MACC DEFENCE TRUMPS HOPPERS ILL-DISCIPLINE

Preston Grasshoppers 2nds 17 – Macclesfield 2nds 30

By Paul Jakobowski

 

After a convincing win in the team’s first outing, at a scorching Wirral, a much change team travelled to Preston Grasshoppers for the third weekend of the NOWIRUL Cotton Traders Premier League.  Preston were expected to be tougher opposition, and came into the game off a close win against Fylde with several first team players in their match day squad.

Phil Laing on the charge against Preston Grasshoppers 2s

Preston started aggressively forcing Macclesfield into conceding penalties; first kicking for position and then producing decent ball for their forwards to use effectively. Only aggressive defending prevented a score in the first five minutes of the game. Preston continued to press but were turned over when a score looked a certainty. Clearing their lines, Macclesfield   started to put some phases together and as a result forced two penalties, which Ollie Church converted to give the away side a six-point lead. Macclesfield continued to press but were unable to capitalise on two-line breaks by Phil Laing, which would have given them control of the game.  With half time beckoning a kick-through by Preston lead to indecision by the Macclesfield defence; this allowed Preston to string three phases of play to score an unconverted try. Macclesfield took a slender lead into half time.

Ben Hadfield jackals with Lloyd-Coates in support

At half time the focus was on cutting down the penalty count and to maintain the structure in attack. However, Preston were to strike first with a converted try, and took an early 12 -6 lead. Macclesfield responded after sustained pressure from the forwards with Ben Hadfield crashing over and Ollie Church converting to take a one point lead. Macclesfield were now looking the more dangerous side. Lloyd-Coates who had been a menace all afternoon, with his strong running, crashed over in the corner to extend the lead, but lapses in concentration led to a simple score by Preston to pull the score back to 17-18

Ben Hadfield steals Hoppers’ ball

Macclesfield at this stage were playing the better rugby, however Louis Gray came off with a head injury, and was soon followed by the ever-green Jim Curtis (a late call up on the day). With no replacement front row and the implementation of the man down law for not having a front row, Macclesfield were forced to play for twenty minutes with 13 players.  However, resolute defence and very aggressive tackling forced Preston into making errors which were compounded by their own ill discipline, leading to a yellow card and eventually a red card for the home team. Macclesfield continued to move the ball and were well marshalled by Alex Jakubowski and Ollie Church who had now switched to scrum and fly half, respectively. Carl Droy made two good breaks which were not capitalised upon whilst Ben Hadfield; Harry Owens and Captain Hayden Keough were willing carriers going forward. The continued pressure, aided by further ill-discipline from the home side, led to Noah Lancaster scoring, followed by Carl Droy, after continued pressure on the Preston line which was converted by Ollie Church; final score: Preston 17, Macclesfield 30.

Russ Tomlison was delighted with the result, saying: “It shows the team spirit when under the cosh and down to 13 men, to come through and get a result at a tough place, against a team that was flooded with 1st XV players”. Next week the seconds welcome Sedgley Park to Priory Park who convincingly defeated Fylde at the weekend.

Thanks to Ian Hadfield for the photography.

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