Macclesfield 22 – York 21
By Stephen Branch
On Saturday, the Club hosted The President’s lunch, and was privileged to welcome Dylan Hartley, England Captain between 2016 and 2018 and England’s most capped hooker of all time. Dylan achieved 97 caps over his career and won both the Grand Slam with England in 2016 and the Cooke Cup series against Australia 3-0 in the same year.
Dylan Hartley meets his hero
The lunch was a sell out and against this backdrop the 1st team took on a strong, determined and well-disciplined side from York. The teams were well matched on paper being 6th and 7th in the league and with 10 points and two wins apiece. The game was a dogged affair and York put a lot of pressure deep inside the Macclesfield half with a strong and well drilled pack, and some good direction from their number 10 Declan Cusack, who had a great game. The pressure told when, after 23mins, Macclesfield winger Lloyd Coates was yellow carded for use of the elbow. Sam Taylor the York winger scored from a lovely cross field kick by his fly half. The try was converted and York were ahead by 0-7 with Macclesfield now down to 14 men. The pressure remained on Macclesfield who had yet to get out of their own half for any period of time. The ball was kept tight amongst the forwards until the referee blew his whistle for a red card infringement by James Oliver the Macclesfield number 6 who left the field for the remaining 50 minutes of the game. A few minutes later York drew ahead by 0-13 from another penalty and Macclesfield were down to 13 players until Lloyds Coates had served his 10 mins in the sin bin. With the clock having gone in to the red to end the first half Macclesfield executed a great catch and drive from the line out on the York 5 metre line to score a much needed try by Captain and Club stalwart Sam Moss, in the corner. The conversion was missed and the teams went in at half time with Macclesfield trailing by 5-13.
Wilman crashes through tacklers to score
The second half began in a similar vein to the first with York putting all the pressure on the Macclesfield forwards with some well disciplined and determined direct rugby. The pressure paid off early when after only 3 minutes in to the half York went over for another try in the corner. Conversion missed and the lead extended to 5-18. Despite being down to 14 men Macclesfield managed to claw their way back in to the game and exert some pressure on York in their half. Having won a penalty, Macclesfield took advantage of a lineout on the York 5 metre line. No.8 Josh Redfern , who had a good game and demonstrated some great leadership, leapt like the proverbial Salmon to create a catch and drive which, after 8 phases of controlled rugby by the forwards resulted in Josh scoring. The try was converted by fly half Will Davies, and Macclesfield were back in the game at 12-18 with 19 minutes to go. The crowd were now getting behind the team and Macclesfield seemed to find the confidence, control and the game plan to keep pressure on the York side. A fabulous break-out run by Alex Davies took the home side right up to the York Line before a penalty was awarded to York. Undeterred and with the forwards exerting more pressure on the York scrum, Macclesfield won a penalty and scored after another catch and drive, off a well-executed lineout when Tight-head Prop, Aaron Wilman, picked up from the ensuing ruck, barging through several players to score. Will Davies converted to put the home side in the lead for the first time at 19-18 in the 59th minute.
With 11 minutes to go York made a determined effort to push back up the field. Both sides were tiring at this point and the pressure remained on Macclesfield with 14 men. The crowd was erupting at this stage in the game, with just one point separating the two sides. The pressure again told and York scored a penalty through Sam Taylor (No.11) to take them back in to the lead by 19-21 with just 7 minutes left on the clock. The Macclesfield lads showed huge determination and the momentum shifted again with York now back under pressure in their own half. Macclesfield won a penalty which was taken quickly by Alex Davies and caused a second penalty infringement by York within kicking distance of the posts. Will Davies converted the penalty to take the home side back in to the lead by 22-21. They hung on until the referee decided that full time was up and a very relieved Macclesfield kicked the ball in to touch.
This was a tough match against a good York side who had come to Macclesfield on the back of a 40 point win the previous week against Rossendale. Macclesfield remain 6th in the table just one point behind Lymm and four behind Billingham. Next match is at Priory Park v Sandal on the 16th October. Kick off 3pm.
After the match Dylan Hartley presented the man of the match award to the Macclesfield scrum half Alex Davies, who aged just 18 is in his debut season with the 1st team. Dylan was also presented with the No.2 shirt donated by Sam Moss which capped off a fabulous day at the Rugby Club. 140 people had sat down and enjoyed a superb lunch and another 400 had witnessed a hard-won victory on the pitch. Thank you to the sponsors on the day: The Edgar Brothers, Marchington Stone and Silicate Spray Solutions, whose support enabled the Club to generate much needed income on the day. If there is anyone out there who would like to consider becoming a Club Sponsor, please contact the Club. All contact details are on the Club Website. Also on the website is the Club social calendar so watch out for future events such as The Stand-Up Comedy show this weekend on the 8th October; the Priory Park Horror – A Witches Curse from the 27th to the 31st October and the Oktoberfest on the 30th October featuring The Jager Maestros Bavarian Oompah Band and fancy dress.
GIRLS & WOMEN’S RUGBY
Girls Rugby Pitch-Up and Play and senior Women’s fixture v Moore RUFC
U18 Girls at Pitch-up and Play
Sunday saw the inaugural Girls Rugby Pitch up and Play event held at Macclesfield RUFC followed by the first senior Women’s fixture against Moore RUFC. With 7 clubs involved (Macclesfield, Littleborough, Wirrall, Longton, Stockport, Caldy and Preston Grasshoppers) over 160 girls attended, from U13s, U15s and U18s with high spirits and eager to play, the excitement was palpable. For many this was their first or second match, others had played before however COVID interrupted their progression.
The fist games kicked off at 1 PM, and sounds of girls playing rugby filled Priory Park. The U18s age group played four matches (20 minutes each) so all clubs played each other (Macclesfield doesn’t have an U18 Girls team – YET). The games were physical with some excellent rugby from all the teams. All the girls came off after every game with the smiles, and eager to go again. So much so they were happy to play with other teams who were low on numbers.
U15 Girls in action
The U13s & U15s had some great experience and well needed game time! Mixed teams that all wanted to play for each other and confidence growing as each minute passed by. Physicality was high throughout all games played.
The girl’s from each team having big smiles on for the afternoon and the skills shown are incredibly promising for the future of the girl’s and women’s game! This wasn’t just from Macc but across all those teams on the day.
Whilst the U18s finished at 3PM (due to the Women’s game), the U13s and U15s were still going strong at 4PM! Smiles were to be seen all around and all looking forward to the next event. A hugely successful afternoon for Macclesfield Rugby Club; the future looks very bright indeed!
Anyone interested in joining the Macclesfield Girls Rugby Team should contact the coaching team on: Maccrugbygirls@gmail.com
Following a fantastic event with the Girls age Grades the senior women played an Inner warrior fixture against the Women from Moore Rugby Club. The Women’s game is still at the development stage locally but the squad is growing in number every week and enjoyment is the order of the day alongside the development of core skills and positional play. The social aspect of the game is alive and well in the Women’s squad and the squad participate fully in the social life of the Club. Macclesfield has the ambition to develop a senior Women’s squad to play league rugby in the next few years and, as the numbers and the skill levels grows the aim is to have a league side and a social side for the girls age grades to aspire to. Training takes place twice a week on a Tuesday and a Thursday under the watchful eye of coaches Pip Gregory, Simon Dempsey, Dom McCarthy and Nathan Thomas. Thursday is also Club night and the bar is open for food and drinks after training; it’s a great opportunity to mix with other players training on the night and the walking rugby and touch rugby groups. If you are interested in joining us then please go to the Cub Website and look up contacts or come down on a training night. No previous rugby experience needed. You are guaranteed to enjoy it.
THE MIGHTY FOURTHS
Terry Robson reports
Following the Covid break the 4th team have had three fixtures as they seek to re-establish the squad. Team stalwarts Jack Nicholson and Troy Cocker have moved away from Macclesfield, Scotty Goodfellow is temporarily unavailable and Steve Mannion and Jim Parsons have yet to take the field. Skipper Jeremy Bostock is actively recruiting so if you are interested in playing social rugby come on down to Macclesfield rugby Club on a Club night Thursday from 7pm and you will be made very welcome. It has been great to see some old faces back this season: Matthew Burton, Andrew Foster, Fergus Green and Tim Kerr are all back in the fold. The more the merrier. It is not unusual for player numbers to be light over the first few weeks of a new season but the extended break from rugby has clearly made the problem worse and the 4th team have had to ask players to play up in to the 3rds and 2nds in order that they can honour fixtures. The 4th team play mostly at Vets level and anyone, irrespective of experience or ability is welcome.
The Mighty Macclesfield Fourth Team
Despite the challenges Jeremy (Boz) and his cohort have played every fixture so far this season and enjoyed being back with their boots on. The squad is knitting together well and there is a good balance between the serious nature of the Rugby and the equally serious nature of the social elements that follow.
Boz is a great leader. He has well over 500 games under his belt and has represented the Club at 1st team level for many years. Others such as Paul and Nick Smith, Ryan Brown, Mad dog Downes’ in the backs. Simon Street, Jason Walker, Mike Dale, Jim Welch and Geoff Chan in the forwards form the core of the squad and can be relied on to turn out every week and enjoy the banter on and ff the field of play. Anything to avoid shopping!!
The 4ths are at home this Saturday at Priory Park. If you are interested, please come down and introduce yourself to the team.