Macc made the short trip to Whitefield on Saturday, with the Cheshire outfit winless after 4 games but showing potential while the West Manchester outfit were suffering a number of injuries in the pack, having narrowly overcome Preston last weekend.
On a Sunny afternoon, the cool breeze was very handy as both teams set their stall out to go through the phases and play a high paced game. The early exchanges involved long spells of possession for each team, but it was Sedge who drew first blood, when they broke down their left side and Jamie Harrison went over, converted by Ollie Glasse in the 4th minute.
The Priory park club came roaring back straight away and applied a long spell of pressure in the Sedgley half putting numerous phases together and working the defensive line side to side but could not find the magic moment to get through, and a missed shot at goal was all they had to show on paper for what was a very positive spell in reality. Unfortunately the home side were not wasting their chances and took advantage of field position and possession in the 24th minute when prop Nathan Rushton was on the shoulder of a break to go under the posts (14-0).
Again Macclesfield applied the pressure and despite the score line they appeared to defend the majority of sets with comfort. The early loss of talisman hooker Sam Moss was impactful, Jordan Simpson coming on at 8 as Matt Thorp moved into his less familiar position of hooker.
Sedge were getting on top more and more with Macc only having the one ’22 entry by the half hour mark so it was frustrating for the visitors when a 4 man lineout on the edge of their own ’22 sailed over the jumping pod and into the hands of the Sedgeley scrum half Steve Collins who extended the lead to 19-0.
Macc had a good attack at the end of the half and built pressure on the edge of the Sedge ’22 but were unable to find a way in behind. Jordan Davies’ instinctive switch kick to Myles Hall was unlucky not to have come off in the build-up and it looked like the men in blue had numbers over a couple of times before a misplace pass ended the half.
Despite the scoreline in the home sides’ favour, the fans of both sides appeared to be of the opinion neither side had really got going yet, buts fair to say that the visiting team started the stronger, forcing a defensive penalty in the red zone, putting to the corner and the in-form tight-head prop Dan Mathews was at the bottom of a 5m maul shove to punch in for Macc (19-5). McCarthy made way for Rees in the back row, as the Cheshire side looked to the bench for some extra impact.
Minutes later Macclesfield were back in the Sedge half with ball in hand and looking like the try had given them new self-belief, but when Jordan Simpson’s hand-off left Mark Goodman out cold on the ground, was adjudged to be a yellow card offence. A spokesman for Macclesfield made it clear after the game that they wish Goodman all the best in his recovery, and it was excellent to see the back-rower walk off the pitch rather than being stretchered.
The penalty was put to touch and Tigers picked off the space with a second phase score through Andy Riley, and this all but put an end to any hopes of a comeback. Brendan Berry came on for Tom Mantell as Macc turned to the bench but Sedge were rampant and clinical from here on in, scoring 2 more tries before Simpson returned from the bin, through Maher and Harrison (41-5 after 64 mins).
Leon Simpson added another and Macc were playing for the try bonus so when full back Dan Lomax, who was man of the match against Huddersfield scored it gave his side hope, following Simpsons post break pass going astray, Lomax ripped the ball back a metre out and went over (41-10).
A try at either end followed so when Sam Broster powered over from a first phase 5m scrum the forwards held up the carrier, won a scrum pen and put to the corner, before being held up over the line, the bonus point looked likely (46-17 after 75 mins).
But the home side were not in a generous mood and scored twice more before the end to complete a pretty disappointing afternoon for the visitors.
At half time the score was slightly generous to Sedge and it looked like the score at 19-5 on 48 mins might have narrowed. The yellow card burst Macc’s balloon but in truth Sedge were quality in attack in that second half and were worth their win.
Macc can take great encouragement from the way they defended the long spells of Sedge possession in that first half but will rue silly self-made errors and will feel they could have come away with more from the attacking opportunities they had.
You feel that despite no wins in 5, someone will bear the brunt of Macc’s frustration sooner or later and with Otley the next opponents, t home next week, the Priory Lane side will have their sights set on a 5 point bounce back.