MRUFC First Team Climbing up the Table

Everyone interested in rugby has their attention shared between the Rugby World Cup and the fortunes of Macclesfield RUFC.

There is lots of drama over in Japan. Fortunately for England supporters all England’s remaining fixtures will now be played at the weekend. At the rugby club The Spiral Lounge and bar will be open and breakfast will be available for those who want to come along and watch the world cup on the large screen TV.

More importantly to club members were the events over the weekend at Priory Park.  All four senior teams were at home and excellent and an entertaining afternoon of rugby was had by all. the first team kicked off at 2.15pm and supporters were able to go over and watch the seconds, thirds and fourths play from 3pm.

The first XV had a very good win scoring five points including a try bonus point to lift them to joint second in the league. This is slightly distorted as Harrogate, our opponents next week, have played one fewer game. Scorers were Myles Hall, Sam Stelmaszek, Harry Oliver and Sam Moss. Will Davies converted three and kicked a penalty.

Man of the Match, nominated by his peers, was Matt Harrison. Mark Irvine and Witness Mandizha our Zimbabwe International also had good games.

This week we bid farewell to Megan Thorley our sports rehabilitator who is moving closer to home to Otley Rugby Club. We thank Megan for her work with the senior squad and wish her the best of luck in Yorkshire. We hope you settle in well and please return to see us in the future.

The Second XV lost to a strong Chester side but a pleasing aspect for the Macc faithful was to witness the return from injury of Frankie Barker as skipper for the day. He was assisted by Pete Hardwick who had captained the side to wins on their two previous outings.

Harry Grant had a great game, confidently marshalling the forwards from scrum half. Phil Laing and Harry Harding were outstanding, the latter watched by his father, former Macclesfield first XV captain, Matt Harding.

The third team put up a very spirited performance against Fylde, winning 25-14. Tries scored by Jake Robinson, George Hodkinson, Jack Caswell and Ross Turner from a charge down.

Simon Grant, the team manager, was delighted with five points and told Clubman it was a very solid team performance. He was particularly happy because Macc had been behind on the scoreboard at half time. Fylde are a good side with big forwards but Macc took their chances and deserved the victory. Evergreen Jim Curtis at 58 years old came off the bench to make a significant impact.

The Fourth XV achieved a massive 78-0 victory against Marple 3s. Something that only occasionally happens. Two Macclesfield forwards, Jim Welch and Geoff Chan, played the first half for Macc and the second for Marple.  See full report on this encounter.

Mini and Junior Section

We have new players in the Under 6’s right through to Junior Colts. There are some 380 playing members in this section and the club has qualified volunteer coaches leading the boys and girls through their rugby development. We have a child centred approach to rugby welcoming players of ALL abilities.

Macclesfield Rugby Club has a one badge, one club, one voice philosophy with all teams from the first XV to the U6’s wearing the same kit and adopting the same core values of teamwork, respect, discipline and sportsmanship. Last Thursday some of the younger age groups came down to warm up with the first team and were put through their paces before breaking away for their own squad sessions.  The Chairman of the Mini/Junior is Phil Mason 07738727638. He would be delighted to hear from anyone interested in volunteering their services or bringing their children to join the fun on Sunday mornings.

Coaches Profile

Macclesfield are really fortunate to have Andy Appleyard (Apps) as head coach. Clubman took the opportunity to speak to him about his background, his qualifications and his hopes and ambitions for the club.

Apps is a Yorkshireman from Barnsley where he still lives and was brought up playing rugby league and union at stand off or full back. He left Lincoln University with a BSc (Hons) in Sport Development and Coaching and for 10 years has been working with England RFU as a full-time coach. He worked closely with Eddie Jones and the full England squad. His last match whilst with the RFU was when England beat Australia in 2018 at Twickenham. As well as a coach and administrator, Apps is keen to develop the mental strength and wellbeing of his squad.

Andy is thorough in his coaching duties and has a development plan for each member of the 1st XV and 2nd XV together with a game plan for both teams. He is very well supported by Rick Jones (Jonah) as forwards coach. Jonah organises the scrummaging, lineout, rucking and mauling techniques as well as defence.

Every game is recorded by Matt Coleridge (Stats) and reviewed by Apps and Jonah after the game. The analysis helps in the planning of future training sessions and in the study of the opposition’s strengths and weaknesses.

This season the levels of fitness and conditioning are much higher than before and there is better depth in the squad. When Sam Moss and Billy Robinson were unavailable against Ilkley substitutes Dom Sheratte and Mark Irvine stepped seamlessly in to the front row positions as Hooker and Prop respectively.

Apps is determined to win promotion for the 1st XV back in to National Division Two. He was as disappointed as the rest of the club that the 1st XV was relegated last season. He has not officially ended his own playing career and jokes that he’s waiting and hoping the coaches will select him.

Apps feels the club is in a good place and identifies with the club vision ‘one badge, one club, one voice’. He believes the membership of the club on and off the field demonstrates the one for all and all for one philosophy.

Next week there is no rugby at Priory Park. Fixtures are: 1st XV v Harrogate away, Second XV v Caldy (a double header because it is simultaneously a league and cup match). Third XV v Warrington 2 away and the Fourth XV v Ashton on Mersey 3 away.

The club will be open on Saturday morning for the World Cup game between England and Argentina kicking off at 09.00am.


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