Manchester Match Report



Manchester 31 – Macclesfield 17

By Pete Harper

Macclesfield RUFC haven`t played Manchester at 1st XV level for 26 years, so consequently, it was with great excitement that players, officials and supporters alike arrived at Grove Park to take on our near neighbours and kick off the new season. Macc, included debutants: Louis Singleton, Charlie Attis (both new signings) together with Tom Leicester, Tom Jennings, Marcus Pyle and Harry Owens, all graduates from our Youth section in the match day squad.  We knew former Macclesfield player and Head Coach Marshall Gadd would have his team fired up for this one and so it proved as from the kick off, Macc, were under the cosh for prolonged periods of time.  It was clear Marshall had been doing his homework on the Blues lineout (he was at the cup game at Birkenhead Park last week to observe the upcoming opposition) as they targeted our main jumpers causing disruption on our throw, meaning good possession was scarce.

Manchester get’s the ball away under pressure at the scrum from Macclesfield

Resolute defence from Macclesfield ensured the home team were kept at bay, but a combination of poor exiting, turnovers and penalties meant we were always under the pump.  A lineout resulting form yet another penalty resulting in a lineout 5 metres out from Macc’s try-line and the resultant recycled ball allowed Manchester to slide through some disappointing defence, to score under the posts.  20 minutes played and 6 penalties against the visitors and none against the home side, despite the Macc pack dominating the scrum.  Yet another turnover on 26 minutes saw the Manchester no. 10 run untouched from inside his own 10 metre line, through a none existent defence and score what must go down as a `soft try`, to increase the home sides lead.  With their tails up and the majority of possession, Manchester continued to press, whilst Macc made life difficult for themselves with more turnovers and penalties conceded.  The Blues were awarded a rare penalty on 30 minutes and Harry Oliver sensibly kicked the 3 points to get Macc off the mark.  The front row of Dan Percival, Brendan Berry and James Cross were now really getting on top of the Manchester scrum and any number of penalties might have been given with a different referee, however, none were awarded causing much frustration amongst the travelling supporters.

Macclesfield about to go over the whitewash

Alston barges over for his first ever Macclesfield try

With half time approaching, a rare penalty at the breakdown was awarded to Macclesfield and following a kick to touch, the lineout was won, and the Macc pack were on the march, putting 9 phases together before being illegally stopped by a defender, who was subsequently yellow carded. Skipper James Oliver opted for the scrum against 7 forwards and Manchester’s pack can consider themselves extremely lucky not to concede a penalty try and another sin bin as they collapsed the scrum several times on their own line.  A further transgression by the defence led to a quick tap penalty by scrum half Dan Martin and Elliott Alston crashed over for his first ever try in senior rugby, Harry Oliver added the extras followed by the whistle for half time with the scores at 12 – 10 to the home side.

Tom Burden competing at the lineout

Charlie Attis came on at 10 for his league debut with Louis Singleton shifting out one to inside centre, Tom Leicester making way for the change.  Macc. started the half well and played in the opposition’s 22 before a wayward clearance kick from the home full back was fielded by Bezzer, who offloaded to Lloyd Coates.  Lloydy pinned back his ears and hurtled down the touchline, but was bundled into touch just short of the line meaning more frustration for the away side.  Another clearance kick was fielded by the speedy Sam Brown who lined up his options and chipped ahead in a race for the line, but was then clearly taken out off the ball, although the ref saw differently!

At this point, Manchester had really been under pressure since the half started, but they managed to force a turnover near the halfway line which resulted in a surging run from their powerful centre, who was only prevented from scoring by a desperate tackle from Lloyd, but the ball was quickly recycled and the home side crashed over for try number 3.  To compound matters for Macc. the referee decided Lloyd’s tackle was high and issued him a yellow card.  After concerted pressure from Macc it was 19-10 to the home side with Macc playing with 14 men, and heads visibly dropped.

Marcus Pyle came on for his debut with Elliott making way and Bezzer moving to flanker and another promising attack resulted in yet another penalty at the breakdown, won by the home sided back row. The resultant lineout led to an attack from the home sides backs and Louis Singleton was harshly yellow carded for a high tackle as the ball carrier slid down, making the job even harder for the Blues.  Yet another turnover for the home side, inside our 22 resulted in Manchester`s bonus point try as the full back made the most of the overlap caused by the lack of numbers in the home defence;  24-10 with 6 minutes to play.

Things then turned from bad to worse as directly from the re start, Manchester went coast to coast to score another converted try taking the score to an unassailable 31-10 with 3 minutes left on the clock.  However, Macclesfield had the last say as a lovely chip from Charlie Attis was gathered on the full by Harry Oliver to score under the posts, and then add the extras to end the game with a 31 – 17 score to the home team.

I`m sure the boys, the coaching staff and supporters will all be bitterly disappointed with the result, but there were definitely moments of momentum swing and decisions which perhaps didn`t go our way.

Head Coach Andy Appleyard said “Both the coaching team and players were very disappointed in our performance at Manchester.  If you don`t perform to even 50% of your potential, any opposition has a very good chance of winning. We were far from where we believe we can be. The breakdown was an issue throughout and was a negative catalyst for errors.  We (the coaching staff) have reviewed the game well and have a solid plan in place to get us back on track this week.  It`s going to be an intense week, but at this point in the season, we must keep positive but give a reaction”

There was an incident on Saturday, when 2 Manchester players collided and cracked heads with some force leaving them both out cold on the turf.  Physios from Macc. joined the Manchester physios and raced to their attention, Tom Burden, Macclesfield`s flanker and qualified physio, was also quickly on the scene to assist.  A great example of why our game is unique.  Thankfully, both players left the pitch under there own steam, and we wish them both well in their recovery.

Stripy pre-match Alikadoos and ladies


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
View on Facebook
🚨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
View on Facebook
🚨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
View on Facebook
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
View on Facebook
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
View on Facebook
    Your Basket
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop