On Saturday, Macclesfield took on Blackburn, which proved to be a bruising but highly entertaining fixture. This had been Macc’s second away fixture in a row and with a bye following nextweekend, the fixture was a must win to keep momentum. Very fortunately, Macc picked up the victory, courtesy of a try after the 80th minute, leaving the final score Macclesfield 23 – 20 Blackburn.
It was sixth place Blackburn who scored the first points of the day. Corey Logan in the 3rd minute caught a crash ball and proved to be too difficult to stop from five metres out, but a relatively easy conversion was missed.
Macc should have responded only minutes later, but a rolling maul within the Blackburn red zone had been foiled, which resulted in the hosts stealing the ball and exiting to halfway with a good kick.
Thankfully, Will Davies scored two consecutive penalties in the 15th and 21st minute, to give Andy Appleyard’s side a narrow 6-5 lead.
Prior to the second penalty being scored, Tom Lavelle was handed a yellow card after a dangerous high tackle. The player count had been evened out to 14 against 14, after Josh Redfern had slapped the ball down, and was awarded with a 10-minute sit-down.
The final score of the half occurred in the 38th minute, again through Corey Logan. He sealed his second try of the day through being fed a long pass out wide, cutting out the blitz defence to leave open space.
The score at half time was 10-6 to the home side. It was clear Macclesfield had the bulk of possession, but it was Blackburn who led. Macc had to win this fixture to keep up with 1st placed Billingham and 2nd placed Blaydon in the league table, whilst Blackburn desperately needed to win to stay clear of the relegation zone.
It was Macc who struck first in the second half, in the 51st minute courtesy of Will Davies. His penalty closed the gap to just one point.
Blackburn extended their lead after Myles Harrop went over for a try; he found himself running into an unguarded wing and over the try line after quick passing from the backs. The conversion was missed yet again, leaving the score 15-9 in favour of the hosts entering the last quarter.
It was Matt Thorp, for the Boys in Blue, who scored a try in the 69th minute. Sam Stelmaszek fed Thorp a brilliant cut-out ball metres out, which let him go in untouched and with the successful conversion Macc led 15-16.
The drama continued as Blackburn stole the lead back in the 75th minute. Sam Gale spotted a gap and went over close to the posts. The conversion had been missed but the pendulum of victory swung towards the home side.
The game should have been sealed by Blackburn with only two minutes left. A strong rolling maul was brought down and a great steal gave Macc one last chance.
The regulatory 80 minutes had come and gone, but the spirit of Macc did not fade, up stepped Myles Hall. Blackburn had not spread their defence well enough out wide, which left an unguarded wing for the try to be scored. The conversion was good and the hosts’ fate had been sealed.
Macclesfield came out victorious 20-23 against a very resolute and physical Blackburn side. It was great to see both teams embody the spirit of the game by shaking hands and thanking each other after a tight contest.
This victory now places Macc only one point behind 2nd placed Blaydon.
The Boys in Blue have a bye this coming Saturday, so there is plenty of time to heal and nurse bruised bodies.
The defining factor of the match had been the goal kickers; Will Davies had scored 13 points whilst Blackburn’s kicker had missed all shots at the posts.
The next fixture for Macc will be at home on the 9th November against Alnwick. We hope to see many supporters there to cheer on our boys.