Macclesfield Blues 42 – 38 Loughborough Students

Macclesfield match reports have been pretty much tinged with negativity since Christmas but today the tide turned. A massive winning in a thrilling affair that the Macclesfield crowd were well due.

Macclesfield opened the scoring to a tense first half, which saw Macclesfield largely pegged back in their own half despite being ahead on the pen count, the scum half darting through a gap off the back of the impressive Macclesfield maul. But Loughborough took advantage of their superior territory and possession to push Berry over before scoring again when centre Elliot Birerley’s pop pass was intercepted just outside the home side’s ’22 and impressive winger Olowofela ran under the posts. The Cheshire side knew they had a chance to win today with a slightly rotated Loughborough side making the trip to Priory Park, and enjoyed some territory towards the end of the first half. Myles Hall thought he had levelled it up with his chip and chase but King was judged to have taken a man out off the ball. Then the mercurial as ever Lewis Barker created a try for Finnemore and converted to level the scores, but on the stroke of half time the ball popped out the side of Macc scrum on the Loughborough 22, and the pacer 9 Moater latched on to the resulting offload to score. 14-19 at half time.

The second half began brightly for the Blues, having made 4 changes, with Sam Moss coming on to score after a great break by Davidson then Lewis Barker. The men in purple responded with a maul over try but Macclesfield knew this was their day, and began to turn the screw, with Lewis Barker himself the scorer this time after a positive carry by captain Ryan Parkinson off the back of a line out put him through a gap and then the home side must have thought they had sealed the win with another score, Parkinson himself being pushed over from the maul. Bit the student side hadn’t read the script, they fought back from 35-24 down on 63 minutes to be leading again with 5 minutes to play, Kerr and Olowofela going over after ill discipline from Macclesfield let them march up the pitch.

Ultimately, the Macc crowd were the 16th men today, and weren’t going to accept another defeat, with quality defending by Macclesfield, despite trailing by 3 with 4 to play, earning them a penalty put into the corner and almost everyman in the maul, Tom Eaton found himself at the bottom of the pile to score the winning try on the stroke of full time.

The beginning of the comeback? Unlikely, but a great day for Macclesfield and their fans.

Tries: Allsop (8), Finnemore (29), Moss (47), L. Barker (61), Parkinson (62), Eaton (80)
Conversions: L. Barker x6
Drop goals:

Loughborough Students
Tries: Berry (12), Olowofela (20), Moater (39), Keane (53), Kerr (67), Olowofela (75)
Conversions: Robinson x5
Drop goals:

Attendance: 198
Referee: Alex …..
Half-time: 14 – 19
Star man: Lewis Barker – Macclesfield.
TEAMS (15-9, then 1-8)
MACC: Jeffers, Hall, Brierley, L. Barker, King, Eaton, Allsop and Mantell, Millea, Millar-Mills, O. Parkinson, Marwick, Finnemore, Davidson, Parkinson (c)
Replacements: Moss, Robinson, F. Barker, Palmer, Brookes.
LOUGHBOROUGH STUDENTS: Pointon, Beckett, Dockery, Lewis, Olowofela, Dixon, Moates and Brygnara (c), Kerr, Betts, Wheadon, Morrison, Pitfield, Keunen, Berry 
 Replacements: Lynch, Boyce, Frost, Robinson, Watson.

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