By David Wilkinson

It was a fallow week of league rugby for all of the senior teams last week, besides the fourth team who are now enjoying social rugby with other teams in the area.

The 1st team squad were given a well deserved rest after their excellent win away at Stockport the previous week. A fallow week, this early in the season has been introduced within community rugby to take some pressure off the players. With much smaller squads it gives players a chance to recover, to prevent small injuries turning into big ones, as well as relieving pressure on social/family life; it is part of the many changes brought about by the RFU, after a major research project into player’s attitudes and misgivings about the community game.

Whilst the win against Stockport will have given the team enormous confidence, the challenge that awaits them against Blackburn, will not be underestimated. Blackburn’s no-nonsense play made them one of the most consistent teams last season, and results so far this season would suggest that they have improved upon that. Macclesfield’s challenge will be to meet that of Blackburn’s, head-on, whilst delivering their own game as effectively as they can. As a young side they have a sponge like quality to get better; improvements come in small steps, one of which starts with Matt Coleridge’s video analysis from the last match. The statistics are eagerly awaited by players and implemented by the Coaches during the week. One of which, for all to see, last time out, was the lineout – we only lost one.

Head Coach, Ben Wade, had this to say: “I’ve been looking forward to this match all season, the boys know what to do; they are going to need to soak up the pressure, to stay tough and take their chances. At the end of the day it’s going to be down to them, but they demonstrated away at Stockport their finishing ability. The team should be pretty much as the last game, with James Oliver returning after injury, we’re also hoping that Will Davies will feature in the game, with the team being finalised after training on Thursday.”

Those that were at Priory Park last October will remember the highs and lows of the last two minutes against Blackburn, Alex Davies darted through to score what we all thought was a last-gasp win for Macc; but Mr Morton had a minute left on his watch, and Blackburn had one last-gasp left in them, and so it was, 30 – 32! Revenge on Saturday would be particularly sweet, the league leaders are unbeaten, but will have had a watchful eye on our away win in Bramhall. As I always say: “May the best team on the day win”.

Be part of the Priory Park Faithful on Saturday, and give the boys all your support for this, their biggest challenge so far this season.

We will be remembering Ken Culley and Rick Usher before the kick-off, please be there, along with many of Rick’s old team-mates, to give your applause 5 minutes before the 3.00 pm kick-off.

The starting line-up for Macclesfield 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. Louis Singleton, 17.Elliot Alston, 18. Tom Jennings.



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