Macclesfield 55 – Rossendale 28

By David Wilkinson

It was a busy and noisy day at Priory Park, as the Macclesfield Ladies were entertained during their lunch, while raising funds for local charities. The previous two encounters up in Lancashire had been in poor conditions, with equally poor performances, that had given the points to Rossendale. Saturday had the potential to be a completely different game, a fast-track in perfect conditions.

Harry Oliver carves through the gap for the opening try

Macclesfield were quick out of the blocks, pressure on the evergreen Liam McGovern, won a scrum on the visitor’s 22; for what would result in the simplest of 1st phase tries, with Harry Blackwell running hard between the Centres, it was sufficient to draw the attention of the outside man and a perfectly timed pass would put Harry Oliver in, to finish between the posts for all seven points.

Harry Oliver goes in for try number 2

From the restart it was all action, Macclesfield retained possession well, and the speed of their recycling produced a big overlap on the left, so much so that a big bouncing pass still left enough time for Miles Hall to draw the covering tackler, before releasing Harry Oliver for his brace of goals; it was 14 points to nil for the Macc lads after 10 minutes.

Dan Percival goes over for the third try

Shortly after the restart, Macclesfield got a good shove on at the scrum, Sam Stelmaszek harried his opposite number resulting in an attacking scrum for the home side. It was to be the same as before, a fast attack through the backs before a switch of play back to the left, gave Phil Laing time to interest the cover tacklers before shipping to Dan Percival to barge over; Oliver got the extras to put Macclesfield 21 points ahead.

Rossendale worked their way into Macclesfield’s 22 and after a clever loop by McGovern they won a penalty and took the scrum, which seemed strange at the time as they were under pressure at the previous one. They turned the tables and attacked right, then left, and right again until Inside Centre Lewis Allen found a gap to score their first; 21-7. Macclesfield wasted no time getting back on the score sheet, anther thundering drive from Harry Harding, took play deep into ‘dales half, play was switched quickly right, then back for another drive from Seb Pemberton, which stretched the defence, fast hands to the left found James Oliver in acres of space to sprint to the line unmolested.

Myles Hall showing his grit and determination

Macclesfield’s robust tackling kept Rossendale at bay before getting back on the attack, an injury to Harry Harding brought Elliot Alston on early, but Macclesfield were unrelenting in their attacks, and once again fast hands would find space out wide for Myles Hall to score on the left wing; 32 -7.

Rossendale won a penalty after the restart with McGovern putting the ball into the corner, but Macclesfield came away with the ball and returned play down the other end. After a couple of phases, that were going nowhere, the visitor’s 8 Liam Canning, received the ball out wide, made a dummy and set off at-a-pace, he swerved around the home side’s last defender for a run to the line and ‘dales second try; 32 – 14 at half-time.

Two phases after the restart, Macclesfield cleared the ball deep into the visitors half, to be collected by their speedy right winger, who ran cross-field to the left wing, where he found plenty of space, when the cover did arrive he flipped the ball over the Macclesfield defender’s head for the on-rushing left wing Anthony Bingham to race to the line; 32 – 21.

Sam Stelmaszek makes it look simple

A protracted period of scrappy play followed, with plenty of mistakes from both sides. Macclesfield worked their way deep into Rossendale’s half and chose to scrummage at a penalty, the scrum was solid, and James Oliver picked and passed for Sam Stelmaszek to go over for a 39 – 21 lead. Macclesfield would lose Dan Percival to a harmless seat-belt tackle, but they had been on their last warning. Both sides would have good attacking phases, but the visitors started to take chances, and from a looped pass Harry Oliver used his pace to get to the intercept to score under the posts; 46 – 21.

Seb Pemberton has just enough in his legs to go over for the final score

Rossendale would get their bonus-point try after quick ball and fast hands found Callum Whelan in space on the right, McGovern converted from the touchline for a clean-sweep of kicks; 46 – 28. Macclesfield were back in Rossendale’s half pressing for another score, but when a penalty came, they used a bit of game-management and took the three points. The visitors ran everything, but they eventually ran out of gas, Macclesfield overran them and Seb Pemberton beat two would-be tacklers for the final score; 55 – 21. Harry Oliver was awarded Man of the Match for his hat-trick and seven kicks, 30 points in all, only missing one kick, and that one hit the post.

Some of the broken bones on the injury list

It had been a game played in very good spirits, festival-rugby at times, in perfect conditions. Macclesfield’s first twenty minutes were the best that they had played all season, everything went right and they scored the points. Head Coach, Andy Appleyard had this to say: “I was very pleased how well the boys came back after the disappointment of the previous week. Besides working on our plays in the week, we had talked about our positivity, and staying focused during the game; applauding what goes right and dealing with what goes wrong positively. While there were a few mistakes it was great to see so much to applaud. We were clinical when it mattered, getting to the breakdown first and recycling quickly; it’s not something that’s always been the case, as being clinical requires a consistency in selection, which with all of the injuries has not been possible”. Selection problems will not abate this week, as the team will wait upon Harry Harding’s fitness, besides availability issues elsewhere. Wirral come to Priory Park on Saturday, and the Macclesfield faithful will be hoping for more of the same.

Marple 2nd 8 – Macclesfield  4th 17

By Terry Robson

This was the side’s first game of rugby for four weeks, matches have been missed due to player shortage and also for Covid reasons.  Captain Jeremy  Bostock  ensured his side were really fired up and motivated; they played with skill and speed showing an intensity that ensured they were on the front-foot for almost all of the encounter.

Boz had assembled most of his regular players with a couple of guests, so the normal front row of Jason Walker, Rufus Dixon along with himself, quite handsomely ruled  the formal scrummages.  They regularly pushed the Marple pack backwards and with Jim Welch, Matt Curtis and Simon Street they mauled and rucked very effectively maintaining their own possession and turning over opposition ball.

Man of the match this week was try scoring Jonny Thompson he ran belligerent with ball in hand, he’s  so difficult to tackle, he had eight charges upfield for a total of 150 yards.

The half backs, Paul Smith and Ben Heginbotham were the same pairing from 2019 so were familiar with each other’s positioning keeping the three quarter line well supplied with attacking opportunities.

Marple however were no pushover, they are after all a second team.  Late in the game they had a dangerous break out from defence to almost reach Macclesfield’s try line, a brilliant piece of covering and try saving tackle, by Pete Hardwick, prevented a score which would at that time have put the home side in the lead and could have easily altered the final result.  Unfortunately Pete  tweaked a hamstring and left the field, we all hope he’ll be healed up ready for next Saturday.

Boz himself had the misfortune to pull a knee ligament so Louis Smith entered the fray at half time, the other bench replacement Bill Withers had 30 minutes when he replaced Ruairi Blaney. The whole team stepped up to the plate admirably, it was an afternoon when temperatures were in the high 20s, it was good watching for the crowd,  two from Macclesfield and 10 from Marple. Actually the warm sunshine was so dehydrating that the referee sensibly blew for a water break midway through each half – very intelligent of the official who had an excellent afternoon of decision making.  There was a moment of hilarity when he adjudged full back Nick Smith had knocked on a high kick; Nick didn’t dispute the decision but his black glare spoke volumes.

It’s the fourth team’s last home fixture on Saturday against Old Bedians, a side we’ve faced twice a season over six years and mostly been victorious. In the league Macclesfield are not near enough to the top to be in the promotion mix but they do want to remain in this division.

After the game there was a lot of excited talk of the tour to Bilbao in Spain over weekend April  22nd to 24th, a squad of 40 players and supporters fly-out. Jason Walker has been the organiser for the last five tours and made a brilliant job of the arrangements, everyone is eagerly anticipating a great time after two years when for obvious Covid reasons nobody has been abroad since 2019.

Macclesfield RUFC U15s march on to the Cheshire Bowl Final

By Phil Mason

On Sunday Macclesfield U15s travelled to local rivals Wilmslow for the Cheshire Bowl Semi-Final.

Right from the kick off the Macclesfield team’s forward dominance was apparent giving the backs the opportunity to showcase their slick handling, culminating in 2 quick tries in the first 10 minutes. Wilmslow grew in to the game and were able to score a well executed team try but this merely served to re-energise Macclesfield who scored 2 more tries before the break – the pick of which being a well judged cross field kick by fly-half and captain Charlie Saunders which was claimed in the air by Zack Ransom who was able to drop over the line for the score.

Not-straight” this time, but a great cup win

The second half saw more of the same with Macclesfield’s work at the breakdown, led by Felix Oppenheimer, superb leading to multiple turnovers. Using quick turnover ball Macclesfield were able to continue to spin the ball wide enabling their outside backs Freddie Hogg, Ben Waller and Jacob McLean to run in well taken tries. Wilmslow managed 2 consolation tries, one being an interception, but the result was never in doubt and the final score finished 43-15 to Macclesfield.

After this clinical performance by Macclesfield the final awaits for this talented team against another local rival Knutsford.


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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