Burnage 24 – Macclesfield 43

By David Wilkinson

After last week’s excellent win against table-topping Blackburn, the players would be in confident mood as they recovered from the bruising, physical challenge. But Coaches Ben Wade and Darren Lamond were quick to remind them, at training, that Burnage would be up-for-it; which they demonstrated right from the start. The previous week they had suffered badly against a very strong Lymm team, missing six of their usual starters. On Saturday Burnage were back to full strength, playing on their newly resurfaced 4G pitch and fully motivated by Coaches Dave Muckalt and Chris Jones, both ex Macclesfield.

Burnage started strongly, with Kai Fagan, who had initially joined Macclesfield, in the close-season, looking strong, both in attack and defence, but his previous team-mates were well aware of his dangers. Macclesfield were patient in their build-up, keeping possession, phase after phase, until they got into position to use their powerful pack, which had been further strengthened by the arrival of Rhys Davis, an experienced Second Row currently on loan from Sale FC. From a driving maul, Brendan Berry, starting at Hooker, would open the scoring, 0 – 7.

Charlie Attis lands the first of his conversions

The game was very competitive, Macclesfield had to work very hard to gain any ground, but the players remained patient, and when the opportunity came Berry was able to cross for his second, after some excellent work by the Forwards; it was 0 – 12 after 30 minutes. It wasn’t long before Macclesfield got on the score-sheet again, after some slick handling in the backs to create some space out-wide on the right for Lloyd Smith-Coates to round his man to finish it off; Charlie Attis converted to make it 0 – 19. Burnage kicked a penalty before half-time, to finish what had been a tough first forty that the Macc Coaches would have been very pleased with.

Rhys Davies crashes over for his first Macc try on debut

It was more of the same in the second half, Macclesfield piled on the pressure attacking with precision, Attis pulled the strings from 10 to create space in the line for Harry Blackwell to use his pace for the bonus-point try, 3 – 24. Burnage got right back in the game with an extended period of pressure going through numerous phases that eventually found them with sufficient space out wide to finish from short-range, that took them to 10, although the visitors were quick to hit back. Macclesfield won a scrum after disrupting the home team’s scrum, just one more phase of play was needed before Rhys Davies hit the line at an angle, going under the posts for a simple conversion, 10 – 31.

There was another lull in Macc’s play as they were probably feeling the effects of the Blackburn game and the 4G pitch; Burnage took advantage and got over for their second try, 17 – 31. From a lineout Macclesfield span the ball right, for Terrence Babarinsa to sprint through a gap. The last man got his trademark hand-off-spin, to deliver a perfect off-load to the charging Brendan Berry, for his hat-trick, 17 – 36.

Louis Singelton barks at the pack as they get the pressure on in the second half

A deliberate knock-on by Sam Brown reduced Macclesfield to 14, as Burnage began to pile on the pressure; Macclesfield’s defence eventually capitulated and Burnage were chasing a bonus-point, 24 – 36. It got even worse for Macclesfield as they were reduced to 13 men after a dangerous tackle by Smith-Coates. Burnage pressed deep in Macc’s 22 for the score, but a knock-on would relinquish their possession for the remainder of the game. With 13 players, Macclesfield kept it tight, phase after phase, until Louis Singleton, spotted an opportunity joining the line at pace from Full Back. He handed off the first defender making excellent ground before feeding the ball to Phil Laing who passed back inside to the ever-present Danny Martin to finish with dazzling footwork from 40 metres. Charlie Attis would use all of his time for the conversion to deny Burnage any opportunity for a final score.

The second half had seen a lot of disruption for Macclesfield, Captain James Oliver and Harry Blackwell had been forced to leave the field, along with other changes in personnel. Brendan Berry had two hat-tricks; one in tries the other in positions: Hooker, Back Row and Tight-head Prop, demonstrating his versatility, Danny Martin was voted Man of the Match. It was another excellent team performance, creating some very good tries against a belligerent Burnage team that fought out the full 80 minutes. Head Coach, Ben Wade, was rightly pleased with the seven try result: “I knew that they (Burnage) would be up for this game, so we had to work hard for our tries. It was a very physical first forty, but the boys did very well, the lineout was a bit of a problem at times but the scrum was solid until the last quarter. No matter what previous results are, you have to completely respect the opposition, it will be the same next week against Kendal, they have a big pack, and we will need to be at our best”.

Expect a big crowd at Priory Park on Saturday as the Kendal match is preceded by a Walking Rugby contest with Wath-on-Derne and The President’s Lunch. Come and cheer the boys on as they attempt four in a row!

Second XV produce dominate performance to win at Priory Park

Macclesfield 2nd XV 62 Anselmians 2nd XV 16

On the back of an away win in wintery Kendal last week, the second XV hosted an unbeaten Anselmians XV at Priory Park. Anselmian’s played with a simple and effective plan.  The ball was kept in the forwards who rucked and mauled effectively forcing Macclesfield to concede several penalties in their own half.  However excellent defending prevented Anselmians from scoring.  When Macclesfield did get an opportunity to attack, they did so at pace and a break by Tom Jennings in the Macclesfield half led to Alex Jakubowski scoring in the righthand corner. Anselmians continued to use their large set of forwards as before. Macclesfield were struggling in the scrum and eventually conceded 3 points from a penalty.  Macclesfield managed to gain territory and forced a lineout on the Anselmians twenty-two which the away team won. The opposition centre tried to move the ball out wide with a miss pace which was read by Jakubowski who intercepted to go under the posts, converted by Isaac Reaney.  Anselmians response was to kick another penalty to make it 12 -6.

Issac Reaney clearing from deep against Anselmians

Anselmians continued to press, and a deft chip led to a score which went unconverted. Anselmians now attempted to kick more for territory, however the majority of which was poor and the Macc back-three proceeded to launch effective counter-attacks; continued pressure led to Isaac Reaney and Pete Milne scoring to make it 26 – 11 at half time.

The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, however the Anselmians forwards could not keep up the level of intensity and Macclesfield were looking to move the ball  quickly wide, with Tom Jennings going over for the first of three tries. The forwards were starting to enjoy the open spaces and Max Dempsey, James Legg and Harry Owens  were making  ground and offloading. Sam Broster and Pete Milne were dominating the midfield and looked to pass out of the tackle, to the supporting forwards, A great support line from Ben Hadfield led to him scoring and Macclesfield were now up to 36 – 11.  Macclesfield kept up the pace of the game, Tom Jennings scored quickly before setting-up Louis Gray with Harry King, converting all three.

Anselmians did score a consolation try, driving over after a series of rucks, but Macclesfield were not finished as man of the match Jennings went over for a final try converting to finish off a comprehensive win.  A dominate performance in the end, enjoyed by a very large and vocal home crowd. The team now travel to Birkenhead Park before entertaining Tarleton at Priory Park in a fortnight,

Cheshire Cup – Davenport 10 – Macclesfield Senior Colts 29

The Senior Colts travelled to Headlands Road to take on Davenport (Stockport’s 2nd U18s team) in round 1 of the Cheshire U18s Cup.  Macclesfield hoping to continue riding the wave after two successive victories; however one look at the Davenport pack showed they were not going to make it easy.

Davenport took the kick off and regained the ball in Macc’s half.  It was clear from the off, Davenport dominated on the ground, and moved the ball around well making the Macc defence work across the field.  It was only a matter of time and Davenport scored first in the corner, 5 – 0 to the hosts. After the restart, Macc managed to retain the ball more and played the phases pushing towards the goal line.  A tap-and-go penalty from 8m out allowed Jim Parker to drive over, converted to give Macc the lead 5 – 7.

The physicality didn’t let up, with both sides increasing the intensity to win the ball; with possession changing hands multiple times, neither side giving any quarter the next score could have gone either way.  A penalty to Macc resulted in a lineout on Davenport’s 5m line, and great arrows from Callum Chopping resulted in a driving maul, and No. 8 Jim Parker scoring on the mark of half time. Davenport 5 – Macclesfield 12.

Macclesfield Senior Colts getting into an excellent scrummaging position against Stockport/Davenport

The game could go either way, and both sides knew it. Taking the restart well, Davenport ran the ball back into the Macc half threatening to break the defensive line. Macclesfield saw-off several phases before gaining possession, passing wide to the backs who stepped on the gas, with a series of passes, finished nicely by Charlie Hogg to make it Davenport 5 –Macclesfield 17.

Despite Davenport’s score their physicality was not going to fade during the last 15 minutes, they were determined to give it their best shot. The hosts They dominated the scrum, even when it was a Macclesfield put-in, they looked like they could regain control of the game; however a loose pass, that was intercepted by Koby Wilkinson, saw him run in from 70m to score under the sticks, converted to make it Davenport 5 –Macclesfield 24.

From the restart, the ball was gathered by Macc, regained by Davenport, knocked-on by Davenport, then hacked into the waiting hands of Ed Whittingham, who wasted no time charging the 40m to the line, scoring Macclesfield’s 5th try of the game, Davenport 5 – 29.

As the clock ticked down, Davenport refused to give up despite the score line, and a determined physical effort was rewarded with a try. The game finished Davenport 10 – 29 to Macclesfield; although the Davenport score line far from reflects the quality of their play.  Two highly physical sides enjoyed a highly competitive game. Man of the Match was Sam Davies, for working in the centre, excellent in both attack and defence and doing what was required throughout. A special mention Fin Usher who led well at No. 9.

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