Clubman Week Commencing 10.02.2020

A good day for Macclesfield – but a big challenge awaits!

Another excellent away win scoring 6 tries, with a bonus point, keeps Macclesfield top of the league. It was a tough game just south of the border, with the travelling Macc lads running out 29 – 40 winners against Carlisle’s Cumbrian muscle. Billingham’s continued poor form means that next week’s opponents, Sandal, moved up into a deserved fourth position. Sandal will present a stern test next Saturday; they are the form-side, their only losses being against the top- teams this season. The boys will be hoping for another boisterous crowd to “Whaa-Hoo” them to another bonus point victory. There is a Club lunch before the game, open to all, just book in, for the full match-day experience: https://www.macclesfieldrufc.co.uk/event/macc-v-sandal

Up-front challenge against Carlisle
Up-front challenge against Carlisle

Macclesfield 2nd XV 59 Birkenhead Park 2nd XV 5

At Priory Park the second team completely overwhelmed Birkenhead Park, winning 59-5.  Our visitors must be thanked, their club is currently not in a good place and they came without a competitive front row, so right from the start the scrums were uncontested.

Macclesfield 2s scored 9 tries including a 20 minute hat trick by Lloyd Smith-Coates, who unfortunately injured a shoulder and had to leave the fray.  Other tries by Pete Milne (2) and a brace by the excellent Dom Sheratte, Rick Hopkin and Jack Caswell also chipped in with one each; Jack Taylor had a wonderful day off the tee, converting seven. The match was a complete all round team display everyone having good constructive games with Harry Jackson at number 9 nominated as Man of the Match.

Glossop 2nd XV 20 Macclesfield 3rd XV 14

After managing to field a bare 15 at the 11th hour on Friday night, in thanks mainly to the 4th team conceding, Macc 3s took to the field at a very blustery Glossop against a 2nd team riding high in the league, currently in 3rd place.

Unfortunately Macclesfield did not have a competitive front row so the scrums were uncontested from the start. Macc started brightly and through an early penalty took a 3-0 lead but having to go uncontested at scrum time did them no favours, as their very robust No 8 from a steady platform scored two well taken tries.

Macc got dragged into a forward battle with Glossop, with the plan of shipping the ball out wide going to pot, as Glossop took control up front for the majority of the first half. However the impressive Max Russell made an excellent break from just over the half way to pass outside to Brad Atherton and with Max looping round on his own, scored in the corner to make the half-time score 20 – 7, Tom Jennings kicking an excellent conversion.

The second half was spent mostly in Macc’s half but some very good defending kept Glossop out, with no further scores. In the final 10 minutes Max again broke from his own half and passed to George Hodgkinson who scored under the posts, again converted to leave the final score at 20-14.

A game that Macclesfield could have won at the death but a high penalty count against them really did the damage and made it difficult. Players of note were: Pat Ellis, Harry Grant, George Hodgkinson and Cerith Perarce who was visiting us from South Wales.

Many thanks to Oil Wilson, Aled Williams and Sam Bancroft for playing in the forwards in positions completely alien to them. And lastly a big thank you to Nick Smith (the real Nick Smith!) along with Jack Nicholson for stepping up from the 4s at such a late notice. 

At the Club…

On Friday evening the Under 10s held a three-way festival of rugby, inviting Congleton and Sandbach Rugby Clubs to Priory Park. At Under 10 the results and scores are largely irrelevant, the coaches want their charges to be committed and love their rugby.  Manager Tristan Wood was delighted with such a successful evening, with players all having a thoroughly enjoyable night. 

Clubman was present at Priory Park on Thursday watching the first team squad in their training session as they prepared for their encounter with Carlisle. Observing the boys going through their routines is impressive; by Thursday the coaches Andy Appleyard and Rick Jones have analysed the video of the previous game against Harrogate, also obtaining a huge amount of information of their upcoming opposition. All this is used to brief the players about patterns of play and how they anticipate the game will develop.

After their high protein, low carbohydrate meal they were addressed by Jack Salem, from Gawsworth, who is a hydration and nutrition expert from Hallam and Loughborough Universities.  Jack advised the players of their eating habits, especially how to manage the intake on Saturdays before the game.  It was noticeable none of the players were drinking beer or lager; they all deemed it too close to game-time.

Head Coach Andy Appleyard often takes the team through a PowerPoint presentation about tactics, positional play, and attacking and defensive formations.  All this thoroughness is reflected in results, which is one of the reasons why we’re top of the league; the old maxim failure to prepare is to prepare for failure, certainly doesn’t apply.

There’s a group of volunteers whom supporters see every home game; this is the six or seven people who operate the gate, charging for admission, selling programmes and directing cars.  Alan Cope has assumed organising this team; against Harrogate were: Jane Harper, Helen Holden, Mark and Katie Reddiough and Sarah Tobin-Flynn; they are augmented by Colin Joyce, Keith Dobson, Ray Richardson, Mike Keeling and Councillor Nick Mannion in rotation.

Guys you do a brilliant job, the gate money is so important it’s a major source of revenue for the Club.  We respect that you’re often wet, cold and un-thanked for your services; Clubman acknowledges you and thanks you on behalf of MRUFC.

A Coach’s Profile

Rick Jones Macclesfield Forwards’ Coach
Rick Jones Macclesfield Forwards’ Coach

The spotlight now falls on Rick Jones, forwards coach for first and second team squads.  He’s proudly the middle generation of massive past and present contributors to MRUFC, father Pete played for many seasons and was Club President for 6 years. Both Pete and Rick have their names on the honours board for completing 500 senior games.

Sam Jones, Rick’s son is currently doing a great job as captain of our second team so the Jones dynasty covers the past, the present and the future if the Club.

Jonah was born in Macclesfield and attended Macclesfield High School, which wasn’t actually a rugby school, he honed his skills with our Juniors and Colts, playing just one season in the backs before becoming an outstanding back row breakaway forward. The position ideally suited his skill sets; he was very quick, and always first to the breakdown. Rick says: “I loved the rucking game turning over the opposition possession, grubbing for the ball on the ground doing the dirty unseen work”.

He had four years as Club Captain and was selected for Cheshire. Unfortunately that was the year of the Mad Cow Disease, all their games were cancelled, and he was never actually awarded his cap!

After moving to our neighbours Wilmslow, where he coached for 7 years, he has fortunately returned to Priory Park. He loves the Club and is delighted with the way his ideas are shaping up.  Along with Head Coach Andy Appleyard, our forwards, in both top teams, are brilliantly drilled in scrums, line outs, rucking and mauling; and are certainly the best in their respective divisions. The old adage applies: forwards win games, backs merely decide by how many points.  It’s therefore no surprise that we top North Premier and at the moment looking favourites for promotion.

Jonah has never really retired from playing; he’s hoping to get the call, to turn out for one of our sides before the season ends.  He’s great friends with Manny, Boz and Scotty who play for the fourth team and looks enviously at their involvement, saying “there’s no substitute for the on-pitch and dressing room brotherhood.

Another aspect of his commitment with the Club is that he’s just finished all the sanitary installations for our new toilets, an enormous improvement to the Clubhouse.

He still trains regularly four times a week and also assists Giles Heatherington and Pete Langley to prepare the King’s School XVs, and if his diary allows, that’s where he is on Saturday mornings.

With such a busy life he really loves his family holidays, the Jones family has recently visited the Canaries, Maldives and Portugal.  If it fits he’s hoping to go on the social Rugby Tour to Majorca. For this to happen he first needs Macclesfield to have achieved promotion, as there’s a clash of dates between the play offs and the tour. We all hope to see you Jonah; out here in Palma!


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