Macclesfield looking good for 2020
The first Saturday in the New Year saw three wins out of four for Macclesfield’s teams, and great prospects for the remainder of the season. Macclesfield’s top side sits fourth in the North Premier league, with every opportunity to be in-the-running at the sharp-end of the season. All the other teams are having competitive seasons, but all still welcome new players to join their squads.
Besides the senior sides, the mini and junior teams are having a fabulous season, a growing membership of 390; from U6 to U18 – come and play the best game in the world. Before Christmas, our U13 squad were all awarded their Club ties; on Sunday after their match against Newcastle they were all proudly sporting them in the Clubhouse.
Off the field the Club has gone through phenomenal change this season. The “rallying call” has been met by the membership, donations, and in particular working parties, organised by James Jennings and friends. The Club is now in an excellent condition to meet both its rugby needs and as a Community Venue for Macclesfield people. The refurbishment of Priory Park is not quite over yet, but the official opening of the lift, this coming Saturday, is a major milestone. Please come and join us for lunch, this is the only home game in January, details on the Club website.
On Saturday morning the 1st team squad and a handful of Alikadoos embarked upon the long journey to Morpeth. They came away with the hard-fought spoils, but according to Twitter it was “another nail-biter; but a win’s a win”. Tries were scored by Josh Redfern and Sam Broster, with Will Davies kicking an ‘ice-cool’ penalty for the match. Let’s hope that we hear plenty of “Whaa-Hoo” music this coming Saturday, when we take on bottom placed Ilkley in a 2.30 kick-off. Other games: 2nds at home to Lymm; 3rds away to Sedgley Park and 4ths at home to Hope Valley.
Preston Grasshoppers 2nd XV 14 – Macclesfield 2nd XV 18
The 2nd XV travelled to Preston Grasshoppers for the first game of 2020, after ending the 2019 calendar year with a win they were keen to carry on this habit.
The artificial surface suited the experienced fly-half, Giles Hetherington, and he combined well with debutant inside centre Gus Fiennes to get Macc over the gain line.
In the first half Macclesfield dominated territory and possession but frustratingly, not the score board. An early Macc penalty was overtaken by a well orchestrated, converted score by Grasshoppers, making it 7-3 at half time.
It was the forwards, through Tom Burden and Owen Jones, who set the platform for greater success in the second half. They were instrumental during a 10 minute passage of play that blew Grasshoppers away. Tries came from Lloyd Coates, Ben Holden and Tom Blackwell, pushing the score beyond the opposition.
Captain Sam Jones said “to get back-to-back wins over the Christmas period is great; we’ve turned a corner following some tough fixtures previously. We’re aiming to make the Top 6 come the play-offs. It might be a step too far, but we’ll give it our best shot”. The 2nd team currently sit 7th in their league.
Macclesfield 3rd XV 24 – Burnage 2nd XV 42
In an excellent free running game where Macclesfield 3rd team didn’t concede one penalty throughout the game, which turned out to be a personal record for the referee; Macclesfield put up a very brave performance against a well-drilled Burnage team, with at least 7 first team regular players.
Burnage started the game at some real pace, scoring 3 quick tries to Macclesfield’s one, scored by Cookie. The defence from Macc was outstanding and the opposition could well have been out of site at half time; as it was the 3s scored a further try, by wing Dave Kirk, who had an excellent game in defence and attack and was well deserving of the Man of the Match Award.
The second half was dominated by Macclesfield who scored another 2 tries without reply to make it 24 – 32 with just 8 minutes remaining. However, a couple of missed tackles and a well organised last few minutes, resulted in a another 2 tries to Burnage, who turned out to be deserved winners – but what an excellent performance from a team put together on Saturday morning.
Try scorers for Macclesfield were: Cookie 2, Dave Kirk and Pat Ellis; players of note Pat Ellis, Elliot Jones at Hooker, who will play higher up the Club and Tom Jennings.
Thanks must go to Langers in the 2s and Boz from the 4s in helping us out with players, right up to 11am on Saturday morning.
Didsbury Toc H 3rd XV 13 – Macclesfield 4th XV 20
The mighty Macc 4s travelled to Didsbury to take on Toc H 3s for the first game of 2020. Macclesfield arrived confident in spirit, but heavy in heart learning just that morning of the sudden death of former team mate Zane Gills. An accommodating and respectful Toc H shared a minute’s silence before the game.
Upon the whistle it was clear that Toc H were up for a win, keen to right their loss at Priory Park earlier in the season, with a young and energetic 3rd team. Showing good rugby skill and solid teamwork the opposition were quick to the breakdown and equally quick in recycling the ball. Macc, however, answered the call with a very experienced team and unrivalled aggression.
The Fourth Team pack consisted of a solid front row, in: Jason, Rufus and the ever sturdy captain Boz; backed up by Craig and Jack at second row. Further strength was added by Matt, Rob and Billy, visitors from Lostock Rugby Club, thanks to Michael’s recruitment skills. As ever, the strength and experience of the forwards, prevailed, and, once up and running, the will and aggression was unmatched by Toc H.
Macc spent most of the first half in Toc’s 25 running at a good defence. Finally a line-out on the 5 set up Paul Smith for a try in the corner. Macc continued to wear the home side down conceding only a converted penalty. Inevitably as pressure built, tempers flared, which saw Macc down to 14 players.
Solid and skilful as ever, our backs carried ball well, made excellent runs and were fully committed to tackling. Both Paul and Nick Smith provided a sturdy 9/10 channel, plus additional vocal support throughout. Michael Moore, Lawrence (Lostock temp), Jay and Ryan worked diligently and made excellent runs to ensure dominance across the field.
The second half saw the triumphant return of Steve Mannion and Andy Leigh to the forwards, both exceptional ‘old-heads’ and backed up by the ever committed Troy. All 3 brought fresh-legs and decades of rugby skill to the field.
Macc upped the tempo to secure second half dominance, and despite some good defence by Toc H, our solid scrum and rolling forwards’ ball allowed Manny to carry the ball over the line. Toc returned in force and broke through the Macc defence to score and ultimately convert. Macc, ever defiant at such a thing, came back strong, worked well together, fought hard and ultimately, thanks to Matt (Lostock), put 2 more tries on the score-sheet.
In summary; everyone on the pitch gave their all and dominated a younger and fitter home team. There are a lot of positives to take into next week, when we entertain Hope Valley 1st team.
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