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Macclesfield 27 – 22 Stourbridge

The Blues took a major step towards safety after securing a huge 27-22 win over Stourbridge, in what was blisteringly cold playing conditions.

Jack Spencer’s late try through a pick and go for Stourbridge set up a grandstand finish at Priory Park with just 14 minutes remaining, but despite being under pressure late on, Macc held on for a vital win.

Stourbridge have now won just one of their last six games, as their slump down the table continues. Whilst, Macclesfield are ten points from safety after the win.

Macc started the better of the two sides and our early dominance was rewarded with a try after just
two minutes.

Scrum-half Sam Stelmaszek scored with a fantastic break off the scrum, breaking the Stourbridge line of defence with excellent pace. Tom Morton scored the conversion in front of the posts and the home side led 7-0.

Winger Myles Hall thought he’d added to Macc’s lead by scoring a try in the corner, but the pass that picked him out by Pete Board was deemed forward.

The referee came back for a penalty in front of the posts and the decision by Macc was to go for goal. Fly-half Morts scored the kick with ease and Macc led 10-0 after just nine minutes.

Stourbridge then spent the next few minutes in Macc’s 22, but Macc dealt with defending the phases brilliantly with excellent defending.

The home side got out of trouble by forcing a knock on and then an excellent clearance kick from their own try line by Morton, got us from our own try line to passed halfway.

C aptain Morts then strengthened Macclesfield’s lead with two penalties in the first half.

Macclesfield found themselves 17-0 up after just 25 minutes. A lineout deep in Stourbridge territory picked out Tom Burden and he broke through to score. Morts then scored the conversion, to enhance Macc’s lead.

However, Stourbridge then scored the game’s next 15 points to get back into the game, through mauled tries by Tatenda Mukarati, Stefan Thorp, and a penalty kick and conversion by fly-half Rickie Aley.

Macclesfield were eventually rewarded for their numerous gritty pick and go’s as Samuel Moss broke through the Stourbridge defence to score. Morts impressive performance with the boot continued by securing the conversion.

But Stourbridge wouldn’t give up and were right back in the game through Jack Spencer’s try under the posts. Aley scored the conversion and the score became 27-22.

Macclesfield held on though, through resilient defending to see the game out and get a much- needed win for Marshy Gadd’s men.

Head coach Marshy said: ‘The conditions were tough but the spirit and performance of the lads to grind out that last 15 minutes, to hold on was just fantastic. Towards the end, I had visions of last week, so to hear that final whistle I was just made up for the boys because of the amount of work and energy and enthusiasm to play for each other, is more pleasing than anything.

‘To see their reaction at the final whistle, when they’ve all put in 125% was just amazing. It was a howling wind left to centre and I thought we played the conditions brilliantly. We’ve had in the last seven games, one to six and then ninth, so the fixtures have been tough, but the lads have shown we can compete with teams.’

Speaking about next week’s game away at Chester, Gadd said: ‘Regardless of who we play, any away game is tough, you haven’t got the same changing rooms, the fans, the routine of being at home. But I think we can go there regardless and beat Chester.’

By Ben Jaycock

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