STOCKPORT v MACCLESFIELD PREVIEW

By David Wilkinson

Just like Manchester and Sandbach, Stockport will have had their eye on this fixture for a long-time; it has been 30 years since the two clubs fought it out on the pitch. Matt Harding recalls it was around 1992, when Macc won home and away, the same year that they changed their name from Davenport to Stockport. Stockport were subsequentlyrelegated and Macclesfield were promoted, they did meet once again in 2000, in the Cheshire Cup, with Stockport going through.

The rugby union between the two towns goes back to 1874, when teams from both towns played each other; 20 a side, when hacking and tripping were allowed. 49 years later Davenport RUFC was formed in the Davenport Club in Stockport by some lads from the Heaton Moor club; the club formed would never actually play rugby in Davenport, or Stockport! And at 10.45 am on 1st January 1927, Macclesfield would play their first fixture after reforming, in Bramhall, against Davenport (Stockport); so there’s local rugby history for you!

On Saturday, it all starts again, 3.00 pm kick-off at Headlands Road, Bramhall, another derby match; with local bragging-rites to be won. Added spice will be the inclusion, in the Stockport team, of Tom Eaton, Tom Mantell and Dom Sheratte; the two Toms had massive shifts at Macclesfield before going back to their former clubs, and Dom played all of his early rugby at Macclesfield.

Head Coach, Ben Wade, is well aware of the challenge ahead: “We know it’s going to be another cup final atmosphere, and the home support always gives a team an advantage to start with, but the lads will be hoping that the Macc Alikadoos and other supporters are in strong voice. We’ve taken onboard some lessons learned from last week’s game, along with Matt Coleridge’s stats which were brought to training on Tuesday; and we’ve changed a few things.”

The team will be confident, after their performance against Sandbach last week it was much improved in many facets. If they keep their discipline and enough possession, they have demonstrated that they can score tries from anywhere; what they will be in most need of, is the support of the 16th man, with as many of the Priory Park Faithful making the very short journey to Headlands Road; the players always say what a difference it can make.

The team selected to play Stockport is: 1. Dan Percival, 2.Marcus Pyle, 3.James Cross, 4.Harry Harding, 5. Seb Pemberton, 6. Brendan Berry, 7.Phil Laing, 8.Captain James Oliver, 9.Dan Martin, 10.Charlie Attis, 11.Sam Brown, 12.Sam Broster, 13.Harry Oliver, 14.Lloyd Smith-Coates, 15.Harry Blackwell, 16. Ben Holden, 17.Elliot Alston, 18.Louis Singleton

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