Pappa Johns Cup Semi-Final

Stockport Preview

By David Wilkinson

The prospect is mouth-watering, two teams at the top of their game, with local rivalry to add a touch of extra spice. Both came through their games last week in confident mood; Macclesfield was dominant against Derby, and never looked like losing; equally Stockport had a couple of blips early on against Cleckheaton, but they were then clinical to seal a big win.

There is nothing between the sides in league competition, each winning away, in the last play of the games; with Macclesfield gaining one more win in the league, finishing one place higher. Stockport has home advantage, on paper, but recent results would dispute that. Each team will have looked at a game strategy, to put them in the best position for the win; it will all come down to the performance.

This is what Acting Head Coach, Darren Lamon, had to say after Thursday night’s training: “We’ve had two full-on sessions this week, the boys have worked really hard to create the fast intensity of a semi-final while also working on a few match related technical issues. They are well aware that a win, by any means, is the criteria and have plans to cope with a changing match scenario. We only have one minor injury problem from last week, and Sam Brown moves into the starting 15 along with Tom Burden coming into the Back Row for Phil Laing. The boys trust in their game plan, it has served them well, since after the shaky start to the season, they have the team confidence and the individual skills to take them to the Final”.

The two encounters, this season, have both been decided with the last play of the game, a brilliant attack from Macclesfield at Stockport, and the ugliest drop-goal from Tom Eaton at Priory Park; but both just as decisive. In Tom Eaton, Stockport has the most experienced Outside Half in the league, who will know how to manage the game through the tricky parts, their pack is very solid at the scrum, and we will not want to get into a mauling contest close to our line. The teams have contrasting styles; Stockport’s pick-and-go, grinding their opposition down, where Macclesfield are prepared to attack from anywhere, with pace and power throughout the team.

It’s a massive day for the team and the Club, with the opportunity to play in a national competition final, and put some more silverware on the shelf, in what has been a very successful season. Headlands Road will be heaving with local support, and we need to get there in equal number. It could be a very special day to remember, get behind the boys and make some noise for a 3.00 kick-off. This is how the team and squad starts: 1 Dan Percival, 2 Brendan Berry VC, 3 James Cross, 4 Rhys Davies, 5 Harry Harding, 6 Sam Broster, 7 James Oliver C, 8 Tom Burden, 9 Dan Martin, 10 Charlie Attis, 11 Sam Adu, 12 Terence Babarinsa, 13 Harry Oliver, 14 Sam Brown, 15 Harry Blackwell, 16 Marcus Pyle, 17 Max Dempsey, 18. Louis Singleton, 19 Tom Leicester, 20 Will Davies, 21 Tom Jennings, 22 Tom Blackwell.

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