Macclesfield must be sick of the valiant loser tag, but as has been the case too often this season, that phrase applies again today.
After early exchanges in midfield, the Cheshire side found themselves in the Cambridge ’22 and off a scrum Marwick latched on to an offload to score in the corner in the 11th minute.
The home side had their tails up, and Marwick scored his second from a maul, putting the Blues 12-0 up after 18 mins.
Unfortunately, a series of defensive penalties allowed Cambridge up the park, and with their first visit to the Macc ’22, Cambridge managed to maul put captain Liebenberg over to score in the corner on 24 mins. Within a minute the Cheshire side conceded again with number 8 Nutley went over to take the lead.
Macclesfield heads could have dropped but they punched back almost immediately, when a strike move from their own half put winger Winterbottom over in the corner.
But the half would end even as the Cambridge forwards narrowed the macc defence and winger Petrides scored easily.
The home side came out strong in the second half strong, with fly half Barker putting his troops in space frequently. An early opportunity to maul for the line was thwarted by the Cambridge forwards and they took advantage with 3 points just shy of the hour. Macc moved ahead with a bonus point try from young flanker Joe Palmer having exited their half with another great move but from then on in, Macclesfield were losing the territory battle and survived numerous Cambridge visits to their ’22, at times gifting chances to Cambridge through penalties and errors, with Liebenberg profiting from his forward work again, on 69 mins and Portsmouth scoring after stealing a Macclesfield lineout 22m out.
Macclesfield played some excellent play to space , quick tempo rugby, but ultimately have lost to a side who win away for the first time this season, who had the edge at the set piece when it truly mattered.