By David Wilkinson
Barely have the “Whaa-Hoos” died down and we move on to face Sandal in the next Cup competition. Speaking to acting Head Coach, Darren Lamon, this is what he had to say after Thursday’s training session: “Training after the Cheshire Cup has been immense; the boys are really up for another Cup, and have their sights set on the semi-final as their target. They played some very good rugby to finish-off Sandbach on Saturday, and really deserve the silverware for what they have achieved this season. We’ve had seven tough matches, and it’s taken its toll on some of the players, so we are missing a few for Sandal, through niggling injury and unavailability; but it creates opportunities for others. We only have a bench of three, so naturally some of the squad will be disappointed, but that’s the way it should be, everyone wants to be on the team-sheet”.
If you were at Lymm on Saturday you will have witnessed where Macclesfield has now progressed to. When the score got to 31 each early into extra time, Macclesfield flicked a switch into another gear that Sandbach couldn’t live with; (Darren Lamon) “their fitness really showed, they were able to play at a very high intensity even after 90 minutes”. It was pleasing to see how the boys managed the last ten minutes of the contest; they were clinical and never gave Sandbach a sniff of a chance.
You may well say, what has this got to do with the challenge in Yorkshire on Saturday? Well, we know nothing of Sandal’s relative form playing in North East 1, only that they finish their league in the same 5th position. What we do know is that our game is at least in good order and that we will cross the Pennines with confidence. Like Macclesfield, Sandal lost their first four league games but the team has now won 8 out of their last 9 games with some big home wins. There is no doubt that it will be a tough contest, it always is against Sandal, but so far we have always come out on top.
There is no forecast chance of rain on Saturday, with a light breeze – perfect for fast-action rugby and a trip over the Pennines to Wakefield. Kick-off is 3.00 pm, the team is: 1 Dan Percival, 2 Brendan Berry VC, 3 James Cross, 4 Rhys Davies, 5 Harry Harding, 6 Tom Burden, 7 Seb Pemberton, 8 Elliot Alston, 9 Dan Martin, 10 Charlie Attis, 11 Sam Broster, 12 Harry Blackwell, 13 Harry Oliver Captain, 14 Lloyd Smith-Coates, 15 Will Davies, 16 Marcus Pyle, 17 Louis Singleton, 18. Sam Brown, Reserves: 19 Harry Owens, 20 Tom Jennings.