A Grand Day out in Cumbria
Two coaches left Priory Park on Saturday morning for the picturesque market town of Kirkby Lonsdale, the first coach containing an excited group of Macclesfield ladies, venturing north to take on the host club’s ladies. With commitments elsewhere the Macc Ladies could only muster 13 for the trip, although according to travelling Chairmen Stephen Branch, this did not dilute their enthusiasm; no doubt he passed on some words of veteran experience. This is a development season for the ladies, so it was always going to be tough against a more experienced league side, the final score 0 – 43, but much will be learned from their day-out and they got to watch the senior men afterwards.
The senior men kicked off slightly later, keen to cement their fourth place position; after last week’s win against Ilkely. That said, there was definitely a first half stutter last week, and one of the travelling Alikadoos was in fear of a Cumbrian ‘Banana-Skin’. His worries were ill-founded as the Macc Lads romped away with it, winning with a 30 point margin, and moving up a spot to third. In two weeks time we take on Harrogate at Priory Park, who are sitting in top spot, just four points ahead. This will be a massive game at Priory Park, for both teams, Harrogate are sure to bring plenty of support and the Club is putting out a clarion call for local supporters to be our 16th man.
Macclesfield v Harrogate 1st February, Special Ticket Offer: Any guest member’s guest, only £5; any member of a Macclesfield sports club presenting their membership card, only £5; all Macclesfield Town Season Ticket holders FOC. See www.macclesfieldrufc.co.uk for further details.
Elsewhere the third team had an impressive win away to Fylde 0 – 51 and the 4th team continued their winning streak beating Marple 3rd XV 0 – 46. Next week there are no games for the ones and twos, the third team take on a Kirkby Lonsdale Development XV and the 4th team are at home to an Ashton on Mersey XV.
Fylde 3rd XV 0 – 51 Macclesfield 3rd XV
Macclesfield 3s travelled across to the Lancashire Coast to play a Fylde team that has struggled over the last few weeks, having to concede their game last week.
With both teams fielding a bare 15, without substitutes, Macc started the stronger with some impressive forward power both in the Scrummage and loose, resulting in two early tries for Benn Holden. Another try shortly afterwards, by Brad Atherton, following some great interplay between Dale Crompton and George Hodkinson, converted by Chris Gleave, gave Macc a 17 point lead with 20 minutes on the clock. A further try for Pat Ellis gave Macc a 21 point lead at half time.
It is questionable whether the referee tried to even things up, as Macclesfield started to turn the screw and build up the pressure, as the penalty count increased the game became very disjointed.
Fylde never looked like scoring, until Dale was yellow carded for allegedly letting fly with a few expletives and Lewis Jones had to leave the field for an HIA without returning.
Although winning by a healthy margin, the most impressive part of the game was the defence in that 8 – 9 minutes with only 13 players against 15, the defence was remarkable and showed the true spirit of this side as Fylde battered our line with nothing to show for it.
Macc scored a number of tries in the last 20 minutes, Sam Bancroft scored from the halfway line, Cameron Mackay from a similar distance. George Hodgkinson also got on the score board as did Brockey, but the pick of the bunch was the late try by Jake Robinson under the posts into injury time after deft hands by prop Ben Holden, who truly deserved his Man of the Match performance.
Next week Macc 3s take on top of the table Kirby Lonsdale at home, so we need everybody available please for that one!
Marple 3rd XV 0 – 46 Macclesfield 4th XV
The awesome Macc 4s travelled to Marple on a clear, crisp winter’s Saturday to face off against Marple 3s. Marple had suffered a heavy defeat at Priory Park earlier in the season, and have struggled to notch up wins against other teams throughout the season, most notably their own 2s who have beaten them twice, latest being last week, 70 odd points to 0.
A huge respect bust be given to Marple 3s, who turn up each week and offer up a good game at this level, seeing it though to the final whistle. They are an accommodating and friendly bunch of lads who are committed to rugby and deserve recognition for that.
Macc arrived strong, with several reserves, and all keen for a run-out. Focus of the pre match talk was on immediate impact (as opposed to our somewhat standard 20 minute warm up after the whistle), discipline and support. All 3 were implemented and running was strong at a good Marple defence. Equally, Marple ran well with the ball and worked through set pieces effectively. The home side came close to the white line a couple of times with breakthrough runs and big forward play, but it was not to be. Excellent Macc defence ensured any flashes were quickly extinguished and our strong routine became largely dominant.
Jason, Rupert and Geoff headed up the pack with solid scrummaging and rolling mauls. Jim and Jack in the boiler room provided pivotal strength and handsomeness to the tight 5, backed up by Kieran, Streety and Scott. As ever our strong forwards play was largely unrivalled, once moving, securing good phase ball to the backs.
Paul Smith provided good linkage at 9, controlling the side well and allowing the backs to feed parasitically off the forwards’ hard work. Nick Smith, Simon and Matt B made good long runs with fluid ball. Matt H, Ryan and Keepy made easy work of wide play with skilful handling.
The first half saw Rob M play for the home side, pulling on the black and red and reliving his old life. Second half saw Streety replace Rob. Both played very well, running at pace and proving very hard to tackle. Both very nearly added points to the board for Marple. Late in the second half, Streety, in his Marple excitement, locked onto Mannys ribs and almost saw the old boy leave by stretcher. The post match jug for this crime failed to materialise.
Manny, Troy and Boz provided second half support and all ran well to further strengthen Macc’s position.
Scorers for the day were: P Smith, N Smith, Ryan, Keepy, Rob, Kieran (x2 had 1 not been denied by a forward pass) and Jack.
A special mention should be given to the referee who was a calm, collected and fair controller of the game, allowing us to enjoy a good match. Much welcomed after the last couple of weeks. Let’s carry our excellent form into next week when we face Burnage 3s away in the quarter finals of the cup. Big winning game heads on lads, that Cup is ours.
MACCLESFIELD LADIES v KIRKBY LONSDALE LADIES
Macclesfield Ladies XV travelled away to play Kirkby Lonsdale Ladies on Saturday as the precursor to the 1st XV’s North Premiership match against Kirkby Lonsdale. The Ladies, captained by Mary Thorp, travelled with 13 players for this friendly and were loaned two players by the opposition. Macc Ladies are a development side and are recruiting and training a squad that aims to compete in a league in the next season or two. It was a great experience to play a side that has been on a similar journey and that is now playing regularly in a league. Despite the score line (43-0), the Ladies acquitted themselves really well, demonstrating some strong defence and good handling skills in attack. The commitment from every player was huge and nobody wanted to ‘let-the-side-down’.
The squad has improved with every game played this season, moral is good and the atmosphere amongst the group is fun and infectious. This is the first season of rugby for a number of members of the squad and everyone has embraced the core values and culture of the sport of Rugby in general, and of Macclesfield Rugby Club in particular. The Club is actively looking for new players, no matter how experienced, so if you are interested please have a look at the website and give us a call. Training takes place on Tuesday evenings from 7pm with coaches Simon Dempsey and Tony King.
It was the first time the Ladies had travelled away with the 1st XV, who won their game 24-54 and the atmosphere in the clubhouse at Kirkby Lonsdale after the matches was fantastic. Some said it was a shame that the teams had to travel in separate coaches (because of the difference in kick off times)!