By David Wilkinson
Last time out at Mari Pits, was a bit of a dog’s-breakfast, players injured before the game, during the warm-up, and several during the game. The result was that new Head Coach, Ben Wade, had to don his boots to help out, not the best idea at 48, and he was rewarded with some very sore ribs. The score-line didn’t suggest a shift from some poor form, but in actual fact it turned out to be just that.
Macclesfield are a much improved side since then, in both motivation and application. On Saturday at Kendal the back line was purring, attacking from deep, with a pack that was solid in the scrum, and accurate at the line-out. If they can replicate that form and cut out some of the errors they will have every opportunity of getting the points.
Returning Alex Davies, and on debut Max Dempsey
Head Coach, Ben Wade, had this to say about Saturday’s challenge: “They (Rossendale) are coming here on the back off two losses, against Stockport and Wirral, which they will not be happy about, and looking to get back on track on Saturday. Sitting in fourth place they are out of the running for a top spot but will be keen to get past Sandbach for third place. The boys have trained well again during the week and are looking sharp; they were excited to welcome back Alex Davies from Uni and Max Dempsey for his first run-out with the first team. The boys know that they will need to be more clinical against Rossendale, finishing in the red-zone when the opportunities are there and keeping hold of the ball.”
Patience with possession will certainly be a key against the Lancashire side. In Matt Lamprey they have the most experienced number 8 in our league, who has the power to finish at close-quarters and the strength and skills to get their other big forwards attacking down the middle of the pitch. The Macclesfield 18 is well balanced, and full of pace, with a number of players able to switch positions, which makes matters easier when players go down – although Wadey is not expecting a Priory Park debut on Saturday. It is great to see the transition for Max Dempsey through the Mini and Junior sections, Colts, the Second team and now a debut opportunity in the top team; Dad, Simon, and Granddad Chris will be very excited. So will the Davies family, seeing Alex back at Macc for a while; expect some fizz when he gets his chance.
Kick-off is the usual 3.00pm, and if you’re quick you can book in for Beer-battered cod, chips and mushy peas in the Spiral. If not get down early to cheer the boys on, it will be a great precursor to a new England era as they take Scotland at HQ. The team is: 1. Dan Percival, 2. Marcus Pyle, 3. James Cross, 4. Harry Harding, 5. Rhys Davies, 6. Seb Pemberton, 7. Phil Laing, 8. Brendan Berry, 9. Danny Martin, 10. Charlie Attis, 11. Sam Adu, 12. Terence Babarinsa, 13. Harry Oliver (Captain), 14. Lloyd Smith-Coates, 15. Sam Brown, 16. Sam Broster, 17. Alex Davies, 18. Max Dempsey.