By Rick Jones

Macclesfield 1st XV took a rest on Saturday while most of their North Premier opponents were on a catch-up weekend. The only Club result was for the second team, who are going through resurgence in form. The 2nd XV travelled to Cross Green to take on regular foes Preston Grasshoppers in the Quarter Final of the NOWIRUL Cup. The 2nd team squad have become more settled, in tandem with the 1st team. The boys will have been in a confident mood on the coach as their previous meetings had resulted in a draw at Priory Park and a win away from home Preston.

Playing away from home on an artificial pitch, Macclesfield 2’s had it all to do if they were going to win this one. The Club had put on a coach for the team to travel together, and the players were focused and ready for battle.

A strong side had been selected; Captain Sam Jones was back in the team, after 1st team duty, along with Pete Milne, James Cross and Elliott Alston. They would be playing into a very strong wind and a big Preston side who wanted to run hard and test Macclesfield’s defence.

The defence was up to the test, with big tackles going in all over the pitch, particularly from the back row of Evan Wynne, Sam Jones and Ben Hadfield, who were covering every inch of Preston’s plastic pitch. The Macclesfield scrum was strong, causing Preston trouble on their own ball, meaning that they could never settle into their phase play. Dale Crompton deserves a huge shout-out for stepping into the loose head prop role, and making it look easy; hopefully he will keep playing there and become a very good player.

But it would be Preston that would draw first blood, winning a kickable penalty that was duly converted to take the early lead 3 – 0.

With 5 minutes to go until halftime, Preston got a chance 7m out, a few drives by their large forwards, set up their Skipper Harry Holden who finally broke Macc’s defensive efforts to score; the conversion was kicked and it was 10 – 0 to Preston at half time.

Coach Russ Tomlinson’s team-talk was positive: “stay calm, keep the ball and the chances will come”.

The second half didn’t start well for Macc, giving away a penalty, for hands-in-at-the-ruck. The Preston scrum half, Jake Squirrel, slotted the kick to make it 13-0.

There was still plenty of time on the clock for Macclesfield, and Scrum Half, Dan Martin’s sniping runs would get the backs on the front foot;  Isaac Reaney, at 10, distributing well to Pete Milne and Tom Leicester, who were linking well in the centre channels. The magic feet of Alex Jakubowski, at fullback, were mesmerising when he came into the line; and Lloyd Smith-Coates on the wing was proving to be a handful every time he got the ball, making good ground and sucking in 3 Preston defenders every time, in an attempt to stop him!

Macclesfield were now starting to gain territory up the pitch, with some big carries from James Cross who was starting to influence the game, especially with his soft hands in the pass.

After one of Carl Droy’s many carries, Captain Jones picked up and smashed his way over the try line with help from Elliot Alston & Jonny Thompson, Isaac Reaney added the extras 13-7. Carl Droy, at 18 years of age, is going to be a great player; following in his father’s footsteps he’s a grafter who punches well above his weight.

The game ebbed and flowed, both ways, but mainly from Macc giving the ball away cheaply. The line out had struggled to function all game, mainly due to the wind, but also due to some skulduggery by Preston, which was not being picked up by the referee.

A raking kick, from Isaac Reaney, put Macclesfield deep into Preston’s 22. It presented an opportunity not to be spurned, and it wasn’t. Jonny Thompson rose the highest, stealing the Preston throw. The chance was on, Cross carried hard again, bumping a couple of tacklers and setting the ball up for the impressive Carl Droy to pick the ball and barge his way over the line. Reaney was left with a difficult conversion to take the lead, but he held his nerve and the ball sailed between the posts; with just two minutes left to play Macclesfield had taken the lead for the first time 13 – 14.

Captain, Sam Jones, took the kick off and carried hard; Martin picked and made a fantastic break, getting the team to the half way line; the referee signalled time, the ball was booted from the pitch and the celebrations began.

It had been a brilliant win; the whole team had worked hard, and never gave up – team-spirit was off the charts! “The bus journey home should be a good one”, said a very pleased Russ Tomlinson, and it was.

Macclesfield now play Blackburn 2’s at home in the semi-final.”


WEEKEND ROUNDUP - and what a weekend. The 2nd XV took on Rossendale's 2nd XV and whilst not getting the win another FIVE senior colts made their debut and did themselves proud on the field against a huge opposition.Meanwhile, Macclesfield Womens Rugby continued their unbeaten streak against Ashbourne Women's Rugby , and the Colts put in a good shift in a 'Cup Preparation' friendly against Heaton Moor. Away from Priory Park the U10s smashed Kirkby Lonsdale Festival and the U14s were crowned Bowl Winners over at Sandal Festival.Even further afield the U15s were enjoying the sunshine and some rugby over in Barcelona - with a narrow defeat to Rugby Castillon (43 - 38 but some great memories made! ... See MoreSee Less
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🚨BOOK NOW FOR THE BEST SHOW IN TOWN🚨Fancy a laugh? Book in for our ‘Stand Up for your Mental Health Comedy Night’ taking place on 26th April 2024. Featuring a host of fantastic comedians from RockCentral Promotions 🎭Once booked start thinking of your prize for the NAFFLE, which will take place on the night. There will be a prize for the WOERST NAFFLE Prize on the night!!!All money raised on the night will go towards LooseHeadz amazing work in the Rugby community. #MentalHealthMatters #TackleTheStigma #rugby ... See MoreSee Less
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🚨SUNDAY FUNDAY🚨 get on down for a Double Header of live Rugby as the Colts take on Heaton Moor Rugby Club Colts followed by Macclesfield Womens Rugby .v. Ashbourne Women's Rugby .Bars open from 11:00 🍻 🏉 ... See MoreSee Less
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All the action THIS WEEKEND at your Macclesfield Rugby Club!Saturday the 2nd XV head over to Rossendale Rugby Club with THREE more colts making their debut. Live scores on our X account (@MaccRugby) from 🕒3:00. If you're not heading over why not come down to the 🌀Spiral Bar 🍻from 🕑2:00 as England Rugby Red Roses take on @Rugby Scotland in the Guinness Women's Six Nations.On Sunday we have a #doubleheader as our Colts host Heaton Moor Rugby Club in a Friendly pre-cup final game, followed by our Macclesfield Womens Rugby taking on Ashbourne Women's Rugby - bars open from 11:00.Come on down and let's ... See MoreSee Less
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Annie James - Macclesfield Womens Rugby 1st XV player is WELL on her way with her challenge of doing a 10K a month for a year!!! She is raising money for The Alzheimer's Society and of course this week is 💜 Alzheimer's Awareness week 💜!!! Don't forget whilst Annie does these 10Ks - she is now doing Trek26 (Alking Marathon), and she STILL finds the energy to play for Sheffield Hallam University AND Macclesfield Womens Rugby!!! A true athlete and formidable sports person.If you can donate to Annie's cause please donate using the link below!! ... See MoreSee Less
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