RUGBY WEEKEND WHITEOUT

By David Wilkinson

There was very little rugby played in the North last weekend, only Burnage and Kendal were able to host games in our league, with Burnage going down 5 – 38 to Wirral, and Kendal being over-powered 10 – 57 against table-toppers Blackburn; Macclesfield remain the only team to have beaten Blackburn this season. Elsewhere, Sale FC had a good win at Heywood Road, beating Rosslyn Park 24 – 15, and Sale Sharks thumped Ulster in the European Champions Cup; after beating them up in forwards, in the first half, Macclesfield’s Tommy Taylor came on to help them to a 39 – 0 win. It was a great afternoon out for 50 members of the Club courtesy of complimentary tickets provided by Rugby Club partner Franklyn Financial Management Ltd. Thanks for a great day out from all who were there.

Grumpy Santa gate-crashes the Christmas Lunch

Although there was no rugby to be played at Priory Park, the Clubhouse was packed with numerous generations of Macclesfield rugby players, telling rugby tales-a-yore, whilst enjoying their Club Christmas Lunch, along with Santa, who had stopped by on his travels. The lunch afforded the opportunity to introduce Head Coach, Ben Wade to the membership. Ben had joined the Club in the close-season as Forwards Coach along with Darren Lamond from Sale Sharks. After the second game of the season he took over as Head Coach with Darren as his Assistant; a Q&A with Ben, during the lunch, would reveal his rugby background to the audience.

Ben is an experienced ex player and coach, a proportion of which has been against Macclesfield with previous clubs. He told, how he had started his rugby at Morley, before going down to Gloucester, trying to start his career in the professional game, he came back to Morley before Geoff Wappett recruited him to the Championship side Rotherham Titans. They gained promotion into the Premiership, but a very bad knee injury was to put him out of the game for 18 months. When he eventually recovered, he continued his career as a player-coach, first at Wharfedale, then back to Rotherham before becoming Head Coach at Sheffield Tigers. Latterly he coached Notts, Lincs and Derby, at County level whilst helping Bakewell, where he now lives. He is on record as scoring four tries for Rotherham in a game against Exeter Chiefs.

Wady talked about his time in the Premiership with Titans, and the battles with some of the household names in rugby. He pointed out that Rotherham, unlike a lot of the Premiership teams, were not a team of stars. Their success had come from a team-ship bond that they created, and the team game that they played, and that this was what he was trying to achieve with Macclesfield. The challenges are many, with injuries being a constant thorn. The squad is relatively sparse, which is made even worse by having only 3 replacements allowed on the bench. To counteract this he encourages players to be able to play in more than one position, which provides options on the pitch when replacements need to be made. It was interesting to see Northwich do this, tactically, during their game against Macclesfield the previous week. Their Captain and number 8 is a converted Centre, and can be devastating in attack, but has yet to fully master the defensive skills required at 8. To combat this, after an early mistake, he rotated with the number 7 on defensive scrums. Macclesfield has the benefit of having a number of players that can play in numerous positions, giving both tactical and replacement options.

Wadey talked about the challenge ahead for the rest of the season, but was hopeful of some players returning from injury in January and February. He will be keen to pick up some points off the teams that sit above Macclesfield in the league currently, although it will be a long wait until the last game of the league season, for revenge against Manchester. Following the finish of the league Macclesfield will take part in regional cup competition between teams from the various leagues.

Ben Wade on his way for 1120 days on the run for MND

The Q&A finished on the question of Ben Wade’s extended run for Motor Neurone Disease, which had only recently come to the attention of other members. He had been running every day since lockdown, for MND, some 988 days to date. His original target was to run the professional rugby appearance days of: Doddie Weir, Rob Burrows and Stephen Darby, but he has now added Ed Slater’s appearances making a total of 1120 days. The disease sits close to the hearts of Macclesfield’s players and members, after losing one of their own, and as whilst being a hereditary condition; one is 8 times more likely to become affected after playing a contact sport. Ben’s wife Cheryl is organising his fundraising, via the Doddie Weir Foundation: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/cheryl-wade

Ben Wade putting in the miles with his best friend for MND

The coaching set-up of Ben Wade and Darren Lamond is supported by Russ Tomlinson and George Edwards (Team Manager), as well as the medical team of, Lizzie Adlington and her team, along with Strength and Conditioning Coach Sam Bailey from Athlete 1st.

Sam Bailey Macclesfield Rugby Strength and Conditioning Coach

Sam started his rugby journey with Macclesfield in the Mini and Junior’s section before playing for the Colts. He studied at, the now Mecca for rugby, Hartbury College before coming back North to start his career, joining Athlete 1st as a Strength and Conditioning Coach.

Sam Bailey and Athlete 1st founder Liam Colbon

Athlete 1st was created by ex Rugby League professional player Liam Colbon, after a successful career playing for Wigan Warriors, Hull KR, London Broncos and Hull FC. Whilst a London Broncos, Liam suffered a series of injuries and it looked like his career was going to be cut short. He took the initiative to research, and find a running and movement specialist who could uncover the issues that were responsible for his injuries. Understanding how these injuries occurred and methods to train and avoid these happening in the future, allowed him to continue his career for another 3 years. When he finally hung his boots up, he decided to set up his own strength and conditioning business to pass on his experience to other would be sporting athletes.

Based in Alderley Edge, Athletes 1st helps sportspeople reach their highest levels of performance whilst staying injury free. They cater for all sports, whether that is for young people on their sporting progression, elite athletes or teams.

Sam Bailey pilling the weights onto one of Macclesfield’s Forwards

Sam works with the Macclesfield squad on Tuesdays and Thursdays, usually running a twenty minute session with the team on the Tuesday session. He works hand-and-glove with the medical team on the recovery of injured players with tailored strengthening routines. On match-days Sam is with the team to help prepare them through their warm-up routines.

Besides the support at Priory Park, Athlete 1st provides one-on-one sessions with Sam for 1st team players at Alderley Edge on Mondays and Wednesdays.  It is a fantastic opportunity for the squad players to reach their peak potential; a massive bonus for players’ physical development, in this very physically demanding sport.

The remaining weather forecast for the week ahead, is for sub-zero nights, which does not bode favourably for rugby. Sandbach will be doing their best to get the game on, and Macclesfield will be keen to get revenge, as it was only the posts that separated the teams at Priory Park earlier in the season. Keep a look out on the Club website/social media for updates, and come and give the boys your vocal support, if we are game-on!

#maccrugby

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The Macclesfield 2ndXV is in safe hands with Russ Tomlinson taking the reins for a 3rd year, as he looks to build on the success of the last 2 campaigns!! Russ is vital to developing our squad and nurturing the lads coming through the pathway.Isaac makes the big step into coaching as 2nd XV player coach and will provide valuable insight to the players using his extensive experience.Ollie church joined last season from Sheffield tigers having previously been with Hartpury college and brings valuable experience from National 2 North to the side while looking to break into the 1s team!Good luck to all 3 this season 👍🏉 ... See MoreSee Less
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