The last time these 2 sides met the Blues were left feeling sick having been robbed of a ground breaking and historic win, at Priory Park in November, when a questionable (putting it mildly) penalty try was awarded to the Midlands team injury time to break Macc hearts, so the Cheshire club knew they could compete with the Moseley team despite their superior league position.
But it turned out that competing was the least of what they did, in fact the away side dominated proceedings, having the majority of the territory and possession. After 20 minutes the play had not found its way any deeper than the Macc 10m line and 43% of the ball in play had been spent in the opposition’s ’22.
The visitors struck first, after the ever electric Tim Jeffers cantered into the space on the left wing and chipped his kick ahead only to be taken out off the ball, and from the resulting kick into the corner Franky Barker emerged from the bottom of the maul that had gone over the whitewash.
Macclesfield were relentless and played a fantastic brand of rugby, entering the opposition ’22 no less than 6 times in the first half, with the only criticism being that they could have been more clinical. The only reason being that Moseley seem to have a much luck as they did errors and inability to string any phases together and they actually led at half time 21-7, thanks firstly to a score from number 8 Chris Brightwell after a quick tap from a turnover by the fantastic flanker James Preece despite there appearing to be multiple Moseley bodies off their feet, and then fly half James Williams quick thinking to put Brightwell in.
Then from a set piece hit up, then quickly shifting the ball to the wing, Ed Sheldon showed lightening pace to skin his man on the outside and score, before the referee made his mark on the game again, when Mosely made a rare venture into the Macc ’22 and their maul broke into 3 pieces resulting in numerous ‘truck & trailor’ infringements that went unpunished, and from there the powerful Afeafe Haisila managed to get over despite the attention of 3 defenders.
Its fair to say the Blues could have reacted quicker in certain situations but never let their heads drop and continued to play all the rugby.
When the players emerged at half time a large proportion of the spectators enjoying the impressive Birmingham Moseley Club hospitality in their lovely new facility, had not returned, and it seemed almost as if the home side were still in there with them, as Macclesfield continued to dominate the territory and possession stats, and were now developing supremacy at the scrum too, with the introduction of Elliott Millar-Mills at tighthead. Unfortunately referee Jamie Leigh’s actions once again could not be ignored as a Blues’ scrum appeared to be powering over from 10 metres out, the penalty awarded and as Ryan Parkinson picked up at the base to prod down, Leigh called the penalty back at the mark with no explanation given. The Blues’ frustration compounded when they were pinged for crossing in the following play.
However, minutes later, the ever mercurial Lewis Barker combined with Myles Hall who broke into the home side’s 22 and after a number of pick and go’s on the Moseley line, recent signing Full Back Time Jeffers went over to close the gap (21-12 after 54 mins). Then, having survived a Moseley attack into Macc’s 22, the visitors closed the gap further with Ryan Parkinson breaking into the corner for 21-19, game on!
But as we all know, you can train hard and play hard but if luck is not on your side it is unlikely to be your day so when Elliot Brierley ripped the ball out of the hands of an on-rushing attacker only to see the ball fall backwards into space and the foot of Haisila prodded it to the Blues’ line to score the travelling fans must have got that feeling of ‘here we go again’ (28-19 after 67 minutes). The lads pushed hard for further points and must have thought the comeback was on, the Blues twitter handle certainly did, when the lively Myles Hall went in the corner for 24-28, and a linebreak from his own ’22 by the returning (from the U20’s 6 Nations) Curtis Langdon must have made the home fans worry they were to be on the end of an embarrassing result but Mosely hung on.
Unbelieveably the home side only had 19 rucks all game, compared to the Blues’ 99, and averaged 1 phase per attack. A good day for Macc and possibly an off day for Moseley but the club house was full of people with complimentary comments about the Blues’ style and brand of rugby. 2 points for Giles Heagerty’s men on a day when the teams above took none but with 18 points to make up from the remaining 4 games with 2 of the top 3 to play, a late survival push is unlikely, but hey, we are just loving being this recent run of being competitive again with much bigger spending clubs.