Leicester Lions 7 – 14 Macclesfield
The Blues were hot on a 3 game winning streak, their fortunes turned around since Marshall Gadd was installed as Head Coach with the side growing in confidence, having had to dig in and man up for their win against Huddersfield last week. Leicester however had been pumped by Tynedale and were looking to improve their inconsistent form.
This low scoring tight affair was played in the boggiest of conditions and it was hard to decipher who was who by the end.
The Priory Park outfit got off to the best possible start first winning a penalty at their first scrum and then Sam Moss found the gap off the advancing maul in the 6th minute, having kicked to the corner.
In the soggy and cold weather a kicking battle ensued with little ’22 activity as both both teams played for territory. The Blues had a chance as the lively Ryan Parkinson broke into the Home sides’ red zone in the 26th minute but Joe palmer couldn’t keep hold of his Captain’s offload before the men in Purple responded through loose head Will Roberts in the 21st minute despite a hint of a block on Dave Marwick by hooker Oliver Taylor but an impressive score nonetheless, having mauled into the Blues’ ’22.
Macc had a major chance to extend the lead winning scrum pens on the Lions’ 5m line and then springing width through Lewis Barker, at 13 today, but was held up, so it fell to Captain Parkinson put power over from the resulting scrum on 27 minutes.
Billy Robinson was lost to a head knock, so Tom Poole stepped into the fray earlier than he has been used to and for the remainder of the half the home side dominated the ball and territory without ever really threatening the try line (14-7 to the visitors at the break).
Almost immediately after the restart Ryan Parkinson made another break to carry the travelling Cheshire outfit into the Lions’ half but couldn’t put the phases together to score. The pitch was deteriorating and becoming a boggy minefield, although the sleet and rain had ceased. Both teams struggled to keep hold of the pill and a high number of scrums was inevitable while the lineout was difficult enough to maintain without the Leicester forwards competing brilliantly in that department.
The Lions ventured forward in search of points to level the game and Macc defended their ’22 resolutely but managed to whether a brief storm before wrestling the kicking and territory advantage away from Leicester and set up camp in their half.
A big maul on 60 minutes gave Macc the chance to kill the game with a 3rd try, as Chris Townsend came on to provide some experience and know how as Marshall Gadd knew his team would have to manage this to the end. A penalty was picked up from the maul and despite spending the next 8 minutes in their hosts ’22 no killer try was scored. However the Leicester outfit were pegged back constantly by the good kicking game of the Macclesfield back 3 and just couldn’t get out. Multiple opportunities to kill the game off were squandered but in truth it was difficult to gain ground on a pitch that barely allowed the players to stand up. This spell was brilliant by the Blues because although they were not playng vintage rugby theyey were keeping the bal, maintaining the territory and wrapping their lead in cotton wool. Sam Broster bolstered the midfield defence in place of Lewis Barker and Brendan Berry was introduced.
Our boys do like to keep their fans on their toes though and much like last week the last play of the game saw the lads give their ooponents the chance to score giving a pen awa kicked to their own ’22 by Leicester legend Johnathan Boden, and one more set would be faced in the last play of the game as the home side looked to pinch a second point, but veteran Chris Townsend put an end to that forcing a turnover at the second phase breakdown.
So, four wins on the trot and the player seem to have a renewed vigure and yet it seems as if they could yet go up a gear or too which is pleasing for the side to be winning without, as yet, firing on all cylinders. The pack look strong, especially in the front row, with the scrum looking a match for anyone in the league, as Berry and Poole seem to be improving every week, and the same can be said for the highly energetic Tom Burden in the row. Morton and Lewis Barker have a strong understanding in attack, while the defence is just colossal at the moment and has been at the heart of their turnaround in fortunes.
Matt Bebbington’s Sedgley Park are the next up in what will be a local derby at Priory Park, and the Blues will be looking to set the record straight after a comprehensive loss in their meeting earlier this season. Sedge are the top try scorers in the league and sit 4th but the way Macclesfield are playing, surely the men who wear Lions on their emblem wont fear the Tigers.
Star Man: Ryan Parkinson was again superb in attack making numerous breaks but this week the star man accolade goes to Tom Burden – a tackling machine with incredible work ethic, who puts his body on the line for the team.
- Mantell 2. Moss. 3 Robinson 4. Burden 5. Marwick. 6 Palmer. 7 Parfitt 8. Parkinson © 9. Allsop 10. Morton 11. Hall 12. Davenport 13. L. Barker 14. Hampson 15. Reed 26. Berry. 17. Poole 18. Laing 19. Broster 20. Townsend
Tries: Moss (6), Parkinson (27)
Covnersions: Morton x2