Ilkley 25-32 Macclesfield

The Blues displayed tendencies of promotion candidates on Saturday, as they claimed victory, scoring the winning try with less than five minutes left in the match.

This was the first away win for Macclesfield since 24th March 2018. To add the cherry on top of the cake, this was the third time this season the Macc had earned a try bonus point.

It was the home side though who took the lead courtesy of a penalty kick.

The lead had been wiped out immediately as Witness Mandizha latched onto an inside pass at full pace, one on one with the opposition full back, this resulted in a try for the Blues, followed by a conversion from Will Davies and the Ilkley full back, admiring the groundsmen’s work on a smooth pitch which aided his landing.

Harry Oliver then extended the lead breaking past the defensive line using his pace and then using strength to fend off an incoming defender to dot down in the corner. The conversion was missed but it all seemed glorious after 15 minutes as the Blues led 12-3.

The home side needed to respond and slowly but surely utilised the kicking game and sunny conditions to pin Macclesfield back into their own half.

A missed line out from the Blues followed by a penalty for playing the ball on the ground led to Ilkley scoring under the posts. The quick scrum half took advantage of a retreating defence with a quick tap and with the conversion being successful the deficit was cut to two.

Unfortunately for the Blues, Ilkley managed to grab the lead thanks to a series of brutal pick and goes from the forwards. The loose head prop managed to stay low enough to drive his frame underneath the defender to cross the line, but the conversion was missed.

The Blues were down 15-12, this meant for the third consecutive league game this season, Macclesfield had been trailing come half time.

Sam Broster who ironically injured Josh Redfern in training, redeemed himself through scoring a try which went unconverted. The Ilkley defence left a gap open at the side of the ruck which allowed him to dance through and dot down in the corner.

The lead did not last long though, as a beautiful inside pass found the incoming Ilkley winger. He dissected the defensive line to go under the posts which led to an easy conversion.

A penalty only minutes later had been struck to compound the Blues woes, leaving them trailing 25-17 with half an hour to go.

The boys from Priory Park showed fighting spirit, only minutes later a beautiful cut out pass sailed over two defenders into Pete Milne’s grasp, who went over in the corner.

The conversion to the previous score may have been missed but captain Tom Morton levelled proceedings thanks to a penalty. The Blues were now level going into the last 20 minutes, 25-25.

Both teams showed nerves, playing conservatively, but it was Harry Oliver who went over in the last few minutes of the game and Morton’s calm conversion that secured the victory.

The referee’s whistle had probably never sounded as great as it did at full time, groans from Ilkley supporters echoed through the stands and sighs of relief could be heard from the Blues faithful.

The notable performance of the game came from Sam Broster. He continuously made Ilkley defenders take backwards steps with his runs. With putting Redfern out of commission for the week, he had no option but to produce a great performance and didn’t he just.

This was the second consecutive week Macclesfield had collected all five points.

The Blues have now picked up a possible 11 points from 15, in the context of the season, this could prove to be a monumental result as Ilkley displayed skill throughout.

Next up for Macclesfield is a home fixture against Kirkby Lonsdale. Come and support our boys this coming Saturday as the supporters are the 16th man on the field and make a worldly difference throughout the game.

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