Clubman Week Commencing 17.02.2020


There was a great deal of optimism at Priory Park as the teams took the pitch.  Macclesfield were riding high on top of the league with our opponents sitting fourth.  Four matches were scheduled at home but storm Dennis rendered pitches unfit, and second, third and fourth team games were all postponed. In the only remaining game, the first team were defeated by Sandal. The encounter was not much of a spectacle, largely due to the wind and rain. In the second half, although the elements were largely in Macclesfield’s favour, the pitch deteriorated to an extent that it made open play virtually impossible. Head Coach, Andy Appleyard, in his post match sound-bite said: “Conditions made flowing rugby very difficult”, but added it was the same for both sides; “Macclesfield made too many errors and at times took the wrong choices”.  He was proud of the team’s commitment but was as disappointed as his players with the outcome. One player that did stand-out in the mud was young Harry Harding, who improves week-on-week. His efforts were a man-of-the-match performance that was recognised in the Clubhouse after cleaning up from the mud bath.

Harry Harding collecting his MOTM tankard
Harry Harding collecting his MOTM tankard

The defeat drops the team down to third place, with seven games remaining. Whilst the loss is a setback there is still a good chance of finishing in the top two positions and the opportunity of returning to National League rugby. If Macclesfield can win the next six games it could present an exciting climax for the last game of the season against Blaydon at Priory Park.

The spirit in the Clubhouse was again noticeable on Saturday, with most of the players from the abandoned matches watching the First XV.  Since the Spiral Bar was opened last season, the atmosphere is infectious, all the current players mix together with the retired ones, committee members and visiting dignitaries. Macclesfield also welcomed Prestbury Probus Club for lunch and the match; they have been annual visitors for a number of seasons and really enjoy their day at the Club, some visiting throughout the season. After the match they remarked what a great day they had had and what a difference the refurbished Clubhouse was.

Macclesfield Walking Rugby

Every Thursday evening, when the senior squad session is taking place, a group of walking Rugby players go through their paces.  This section was originally the brainchild of David Mair, Mike Keeling, Chairman Stephen Branch and Club partner Mike Runcie. Every week 25 turn up and play for an hour, the laws are different, they don’t have scrums or line-outs, and running is obviously outlawed, however it has been observed that many do break into a quick jog to get into position. The 50 walking rugby players now have their own distinctive Club shirts, sponsored by a number of Club Members.

Generally it’s played in good humour and friendly sportsmanship; in the way of rugby men the world over they retire to the bar afterwards and ‘big up’ their own contributions to the proceedings.

Macclesfield’s unsung volunteer

Derek Laidlaw, at one time, was Clubman’s former partner on the side-line; we were both 4th officials for the Club for 5 years, during the time when the 1stXV played in higher divisions.  Fourth Officials duties include timing the sin-bin, organising the replacements bench, recording all the events during the match and forwarding all these happenings onto the Rugby Union at Twickenham.

Derek, in the latter part of his rugby career was a major part of the Veterans’ team and captain for several seasons, he now spends most of his Mondays in the Priory Park laundry sorting and washing the kit for all the teams, a huge task, with over 70 sets of shirts, shorts and socks for the senior teams, then there can also be Colts and Lady’s team strips that all need cleaning and drying.  Imagine how muddy they were this week! And then on Saturday Derek was seen pre match organising the car parking! To say he is unsung is not strictly true as a few seasons ago he was presented with the Cheshire RFU Volunteer of the Year Award.

Thanks for your huge contribution to the smooth running of our club.

Peter Harper (left) presenting Derek Laidlaw with his award.
Peter Harper (left) presenting Derek Laidlaw with his award.

Fourths looking to The Cup!

Macclesfield Rugby fourth team have missed two successive Saturday matches – this week due to Storm Dennis rendering the pitch waterlogged and unplayable.  Captain Jeremy Bostock was left frustrated and disappointed; his side were very strong on paper despite the absence of Nick Smith and Ryan Brown.

The opposition this week would have been Bowdon who they have already beaten twice this season, in the league and the cup, the 4ths were eagerly anticipating playing them at home, but the match will now be re arranged for a later date.

The team has developed a wonderful team spirit and has won all their games in 2020. The reason for this success is the massive set of forwards who overpower opponents to secure lots of clean possession for their nimble backs to exploit.  They are not a great defensive team, but in reality don’t need to because they usually have the greatest share of the ball. All this brawn does mean that occasionally they’re embarrassed by shortage of mobility however the backs are quick and love to counter attack.

Bostock maintains his main objective this term is winning the cup, although they are going well in the league; but he would be delighted with some silverware.  He’s very pleased with the enthusiasm of the side and the development of their wonderful team-spirit; everyone wants to justify his faith. Their disappointment with no games was apparent but they’re all now focussed on winning next week’s fixture, which is a cup encounter.  Come on guys give us a victory.

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