Macclesfield Blues’ season ended disappointingly at Priory Park last weekend. The Blues had wanted to go out on a high and finish the season with a victory in front of their loyal home fans. Sadly, Esher were not in the mood to play ball. The match may have been a dead rubber in terms of league position, but Esher just seemed to be able to raise their game that little bit more when it counted.
Before the preparations begin for life in National League 2 North, Macclesfield Rugby caught up with Head Coach, Giles Heagerty and got his thoughts and reflections on a season that promised so much, but delivered too little. Here’s what Giles had to say:
The National 1 campaign may not have ended in the way you would’ve liked, but was it good to finish the season at Priory Park in front of your home supporters?
“Of course: it was really good to do that. You’re right though – we didn’t get the result we wanted. I think the Esher game probably summed up our season: we put in a lot of effort for limited reward, followed by a couple of errors which the opposition exploited. It’s been a pattern this season, and it’s one we have to address for next year.”
How would you best describe this season?
“I suppose the best description is pretty disappointing, and tough at times. We’ve shown on numerous occasions that we can mix it with some of the best teams in National 1, but unfortunately we’ve lacked a cutting edge when it counted. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve scored some brilliant tries and we’ve created some fantastic opportunities too, but we just couldn’t manage to convert those chances when it really mattered.”
“Injuries have obviously played a part this season. I think we’ve probably missed Lewis Barker and Max Smith at important times this year. You could see the impact Max made when he came off the bench on Saturday. Not having players like that available changes the way you are able to play the game.”
With the benefit of hindsight, is there anything you either would, or could have changed to produce a different outcome this season?
“It’s hard to say at this point in time. In some ways your hand is forced because of circumstances, whether that be injury, availability or money. We have had to make certain decisions that were forced by circumstances out of my control. So, although it’s difficult to answer definitively, I’d have to say there are a number of things that I would’ve done, and will do, differently moving forward – although I should add those are only bits of detail.”
How much will the Blues miss players of the calibre of Elliot Brierley, Tom Eaton and Mike Finnemore?
“All three of those players have been stalwarts for this Club for a number of years, and we will definitely miss them. Tom has played over 220 games for the Club and was captain when I first started working here under Geoff Wappett. He’s played a massive part in the Club’s development and has been involved in 3 promotions. Obviously we’ll miss a player with that sort of experience, and there will be an impact from his absence.”
“Elliot has been around for a long time and we’ve worked together over a number of years for various teams. He does a lot of unseen defensive organisational work, and probably hasn’t been given the credit he fully deserves. He’s been a great servant to the Club, and we’ll miss him.”
“Mike is a great bloke who I’ve known for a long time. He had a tough time when I made him captain in my first season here when we got relegated. But he never shirked his responsibilities, and I think that just sums up his character. With Mike you always know that he will always give 100 per cent every game – not that the other boys wouldn’t – but you know you can always rely on him. Mike’s off to Canada to play and coach, and I know he’ll make a success of that as we’ve worked together on this over the last 18 months.”