BOYS FRIDAY NIGHT UNDER THE LIGHTS
It was a great weekend for Macclesfield Rugby Club, starting on Friday evening when the Under 14s hosted Stockport’s Under 14s under the floodlights with several hundred members and parents supporting the youngsters; plus a big crowd of players from the Mini and Junior sections cheering on their team-mates. The atmosphere was massively encouraging and plenty of very good rugby was on display from both sides. The first game ended 10 – 19 to Stockport, with their other team also winning 15 – 26.
The first team travelled to Alnwick, the most northerly rugby club playing in England, and a difficult four plus hours coach trip. They were joined by a group of 14 of our supporters including president Peter Harper, Chairman Stephen Branch and Secretary Bob Cook, who with their wives, went up to Northumberland for the game and a long weekend. Their support must have made all the difference to our boys ensuring we snaffled the points winning a close encounter 19-18 in a highly contested game, again played in very difficult conditions. Head Coach Andy Appleyard commented: “The boys went really well in the first half playing into the conditions, we were disappointed that we missed a few chances near their line. We then saw Alnwick really up their game in the 2nd half, although again we weren’t on our best game the boys managed to grind out a win through our persistence to score. Really happy the lads didn’t give up and its clear to see that they have learnt to win ugly when needed”.
The win keeps our promotion push very much alive, with the top of the league reading:
Blaydon. played 21 points 80
Sandal. 21. 76
Billingham. 21. 75
Harrogate. 20. 75
Macclesfield. 20. 75
Any of these teams can win the league and with Harrogate and Macclesfield having a game in hand it becomes even tighter. Macclesfield have 4 games at Priory Park and 2 at home, they are all massively important and will be looking for the Macclesfield faithful to give them an edge.
Bowdon 2nd XV 7 Macclesfield 3rd XV 38
There was no game for the second team but the third team played away at Bowdon against their second team. Simon Grant, Team Manager, was delighted with a 38- 7 victory, saying “We were resoundingly deserving winners of what started out being a testing game up front on a very questionable pitch which definitely favoured their heavier pack of forwards”.
Macclesfield had to absorb early pressure before scoring two quick tries, first by prop Ben Holden breaking two tackles to touch down, the second by Harry King following a wonderful cross kick by fly half Tom Leicester. Towards the end of the half Cameron Mackay scored two further tries, the half time score was 26-0.
Facing s strong wind after the turn round Bowdon did manage a try but the thirds absorbed all their pressure and then just one minute before the final whistle Reece Melville scored in the corner following 8 phases of play.
According to Simon Grant everyone had a good game, especially the 3 Bens: Heginbotham, Hadfield and Holden, in Granty’s opinion the last named may soon feature in the first team squad, he improves with every game and crowned it off with a fine try. Other outstanding contributions were from Dom Sherratt and Pat Ellis. Man of the Match was Sam Bancroft, normally a centre but this week in the back row and didn’t look out of place completing 15 tackles.
Macclesfield 4th XV 35 Bowdon 3rd XV 10 points
With a 100% record in 2020 the formidable fourths won again, this week gracing the large first team pitch scoring 7 tries in the process. Credit and thanks go to Bowdon for coming to Priory Park with an incomplete team so we could actually have a rugby match.
It was a special win as six of their normal line-up had gone down to Twickenham to watch England beat Wales in the Six Nations tournament; they were really missed, seemingly very much quieter out there on the pitch.
The forwards were still very strong, Jim Welch had a huge game in the line-outs and Aled Williams at No 9 was a great link between the pack and the back division, scoring one of the tries. Jim Curtis and Geoff Chan provided their evergreen experience, both being aged in their later 50s. Unluckily Steve Mannion had to be helped from the pitch just before half time with a recurrence of his calf injury, it was so painful he could hardly walk off the playing area.
Other tries were scored by Rob McLeod, assisted by Kieran Merriman, two by winger Tom Watson, a further two by Ryan Brown and Dominic McCarthy rounded off the scoring.
Captain on the day Nick Smith was not euphoric in the post match huddle, his view it had been a workmanlike performance with occasional coruscating flashes from the centres and back three. He was pleased to have so many players available they even managed to loan Bowdon a couple to equal the sides out.
The low point in the game was a Macc player suffering an off the ball incident to the head which resulted in concussion. Fortunately a CT scan showed no brain bleed or fracture. There’s no place in our sport for this type of foul play, he will miss a week off work and has been advised not to drive, and obviously out of the game for three weeks; the Club sends their best wishes for a complete and speedy recovery.
Next week will be a crunch game, away to league leaders Marple 2s who beat the fourth team before Christmas. This Macclesfield side have their sights firmly fixed on the Cup game in four weeks, away against Preston Grasshoppers. Even though they are the form team, losses in the first half of the season probably means that promotion out of this division is now not feasible.
Macclesfield v Wirral, Saturday 14th March, 2.30 KO
Another massive game for Macclesfield after a very narrow win at Wirral earlier in the season 17-19, nothing will be taken for granted – come and be the boys 16th man. Even better book in for our Six Nations Steak and Ale Pie, chips and peas, followed by Cheese and Biscuits, book online: https://www.macclesfieldrufc.co.uk/event/macc-v-wirral/