Rugby Notes from ‘Clubman’
With Priory Park closed down for the day as all games scheduled were played ‘on the road’ it was a disappointing trip over to West Yorkshire for the Blues who lost a close fought game to fellow strugglers Otley who in the end escaped with a 23-17 victory to ease their plight in the bottom three of National Two North and although both sides scored three tries it was a couple of penalties which saw off the Macclesfield challenge in a game that seemingly could have gone either way. Read more >>
The best ever
A favorite party or drinking past-time amongst sports lovers the world over is the debate over ‘the best ever player’, the best team’, ‘the best pound for pound fighter’ and so on. Its no different amongst rugby fans and certainly no different amongst Macclesfield Rugby Club members and supporters. Recently I asked that question of a group of my contemporaries ‘which is or was Macclesfields best ever first team’?
Naturally as they were my contemporaries there were a good number of votes for the ‘team of the 90s’ which took the club on a number of promotions out of the North West into the National Leagues as they were at that time. Featured such stars as Dave Cusani and Rob Davies, club stalwarts such as Matt Harding, Justin Thomas, Dave Worthington and Rob Oliver and rugby brains such as Steve Burnage. Apart from the League that team enjoyed unprecedented success in the Cheshire Cup and took the club into the last 32 of the National Trophy to fail by one penalty kick against Walsall.
But some of my contemporaries suggested that ‘youth’ has had its day in the shape of the Geoff Wappett team of a decade ago. This team took on the revised League structure and played their way up ther ladder by a series of promotions through the newly formed Divisional and thence National structure to emerge in the heady heights (for a town and club of our size) of tier 3 rugby. National 1. Many of the stars of that team have gone on to greater heights still. The Mulchrone brothers, Charlie and Fergus, playing at Harlequins and London Irish respectively, and Tommy Taylor and Tom Cruse at Wasps. The nature of club rugby today mitigates against a wholly local team (well for a town our size at least) but the team contained local stars other than Tommy Taylor. The front row duet of Robinson and Moss is still visible (could hardly be missed?) and a once young Frankie Barker is still getting around.
However mention of local talent and youth leads me to suggest another team that could be called ‘the best Macclesfield team ever’. The team of season 1963-4 played in an era without Leagues and Cups to draw out the ‘big performances’, when a trip to Rochdale might have justified a coach (one with seats not coaching manual). Best team ever? Season opened with a scoreless draw! By the end of September it was two wins a draw and a defeat, is this the stuff of legends? No but what followed was and is. With local stars such as Peter Jones, Peter Holland, Keith Oliver and Alan McInnes featuring in a sprightly back division the team put together a string of 21 games unbeaten. This talented back division was allowed to strut its stuff because of the growing prowess of forwards, again all local lads, such as John Taylor, Barry Limb and a young schoolboy, Ernie Bowyer. The final playing record reads played 32, won 23, drew 2, and lost 4 scoring 488 points whilst conceding only 140. As they won the Stoke 7s and lost to Sale in the final of the Manchester 7s they perhaps have a very good claim to ‘best Macclesfield team ever’?
3 Home grown U17’s play for Cheshire U18’s vs Northumberland
Three players who have played at Macclesfield since they were 5 years old represented Cheshire U18’s vs Northumberland at the weekend. The three (L to R) Will Davies, James Oliver & Harry Oliver have played in the same team for the last 10 years, the 3 of them have also played together for Cheshire U15’s, Cheshire U16’s and now Cheshire U18’s.
The game was won 51points to 7 with all three lads playing their part in several tries. Being selected is an achievement in itself but to be selected a year young is even more impressive.
The next game is against Lancashire at Sedgley Park in a couple of weeks.
They come from good pedigree Will being the son of Rob Davies (ex First Team player) and James & Harry being Grandsons of Keith Oliver and sons of Robert Oliver (Both ex-first team players), continued proof of the excellent rugby players the club can produce
The RFU raffle is just around the corner, please put some money aside to pay for your tickets. This year every member will receive just two books (10 tickets), more will be available if required.
The raffle is a tremendous way of raising money for your club, we retain 90% of all funds raised as a tax free donation. The RFU society keeps just 10% to operate the draw. This year a proportion of the money raised per section will go back to that section to pay for any planned projects. You will always win! If, for example a M&J age group are planning a tour, a proportion of the money that is raised by that age group could go towards the cost of tour shirts.
Not only will you be raising much needed funds but you may even win one of the many prizes which range from £10000 cash to International tickets and cases of wine. All this for just £10 each!
Your tickets should be with you before the end of November. Please do not put them in a drawer to gather dust, return them as soon as you can.
Director of Rugby
As part of its regular review of performance and support of the first team squad, the executive committee have taken the decision to re-structure the provision of coaching with immediate effect. Marshall Gadd will lead the coaching programme for the rest of the season. He will be supported in this role by a number of senior players with the explicit target of ensuring that Macclesfield continues to play its rugby in National 2 North next season.
After four seasons of excellent work, Giles Heagerty will step down – Giles has brought a high degree of professionalism to the coaching and support functions. The executive committee would like to thank Giles for his efforts and wish him well in his future endeavours
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