“We got the result and the points: earlier in the season I doubt that would’ve happened”
After a great performance in the first half at Priory Park last Saturday, most supporters would’ve rightly thought that it was job done and game won. However, Otley had other plans. They came back at Macclesfield Blues strongly in the second half and really put the pressure on. Fortunately, the Blues were able to secure a narrow win and get a bonus point, so they now know their future in National League 2 is secure for next season.
Next up is a trip to Luctonians. The Blues won comfortably at Priory Park when the teams last met in March, but Interim Head Coach, Marshall Gadd, knows things will be different this time round. Luctonians will have home advantage, and will use that incentive to fight for the points they so desperately need. It will be a fight, no doubt: but Marshall believes if they apply themselves the Blues can come away with the win and keep on pressing for a top 6 finish.
It might be a bit clichéd, but would it be fair to say that the Otley encounter was a classic game of two halves?
“Yes – you could definitely say that! Looking back at the game now, it seems the lads felt they’d done enough in the first half to put the game to bed. That proved to be wrong as Otley came back at us strongly. Having said that, I thought we played some of our best rugby of the season in the first 40 minutes, so that was pleasing.”
“We spoke at half time about maintaining our form and seeing out the game, but as soon as Otley got the first scored things started to change and the momentum shifted. The pressure was then firmly back on us, but whilst it was a bit closer at the end than I would’ve liked, the positive thing is we got the result and the points. At one stage of our season I doubt that would’ve happened.”
Still, having got the required points and cemented the Blues position as a National League 2 side for another season, you must be pleased?
“Oh, I’m definitely pleased. I tell the boys all the time to never forget that rugby is a results-driven game. Getting points is what matters, not necessarily how you get them. We can’t be disappointed when we’ve won the game and got the bonus point too. It someone had offered that result before we played the game, we’d have snatched their hand off.”
“It doesn’t matter whether you win by 1 point or by 50 points: what matters is winning. Yes, we know there are lessons we need to learn from that game, but the end result is crucial at this time of the season.”
Have you set any goals for the Blues for the remainder of the season?
“We talked about this last night. If you look at the position we were in before Christmas, and where we stand now, it would be all-too-easy to sit back on your laurels and say job done. But like I said to the lads, it’s now up to you. I asked them if they thought it was a case of mission accomplished; or do we keep on pushing and try to finish as high as possible.”
“We know there are points to be won in the remaining games, so we’ll be going out to try to win these and aiming for a top 5 or 6 finish. If we can achieve that, we’ll have done well, given where we were a few months ago.”
The Blues won convincingly when the teams last met at Priory park, but will Luctonians be a different prospect on their home patch?
“Undoubtedly. All the teams in this league tend to be stronger on their home grounds. I guess that’s what makes this league so competitive. We can’t afford to travel there thinking we’ve already accomplished what we set out to achieve, because Luctonians are fighting for their lives. They’ll scrap for every point and make a real fight of it.”
“It won’t be an easy game by any stretch of the imagination, because Luctonians need a win. To get anything out of the game we need to be switched on and to have the right attitude and mentality for the full 80 minutes. Anything less, and we could be in trouble.”