Macclesfield 15 – Lymm 38

By David Wilkinson

Both teams had come into this game on good form; with Lymm in 2nd place and Macclesfield in 6th, after five consecutive wins. The 3G surface at Crouchley Lane has helped the Lymm team to develop a style of rugby, and skill sets, that suit a fast-track; running out onto the firm and dry Priory Park pitch, for the warm-up, will have filled them with confidence. Lymm had 100% of the possession for the first 5 minutes, but Macclesfield’s determined defence was fully demonstrated by two crunching tackles from Captain Harry Oliver, standing-in for injured brother James for the day. For the second time, Macclesfield were penalised at the ruck, which presented the first score of the day for number 15 Cormac Nolan.

Terence Babarinsa breaks the line

After the restart Macclesfield went through a period of good possession until they were stripped in the tackle, and whilst Lymm put together a series of attacks they couldn’t breakdown the Macclesfield defence. When the home team did get their hands on the ball again, Terence Babarinsa spun out of a tackle taking a good curving line, Harry Oliver, at full speed, switched the direction, but in the process of the scissors-move he caught the leg of team-mate Jennings, and collapsed into an explosive tumble. From the scrum Lymm attacked left, their 12 drew the Macc defence before feeding the Left Wing who had come from deep, at full pace, to take a short ball, leaving a big gap to run into. He made 25 yards before being tackled, and from the ground he popped the ball up to the Right Wing, Nathan Beesley, who had taken a support line from deep. Beesley side-stepped the first defender before an arcing run, which created an overlap, he didn’t need, to score by the posts.

From the restart Lymm were quickly back into attack again, forwards and backs making quick yards. The ball was chipped forward, finding Sam Broster isolated, with three players on-top of him, forcing him into putting the ball into touch. Lymm threw to the back, and a good driving maul got them to within 5 metres, Tight-head, Matty Hand, broke from the maul beating the first defender to score; it was 0 – 17 after 25 minutes.

Lineout perfection for Seb Pemberton

Up until this point Macclesfield had not been given the opportunity to put a meaningful attack together, but after the restart they went through several phases until Charlie Attis chipped to the corner for Right Wing Lloyd Smith-Coates. Both he and the covering defender missed the ball, but as they jostled, on the ground, over the try-line, the big Macclesfield winger managed to get his hand on the ball. The referee signalled for a try, but the Lymm touch judge, signalled that the Macclesfield player’s feet were in-touch. After some deliberation the referee awarded a 5 metre lineout to the visitors. There are some esoteric vagaries within the laws of rugby, and this appears to be one of them. According to World Rugby, if an attacking player’s feet are in touch-in-goal, but they are not holding the ball, they are not in-touch, and as such a try is scored.

James Cross crashes over for the first score for Macclesfield

Lymm cleared their lines, but Macclesfield ran it back from deep, first moving it right, then quickly to the left where Seb Pemberton found space out wide, he was tackled in the 5 metre area, but two phases later would give James Cross sufficient space to barge over, for a 5 – 17 score-line.

Macclesfield now had the bit-between-their-teeth, attacking deep into the Lymm half, a swinging arm from the Lymm 5, stopped the attack, but sent the player to the sin-bin. Macclesfield’s lineout had been 100% successful, to this point, and in the absence of James Oliver and Phil Laing ,with every throw going to Seb Pemberton; as such it wasn’t hard to guess for Lymm, they just had to get their timing right, which they did, escape number one. However, the referee penalised them again, and after the kick, Macclesfield would have another 5 metre lineout. Again it went to Pemberton, but this time the referee deemed it not straight, escape from jail number two. Macclesfield were determined to get another score before the break, with another penalty awarded 40 metres out Attis chose to go for goal making it 8 – 17 at halftime.

Harry Harding on the charge against Lymm

Macclesfield started the second half the way that they had finished the first, pressing hard to get back on level terms, they put together numerous phases until they were battering the line to get over. Rhys Davies drove for the line but was stopped just short, although the referee immediately blew for being held-up. It didn’t look like the ball was either held-up or over the line. The chance was gone but Macclesfield attacked again from the goal line drop-out, with Brendan Berry almost getting in at the corner. Macclesfield would attack again, but spilt the ball in Lymm’s 22; Lymm were quick to react, scooping up the ball and spinning it out to the Left Wing through Forwards and Backs. Paddy Jennings flew up the wing before feeding Full Back Cormac Nolan, his speed and footwork turned the last defender inside-out; it was a score totally against the run of play that gave Lymm a healthy lead of 8 – 25. In the build-up to the try Rhys Davies had been over committed to a tackle, which the referee deemed warranted carding, even though the try had been scored, it had gone from bad to worse for Macclesfield.

It quickly got even worse for the Macc lads, Lymm ran the ball out from their 22 following a scrum from the restart, and though the attack looked as if it had been stiffled, an inside, no-look pass, to no one, found the hands of a Lymm player in support, they flooded through the middle of the park, the final pass going to Jennings on the left wing, who made short-thrift of the last defenders to score again.

Harry Oliver taking Lymm on in the second half

Lymm kept the pressure on, spending a protracted period deep in the home side’s territory Macclesfield couldn’t get their hands on the ball, and when they did, it only resulted in setting Lymm up for a lineout attack. The, very lively, Lymm Left Wing, joined the line at an angle, beating three players, and when he was half-tackled still made ground, leaving a short trundle for one of their Forwards to go over. It was a difficult call for the referee, but he gave a 5 metre scrum to Lymm, it would make no difference as Scrum Half Ben Simpson picked up from the base, and ran around the blind-side to finish under the posts, un molested.

Brendan Berry finishes off a well worked try

Macclesfield attacked with real positivity from a lineout after the restart, first down the middle before switching left, then right; a grubber kick from Attis looked like Sam Brown might go over, but it was just a little heavy. Macc fielded from the lineout and were back on the attack. From a scrum 35 metres out, Brendan Berry picked up and fed Louis Singleton, now at 9, who in-turn gave a slick pass to Harry Oliver at pace, he beat the first man before slipping the ball back inside to Berry to go over for the score.

There were no more changes to the scoreboard, in what had been a very competitive contest. Whilst things had gone against Macclesfield, on a couple of scoring occasions, Lymm had thoroughly deserved their 38 points. Lymm’s 3G playing surface has helped their squad to play a fast running game that they are able to deploy very well, once a gap has been created. What was disappointing in the second half, was that as the game progressed the Macclesfield defence was not able to snuff-out those attacks, before they developed; as a consequence Lymm gained more confidence to ‘have-a-go’ from anywhere on the pitch.

Head Coach, Ben Wade, was naturally disappointed with the loss, but philosophical in his response: “We could have played better, but we were beaten by a better team on the day. There was too much individual play at times, which meant that players lost some structure, and unlike Lymm, we didn’t support as well as we should have. We’ll all be looking at the game in detail, to highlight every area that we can improve upon.”

Next Saturday is a fallow week, with the following Saturday finishing-off the first half of the season at Wirral, who sit two places below Macclesfield in 9th position. Ben Wade will be taking it very seriously, with the target of starting a long, winning-streak, helped by the return of several key players. At the top of the table it looks likely to be played out between Blackburn and Lymm, but with Lymm having the return fixture on their 3G pitch, they are probably in the box-seat.


Liverpool Collegiate Colts 7 – Macclesfield Colts 35


Colts line up for a minute’s silence at Liverpool

On an uncharacteristically warm Sunday afternoon, Macclesfield’s Colts travelled Merseyside to take on Liverpool Collegiate. After observing a 2 minutes’ silence, Macclesfield took the kick, playing ‘up-hill’, and won the ball in Liverpool’s half piling on the pressure from the off, which was rewarded with a try for Captain Roan Elliot.

The restart was taken quickly by Liverpool, hitting the resulting ruck hard, turning Macclesfield over.  They kept the ball well, playing the phases, grinding-out the meters; and with a wide pass exposing a gap in Macclesfield’s defence, allowing their winger to score under the sticks, with an easy conversion making it 7 – 5.

Macclesfield responded well, tightening up their ruck and driving Liverpool into their own 22.  A penalty gave Macclesfield a lineout on the 5 metre line, where they mauled the ball to within inches.  Two crash-balls, then a flick out to the left, saw Hugo Duckworth take the ball at pace over the line to score.

As half time approached Macclesfield won another lineout deep into Liverpool’s half, driving the ball close enough for second row Fin McNicholas to take the ball over the goal line, the score was 7 – 17 at half time.

After the break, Liverpool started well and put up a strong defence keeping Macclesfield out of their 22, turning the ball over, only to be caught holding-on at the next ruck, for a penalty in front of the sticks,  Hugo Duckworth slotted the kick over for 3 points.

A second penalty and a yellow card for Liverpool, for repeated offside, saw Hugo ask for the kicking tee again, slotting another 3 points, the score was now, 7 – 23.

Liverpool came back hard driving deep into the Macclesfield half; playing the phases Liverpool pushed hard, but ended up giving away a penalty.  Hugo kicked deep into the Liverpool half but failed to make touch, but the chase was good and the ball was won back, giving Ed Hodgson the opportunity to score in the corner, 7 – 28.

Macclesfield had their tails up, and gathering the ball from the restart, quick hands saw them gain ground fast, allowing Fin Arnold to put-the-gas-on and go over for the last try of the game which was   converted by Hugo Duckworth, making the final score Liverpool 7 – Macclesfield 35.

Forwards MOTM Tom Brierley

It was four out of four for the Senior Colts in a game played in great-spirit by both teams; Man Of The Match for the forwards was Tom Brierley for putting in a great 70 minutes in the front row (not his preferred position), and Captain Roan Elliot for the backs, for his leadership, and a great game for all the lads.


Macclesfield Ladies 40 – Aspull Ladies 41

A heroic come-back just falls short

The Macclesfield Ladies, happy after scoring 40 points

In their second match of the season the Ladies team just fell short of a dramatic win against a well organised and well drilled Aspull side. Aspull dominated the first ten minutes, playing a narrow game with their Forwards dominating proceedings. Macclesfield allowed the opposition to drive forward, tackling too high, allowing Aspull to gain momentum and score two unconverted tries. Macclesfield adapted, and their improved tackling disrupted Aspull’s attacks. When Macclesfield did have the ball they looked to move it wide; Mel Bramley and Jodie Styles using the speedy backs of Steph Knight  and Sophie Barnett to great effect. Steph Knight scored after quick hands and Mel Bramley converted to make it 7 – 10 to Aspull.

The Macclesfield Forwards put in a monumental effort with Jamie Lasky and Katie McCree having outstanding games. The game became one of two contrasting styles, Aspull looked to use their effective Forwards, whilst Macclesfield looked to ruck and run. Aspull used their Forwards to great effect and moved into a 7 – 22 lead. Macclesfield replied through Steph Knight again, before Aspull scored once more, only for Sophie Barnett to score after great handling from the backs to make it  19 – 29 to the away side.

Macclesfield’s playmaker Jodie Styles went off injured, when heads could have dropped, however the energy and  determination of the ladies reached new levels, although conceding twice more they replied with scores from Barnett and Pip Wyer both converted by Bramley to bring the score back to 33 -41. From the kick-off Macclesfield looked to move the ball quickly, allowing Wyer to gallop two thirds of the pitch to score again, with Bramley converting to make it 40 – 41. Both sides were exhausted by this stage and Macclesfield were unable to gather the kick-off, and Aspull just sneaked home with the win. Coaches Simon Dempsey and Paul Jakobowski were immensely proud of the ladies’ performance, especially with their handling and support play. The ladies now look forward to their next match, against Bowden, on Saturday 26th November, at home with a 1pm kick off.

It’s not often a team scores forty points and doesn’t get the win! Well done ladies. In other games the 2nd team beat Broughton Park in Manchester: 5 – 54; and the thirds beat Liverpool Medics at Priory Park: 44 – 17.


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