This week the first team was without a fixture, Saturday had been reserved in case of cancellations. The third team game had to be cancelled due to a frozen pitch, thus the second and fourth teams were the only sides to play; both games were away so there was no rugby to watch at Priory Park.
The first team coaches and the Captain Tom Morton told Clubman they much prefer a match every week to keep the momentum going, the continuity being great for morale. Head Coach, Andy Appleyard, said: “All the training ground practice is going well” and he’s very pleased with the teams effort and commitment to get better. “Billingham was another bump on our way forward but these bumps are great as they challenge us to review harder, strengthen and most importantly bond closer as a squad”. Both Apps and Tom pay tribute to our opportunity to hold training sessions with Jason Curtis at 5sFitness; we have complimentary use of the facilities, so in these dark wet evenings the squad is able to maintain their full fitness levels.
Morton was not happy when the side lost to Billingham at home the previous week: “Priory Park has proved a fortress for us this season, with a 100% record, but the team from Middleborough had a magic ingredient”. Peter Evans, their Number 10, captain and coach looked like someone playing two divisions below his potential. The Macclesfield forwards had dominated the set scrum, and the normal mantra that forwards win games ought to have applied, unfortunately it didn’t with Billingham taking the points.
The second XV travelled to Chester, Miles Horner, the team manager this week, was forced into a late reshuffle due to a traffic mishap on route to Hare Lane. Paul Davenport was drafted into the front row along with Tony King, who assumed the hooker’s duties. The score of 24-0 didn’t reflect the match as Maccelsfield produced a very gritty, and determined performance, our defence showed up well, Dafydd Rees and Phil Laing, unusually at 12, both having excellent outings. Horner felt the score didn’t reflect the match, the side were always competitive, he specifically mentioned Pete Board, the fly half, and Sam Jones who was brilliant at foraging for the ball on the ground and creating plenty of turnover ball.
In the first match between the teams back in October Chester had taken Macclesfield apart, as such holding them out for the majority of the 80 minutes, and considering the pack had to be reshuffled, was encouraging. Miles felt the side is certainly moving in the right direction and there’s plenty to build upon
In the remaining match the fourth team went to Wythenshawe Rugby Club, a club in only their third season. The side enjoyed a handsome victory wining 0-74 with 12 tries. Talking to Jack Nicholson, scorer of a brace of tries: “The previous week’s win over Marple 2nd was more valuable, because the opposition were so strong, we had to dig really deep to win 15-12”.