Macclesfield Women’s team defeated in the Cup

By Annie James


Macclesfield Women’s Rugby made it to round 3 of the Papa John’s Junior Community Cup as the only Development team left in the competition, making them now the underdogs of the competition. The team have gone from strength to strength as they prepared for their biggest game to date, against their stronger and more experienced opponents of Leigh Ladies.

Macclesfield’s Ladies have triumphed this season, and have been pushed more than ever expected; as a growing team of new and experienced players they took to the pitch for what would be their final round in the Papa John’s Junior Community Cup against Leigh Ladies who are currently competing two leagues above Macclesfield.

The team was led by Captain Mel Bramley, playing scrum half, and two vice captains in Mary Thorp and Katie McCree, playing Stand-Off and Lock respectively. The team prepared for what they had anticipated to be an exceptionally physically demanding match with wise words of: ‘We are playing for us today, the people you are stood with now’, from Coaches Simon Dempsey and Paul Jakubowski.

Coach Simon Dempsey’s words of halftime wisdom

The match started with a strong battle of the forwards and an early try for Leigh, after shipping it out wide and breaking through Macclesfield’s defensive line. From the restart Macclesfield gained the ball back quickly with a turnover from their number 2 Liz Jarratt. After a big hit taken by lock Katie McCree they lost the ball into touch. From the line out, Leigh kicked to clear from their 22, finding fullback Sophie Barnett in Macclesfield’s half ready to take it back into the play.

After some fierce tackles and jackaling from Leigh, they regained position and forced Macclesfield to once again return to their defensive line taking tackle after tackle; Macclesfield unfortunately having to temporarily substitute their number 8 Tiegan Shaw, due to a blood injury, giving 18 Estrella Mendez-Bryden a real trial-by-fire introduction to the Macclesfield Roster.

Macclesfield ready to defend their line

With the first half edging to a close, Leigh were leading and driving Macclesfield to work hard to get back into the game. With 10 minutes left of the first half to play, Macclesfield unfortunately had to send Amy Worthington onto the pitch to replace Sophie Barnett, after a jaw-dropping tackle. The team attacked well for the remainder of the first half keeping possession of the ball with Outside Centre Bex Ward, who was later named Back of the Match, sprinting for the try line until Leigh made a try saving tackle taking back possession of the ball and moving up the pitch and breaking through the middle and scoring again to extend their lead. Just before half time Macclesfield’s number 8 Tiegan Shaw returned to the pitch for Liz Jarratt who had picked up an injury in the first half’s final scrum.

With both teams ready to take to the pitch again, it was time for a Macclesfield reset, and plan to play to their strengths with speedy Pip Wyer and Tanni Whalley on the wings. The first try of the second half however went to Leigh from a rolling maul. Not leaving Leigh much time to settle, Macclesfield responded by shipping the ball wide to Pip Wyer who broke down the wing leaving Leigh in her stride to score; and converted by Captain Mel Bramley.

Pip Wyer with won player to beat

The second half continued as a battle for possession, with both teams moving between their 22s. Confident tackles were on display from Louise Anderson, later being named Forward of the Match, by both teams, with Hannah Green stopping players in their tracks; Tiegan Shaw was taken off the pitch for another blood injury, and Annie James took to the field in her place. Macclesfield were once again defending their line while Leigh were trying to force their way through the middle, Leigh eventually moved the ball to the wing, and over the line, taking the final score of the match. The game ending where it started in the middle of the pitch, with the final scrum to Macclesfield, unfortunately Mel Bramley was forced to leave the field with Tiegan Shaw once again returning to the pitch to finish the game 58-7

As underdogs Macclesfield Women’s Team are immensely proud of how far they have come, in the Papa John’s Junior Community Cup, making history for the Club as the first Women’s team to compete at this level! Macclesfield have a break in matches now until the New Year ready to return to their Inner Warrior League with more experience, and a drive to win!


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