Last week saw the next step towards a return to rugby, with the RFU’s announcement that
their roadmap plan will now move to the third staged progression, to include: larger group
training sessions with a game structure of ‘touch-rugby’. The aim is to progress to inter-club
competitions, in September, prior to full contact rugby. After some intensive fitness
sessions, the squad now takes a two week break before returning to training, to then
include the RFU’s Ready4Rugby non contact game. It will be a welcomed change for all
concerned, but Andy Appleyard, and his coaching team, will be well aware that there is no
substitute for competitive, full-contact rugby to gage just where the players are, to face the
Whilst all of last season’s squad has re-committed for the season ahead, there has been
plenty of activity in player recruitment; with confirmation that the following new players to
the Club have signed contracts for the coming season:
Danny Martin (Scrum-Half) joins Macclesfield from Aldwinians, where he was named as one
of the players of the season in the ADM league; Danny has shown tremendous fitness levels
in training, and his introduction would allow the coaches the flexibility to both provide cover
for Sam Stelmazsek or consider Sam in other positions (Sam has caps for Poland playing
wing and scrum-half).
Druw Fray (Openside/Blindside Prop, Second Row and Number 8) Druw has played
Cheshire U20s, for MMU and joins the Club from Rossendale. He’s a big and powerful player
and his positional diversity is an excellent option for the team, in a league with only 3
Elliot Alston (Second Row/ Number 8) Elliot joins from old rivals Winnington Park, he’s
another big and powerful player looking to step up his playing level after playing well last
season for Winnington Park.
Sim Meek (Prop) Sim is a big unit who will be a handful in the scrum, he joins the squad
after taking a season out; prior to that he was with Wilmslow.
Andy Appleyard also awaits the signatures of three others, all big, powerful players: two
Second Row/6s and a Centre/Full Back. Two of these players have had previous successful
stints with the Club. Another to rejoin Macc is Brendan Berry, now even stronger and faster,
and according to Analyst Matt Coleridge could play Front Row, Number 8 or Centre; and
there are others – watch this space.
The player succession at Macclesfield continues with five Youth players graduating into the
senior squad: speedster Tom Fairclough; Scrum Half James Board (Pete Board’s younger brother); utility back Tom Blackwell who the Club hopes will be joined by his brother Harry
for a second stint; Centre Harry King, like his father Tony, is very quick around the park, but
a much bigger unit; and Scrum Half Alex Davies, Alex, King’s School Player of the season,
follows in his father Rob’s footsteps and, when the time comes, will no doubt look forward
to playing with brother Will.
The squad looks to have real strength-in-depth, with cover in all positions and importantly
several players that can play in various positions, which is a real advantage in North Premier.
This latest step-change in the RFU’s road map will excite the players on their return, but if
we are to start the season away at Northwich on the 10 th October there are several steps yet
to be taken – let’s hope that the return of Premiership Rugby on Friday speeds up the
“WHY DON’T WE BUILD A PETANQUE PISTE?”
The WhatsApp words of the Club’s President, Peter Harper, uttered to the Vets Golf Society
during lockdown, came to fruition on Saturday – after not a little labouring by the band of
volunteers! With the help of sponsors Marchington Stone and JC Steel, and other kind
donations, the Piste has been completed for the enjoyment of all Rugby Club members.
An opening speech was given by Michelle Cook, introduced by Chairman Stephen Branch as:
“The French Minister for all forms of Boules and President of the Global Pétanque Society”.
As her speech was given in French the assumption was that she gave permission for we
English to enjoy their, French game of Boules. After a suitable English response from the
Chairman, the President cut the virtual ribbon (you had to have been there) and play
commenced. Several very competitive games took place including an all-ladies affair as
everyone for once enjoyed some Saturday afternoon sun. Please note that the Priory Park
Beer Garden is open every Saturday afternoon, as well as Thursday evenings.
The Pétanque Piste has been created for all of the members and their families to enjoy. The
ground around it will be developed further with some fixed seating for those waiting to play.
The Piste is free to use and no booking system is being employed. There is room for two
games to take place at once, but if the Piste is being used on your arrival, challenge the
winners, and take your turn.