Macclesfield 41 – 15 Wharfedale
Macclesfield returned to National 2 with a resounding win against Wharfedale, but had to whether a first half storm from the lads in green who took the lead in the 5th minute though prop Asejevs and for spells they looked strong, shifting the ball wide with confidence and the Blues looking narrow and slightly unsure in their line speed at times. Early poor discipline and inaccuracy meant the home side defended for long periods. While Wharfedale were not exactly banging the door down, they did look the more likely. Until the hosts finally broke out of 1st gear in the 18th minute when veteran lock Dave Marwick went over. From there it was a very ‘bitty’ affair, both sides spurning their territorial advantages before Macc found a foothold and went ahead when the sublime Lewis Barker converted his own try after good ’22 pressure just before half time.
The Cheshire side looked better after the break, taking 3 points from Barker’s boot almost immediately, and then increased their advantage after the Blues’ territorial advantage boiled over and Burridge was yellow carded for twice kicking the ball out the ruck. From the ensuing scrum captain Ryan Parkinson touched down at the base of a huge push (24-7 after 49 mins) but the sense of relief around Priory park was premature.
The Blues repeatedly made unforced errors to allow the visitors back into the game in a short spell that had the hallmarks of parts of last season. Wharfedale were trying to expand their game a little as they chased the game while Macc edged the kicking battle and their drift defence was functioning much better. Barrett pulled 3 points back for the visitors in what was a tense spell. Lewis Barker’s second score went a long way to restoring confidence as the bench started to be introduced, a young bench at that. Tom Burden’s first act was to peg Wharfdale back into their own ’22 and then Joe Palmer, a youngster himself, ripped the ball free and offload to the returning Townsend, who looped a pass to Barker who calved the defence to run in from 22 metres.
Wharfedale were not beaten yet, as they put a midfield penalty in to the corner and drove over, Asejevs touching down again making it 31-15 with 18 minutes to go. Squeaky bum time?
Well no actually, the Blues showed their class in the closing stages, as the youthful bench continued to make an impact, forcing mistakes out of an increasingly tiring ‘Dale, both in attack and defence. Barker and Parkinson each completing their brace and the 5 points for Macclesfield. The result was secure when an overthrown lineout fell to Ryan Parkinson inside the opposition half and he chased down his own kick ahead to complete the try scoring.
Macclesfield maybe had forgotten how to kill off a game having spent much of last season on the wrong end of results in National One, but they kept their composure in this one despite some shakey moments, and dusted off the summer cobwebs to record a resounding win.
Director of Rugby Giles Heagerty:
“We did alright today, Wharfedale are a quality outfit and brought a lot of physicality in that first 20 minutes, we probably stepped off a little bit but responded well and managed the game really well particularly in the ten minutes just before half time and the ten minutes straight after we responded in a really positive fashion, so pleased, pleased.”
Tries: Marwick (18), Parkinson (48, 76), L. Barker (38, 66)
Conversions: L. Barker (x5)
Penalties: L. Barker (x2)
Tries: Asejevs (4, 62)
Conversions: Barrett (x2)
Penalties: Barrett (x1)
Macclesfield (15-9 and 1-8):
Lomax, Broster, Smith, Davenport, Winter bottom, L. Barker, Allsop and Mantell, Moss, Robinson, Marwick, F. Barker, Palmer, Parfitt, Parkinson (c)
Nyemba, Percival, Burden, Townsend, Hampson
Wharfedale (15-9 and 1-8):
Gill, Prell, Dunne, Booth, Parkinson, Barrett, Woodhead and Meehan, Stockade, Asejevs, Hedgy, Rhodes, Barnard, Tyson, Burridge
Graham, Hirst, Fort, Mason, Hainsworth
Man of the Match:
Priory Park, Priory Lane, Macclesfield