lost the game, were you pleased none the less by the way the team performed early on in the first half and later on in the second half?
“I was actually very encouraged by the first 30 minutes of the first half. Our first two attacking sets were very good. Our shape and our set was very good and we were causing Ampthill some real problems. Defensively we were also very strong, though ideally I would’ve preferred not to be defending for so long. I think that was probably our best defensive showing of the season, and it took a lot of effort on Ampthill’s part to break us down.”
“I think that work in the first half allowed us to do what we did in the last 12 minutes of the second half. Our bench was very dynamic, and the hard work that Ampthill had had to expend in the first half to break down our defence started to take its toll. They were tired, and our quick lads were able to exploit that. We stuck to our shape and started to cause Ampthill some real problems, particularly Lewis Barker who was exceptional at both full back and fly half.”
Presumably then, those positives must give you encouragement for the next set of games?
“Oh it definitely does, but, as always, you need to temper that optimism a little. The positives show that when we are firing we are very good. I also think it shows that the future for this Club is pretty bright.”
“Unfortunately, the frustrations then start to kick in, and by that I mean the first 25 minutes after half time. We fumbled a kick off receipt and immediately put ourselves under pressure. From that we conceded a score and started to drop off tackles. Whether that had anything to do with the effort we’d expended in the first half is difficult to say. Maybe it had: maybe it hadn’t. Then we lost our discipline a little, talking back to the referee and conceding the yellow card. All of these mistakes just put us under the pump. So yes, I do take heart from the good things we did in the game, but I’m still frustrated with that 25-minute spell of madness that cost us the game.”
Having narrowly lost the previous game at Cambridge, are you looking to set the record straight when the team visits Priory Park this weekend?
“We’ll be playing to win naturally, and I think, given the positives we showed last weekend, we can go into the game with confidence. When we met previously we did an enormous number of good things, but our finishing was deeply disappointing. We’ve worked very hard since then, and I think we’ve got significantly better. So I’d say we’re definitely much better prepared this time around.”
“I was talking to Ampthill’s Head Coach after the game at the weekend and he summed up Cambridge brilliantly by saying that they seemed to be impervious to conceding tries. Obviously that’s not to say that they don’t concede tries, because clearly they do. What he meant was when they concede a try, they don’t dwell on the disappointment: they just get on with it and come back at you. So the message for us this weekend is clear; we have to keep going. It’s no point thinking the job is done if you score a couple of tries. It’s not. Cambridge won’t break: they’ll just come back stronger. So we have to take every opportunity to score points if we want to win this game.”