Marple Young Guns v Macc Old Men, March 2005
Marple Seconds had already won their league with points to spare and several games left to go. They were feeling pretty pleased with themselves, as you can understand. Macclesfield Vets didn’t have a league to play in; we just played ‘Friendlies’ each week, so there were no standards by which to judge.
By a quirk of fate, they had no game and neither did the Vets, so we both ended up in what was known as ‘The Pool’. Marple were too precious to travel down to Macc and insisted on a Home game. So the Vets set off for Marple. On arrival, the opposition could be seen running around doing set drills, lineouts, back-line moves etc.
The changing area at Marple is just one big room for both sides and as we were getting ready to play, they wandered back in for their final preparations; Keith Roberts hearing one of them say: “They’re just a f****** bunch of old men”.
Well, that bunch of old men included some pretty tough cookies and some very skilled players. We shunted their pack all over the park, smashed them whenever they ran at us, stole their lineout ball and basically made them look very ordinary. Our lines of running were good, we passed well and our support play was top drawer.
Their Coach, (Yes! They had their own Coach), was incensed. He was shouting and bawling so much that the referee sent him off! Final score: Marple 10 – Macclesfield 40.
This was a team that trained twice a week and had a Coach. Vets training was beer; which only goes to prove – “training is for people who need it”. Mike Keeling
The Lost Season
They were the golden ones; Los Galácticos; the once in a generation team that would sweep all before them.
With the tenacity and guile of Herbert bursting through the three-quarters; Simpson’s strength and unwillingness to ever relent in defence or on the counter; Lamptey’s electric pace on the wing; a list of superstars long enough to fill two if not three-team rosters.
But what happened to these uber-kind; these talents of which the world has so rarely seen, whom the cognoscenti had labelled “the future of rugby”. What has become of them? Where are they now? Where, indeed, are the lucrative sponsorships and endorsements that such high flying sports stars have long come to expect?
April 2020 was to be the first testing of their mettle, the old foe visiting for a no quarter asked no quarter given must-win debut match. The subsequent off-season training was planned, and a 20/21 season mapped out – dominating the North West and environs with dazzling play and exemplifying the core values….. BUT a global pandemic halted the inexorable march of these heroes to their
rightful place in the hall of fame. No matches; No tags; limited training; sanitisation breaks; and long periods of nothing!
The MRUFC 20/21 U7’s will resume the fulfilment of their destiny next season. You have been warned. Rick Cotton
Losing the match to win the Championship
The most competitive of seasons came down to the last match at the Echo Arena, Macclesfield needing just two points but against the high-scoring Darlington Mowden Park. With ten minutes left to play DMP were in theory in the box-seat 28-17 ahead, with a try bonus point.
What followed was the most exciting, pulsating, a heart-pounding live sport that I have ever witnessed. As the clock ticked down Macclesfield was relentless, wave after wave of attack, but if they didn’t score they were out of it, Darlington couldn’t help but infringe under the continuous pressure, and a yellow was shown. With now only 14 men we were sure they would crack, but the home side would not splinter and surrender their line.
The heavens opened and stair-rods instantly flooded the surface. Scrum-Half Jordon Brookes orchestrated the forwards as they charged again, 10 metres out; pick-and-go stopped just 2 metres short; Ed Stobbart darts in to help secure the ball, it’s shipped open and Mantell charges again, the defence is there but it quick ball and as Jordan has his hands on the slimy ball Tom Eaton screams from the blind-side. In his haste, it’s an awful pass, 6 inches above the ground and 6 feet in front of Eaton; somehow Eats has it, and across the rain-drenched surface he desperately struggles to gain a purchase and win the race to the line; he’s not going to make it; he dives; too soon; but like a children’s water-slide he shoots forward; he’s over, and immediately engulfed by bodies! The crowd roar; but the referee calls for his assistant and all is quiet; his arm shoots up, and there’s uproar; Billy Robinson sprints towards us, two fists pumping the air, we turn to commiserate with the locals, but they’ve disappeared! The game is over with only the conversion to take before the Championship presentation. Tom steps up, slips in the wet and it still sails between the posts; 28-24 – it was Skipper’s day and there was much fun to follow. Wilkey
It wasn’t the Waa-Waa’s of old, this was a proper team who came to win a game of rugby and arguably we were lucky to come away with the points. With 4 teams at home, we drew the short straw and played on the small training pitch in a stiff breeze. Weathering the Wimmers’ storm and defending manfully, it was 0 – 0 at half time and with the wind at our backs we should have killed them off, but it was they who took 7 from a breakaway try. Not long after, Danny sneaked in for a five-pointer. At the death one of theirs high tackled Florence (Phil Atkinson), Harpo blew his whistle and we took the 3 to win by one point. But at a price; the tackle had spun Florence and he landed badly – later revealed to be a broken fibula – bad news indeed! Wimmers were rightly dis-chuffed by the result but the records will show that we won it.