Yet another frustrating afternoon for Macclesfield as they travelled over the top to the Dore Moor home of Sheffield Tigers only to return on the back of a narrow 10-0 defeat as the home side completed a ‘double’ over the Blues having won a high scoring and entertaining encounter at Priory Park back in October by 55-45 and in doing so ensured that they remain six points ahead of Macc in the table although we still have a couple of games in hand after the recent bad weather. All this in front of a meagre crowd of less than 100 on a cold winter afternoon.
In the other games played Sale – who come visiting on Saturday – beat fellow title challengers Tynedale at Heywood Road with a convincing 34-10 bonus point ‘W’. Hinckley maintain their challenge with a 34-15 win at South Leicester as did Stourbridge who won 26-13 at Huddersfield. At the bottom of the table Blaydon lost at home to a resurgent Wharfedale outfit who took the points in a convincing 30-14 performance. The game at Sedgley Park who were to have entertained Otley was postponed as was the encounter between Leicester Lions & Luctonians.
National Two North is now pretty well shaped into three segments with the top five clubs – Sale, Hinckley, Stourbridge, Sedgley Park and Tynedale now 19 points clear of the chasing pack of middle placed clubs led by Huddersfield and including ourselves who are gradually moving clear of the bottom three clubs – Blaydon, Sheffield & Luctonians who are looking the ones to be involved in fighting off the prospect of relegation come the end of April and we still have to play Sheffield and Lucs – both ‘on the road’ before we finish so clearly still very much to play for even if only pride.
Along with a few others I went to Priory Park on Saturday hoping to watch the Lions entertain Firwood Waterloo only to find on our arrival a closed clubhouse and no games being played due to the waterlogged state of the pitches but at least it meant that a quick dash back to a TV ensured that we could watch the first games in this seasons Six Nations campaign. A note on the club website may have avoided unnecessary travel for supporters who turn up each week as one of the members had travelled from North Manchester to be there especially as clearly the opposition clubs and our own players had been notified. Whinge over!! The Thirds travelled to Preston Grasshoppers and returned with a convincing 55-8 victory.
Getting back to a TV on Saturday afternoon meant that I could watch the Wales v. Scotland encounter at the Principality Stadium and what a game it was with an inspired Wales team seeing off the early favourites, in some pundits minds, with a convincing 34-7 victory to set them in good fettle for the clash at HQ this coming Saturday evening and that should be a belter. In the other Saturday game it was a superbly struck Johnny Sexton drop goal in injury time that saw Ireland beat France 15-13 in Paris. As I pen these notes the Italy v. England game has yet to begin so hopefully a ‘W’ to report there later Sunday afternoon. I do hope, however, that Italy can make some sort of impression this time round although almost inevitably they will end up bottom of the pile again. At least, in my opinion, they have by far the best ‘National Anthem’ of the tournament.
Some sad news now as I learned on Friday of the passing of former Macclesfield player Brian Thompson who was a pivotal figure at the club when I joined back in the early 1970’s at our former Tytherington ground. Brian was an excellent Hooker and skippered the Seconds during that time as the club geared up for the move to Priory Park. Our thoughts are clearly with Brian’s family at this time. At this stage I have no further details to pass on.
As well as the start of the Six Nations – for this rugby man anyway – the first games in Super League made my weekend although the result at the Halliwell Jones didn’t go our way there will be much to savour the appetite for the next eight months until the Old Trafford Finale……………….
Games for Saturday:-
1st v. Sale – Home – 3.pm.
At present there are no games listed for the 2, 3 & 4th teams due to it being a ‘Cup’ weekend so let’s ensure we have an overflowing Priory Park for the Sale encounter which should be a cracker.
Off to Buxton Opera House now for a night at the opera – La Traviata – can’t wait.
Enjoy your Rugby (and Opera) – I do,