Macclesfield 4th XV 10. Ashton under Lyme 31 2nd XV
The fourth team went from a high point in their last match of scoring 6 tries to having a below par performance this week; having not conceded a single point in four games to shipping 5 tries was an experience they didn’t need. Although there were plenty of very good individual performances: Jack Pearce continues to pull out all the stops, he was excellent, topping-off with a well taken try. Since returning from Japan after gaining his caps for England’s partially sighted six he’s shown wonderful composure, he tackles tenaciously, leaps well in the line-outs and carries impressively.
The front row of Jason Walker, Rufus Dixon and Mike Dale started strongly but we’re disrupted after 15 minutes when Dixon’s knee injury returned and he needed to be substituted by Elliot Jones, who was the other try scorer.
At half time Jeremy Bostock replaced Walker, these two interchanges hardly made a difference to the home side’s power in the set pieces. The two packs were fairly evenly matched but Ashton exploited a lack of mobility effectively; after all they are a second team against our fourth string.
Jack Nicholson and Craig Price in the boiler house had good games, both run very well with ball in hand and a back row of Rob McLeod, Scott Goodfellow and Pearce dovetailed together in style. Then bench men Troy Croaker with Keiran Merriman allowed the starting 8 to alternate for short rests.
The side had a very familiar look, two Smiths Paul and Nick at half backs with Bill Latham and Jim Parsons and Lewis Capaldi as back three. Centres were Tom Jennings and Matt Humphreys with Simon Street sometimes in the forwards and occasionally in midfield. With all these high class players on the pitch there where two or three outstanding performers but Lewis Capaldi had such a good game he won the Man of the Match – well done Lewis.
Macclesfield played well and stuck to their task, unfortunately it was one of those days when things didn’t quite work. The ball was spilled or knocked-on, some tackles which would normally have felled opponents didn’t click, unlucky the bounce of the ball or defensive clearances not carrying to touch. When two teams are equally matched all these little things mean the difference between winning and losing.
This is the last match of the year, team captain Bostock feels his side is playing some really good rugby, he felt that Saturday was a small blip below the standard they have recently set themselves but was not downhearted. He wished his boys Merry Christmas and looks to 2020 to continue their impressive recent form.