YOUNG GUNS RALLY WELL AGAINST CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYERS

Macclesfield 28 – Caldy 57

By Peter Harper

 

This season`s Cheshire Cup saw a new format with only 6 clubs contesting, the teams were put into two Conferences, Sandbach and Caldy 2nds joining Macclesfield in Conference 1, and Stockport, Wirral and Northwich in 2.  On Saturday, our opponents were Caldy 2nds, a team with an unbeaten run going back to 2019 (we`ve had 4 Prime Ministers since they last tasted defeat!) and so this was always going to be a test for the holders, particularly as the Macclesfield coaching team saw this as an opportunity to blood some players from the wider squad.  In fact, 7 players made their 1st XV debut on Saturday, and with a couple more playing only their 2nd or 3rd game, this was a very inexperienced team indeed.  When Caldy announced their team on Friday, it became evident that Macclesfield`s task would become even harder, as the visitors’ squad included 8 players from their Championship team!

This competition is for clubs competing at Level 5 and so it was always going to be an uphill struggle for the boys in blue, playing against a team unbeaten for 4 years and strengthened by several players from Level 2, and the final score of 28-57 to Caldy didn`t really tell the tale of the match.

Harry Harding commits the tackler, going for the score

As expected, Caldy started off strongly, and after a period of possession in the Macc half, they created an opening on their right to score in the corner.  Macc responded immediately and put together several phases in the Caldy 22 before a handling error saw Caldy on the counter, stopped by a text book tackle by Lloyd Smith-Coates.  A cheap shot off the ball by Caldy 13 on Charlie Attis was spotted by the referee and the fly half put the ball into the corner giving the home side an attacking lineout.  The ball was won at the back by skipper Tom Burden, however, another handling error in the centres saw the attack fizzle-out.

John O’Donnell finishes off Macc’s first try started by MOTM Toby Moule

Caldy tried to run out of defence but the ball was stripped and the boys in blue were on the attack again, however, for the 3rd time in quick succession a handling error gave possession to the visitors and a speculative hoof down the pitch followed by a great chase, led to the ball going out to the left winger who scored in the corner, 10 nil to Caldy after 14 minutes.  Straight from the kick-off, Caldy attacked again, and a powerful run by their big second row resulted in him scoring Caldy`s 3rd try, 17 nil to Caldy after 15 minutes. A period of stalemate in the centre of the pitch followed before the home side conceded a penalty, resulting in a lineout 5 metres from the Macc line. A well-rehearsed catch and drive ended in the inevitable and Caldy had their 4th try in the bag and a 24 – 0 scoreline.  The home side`s heads may well have dropped at this point, but there was to be none of it, and within 2 minutes, a defensive kick from Caldy was fielded brilliantly by debutant Toby Moule, who then broke through the on rushing defence before offloading to John O`Donnel backing up on his shoulder; the Centre had the easy task of touching down under the sticks and the extra points were duly added by Charlie Attis, 24-7 to the visitors.

Simeon Meek crashes over for Macclesfield’s 2nd try

At this point, James Brocklehurst and Dale Crompton were replaced by Harry Harding and Brendon Berry to add a bit of experience. Some great ball carrying and recycling led to a Macc penalty, with Attis again finding touch in the right hand corner. Another fine catch and drive by the blues almost resulted in a second try, but the visitors managed to somehow dislodge the ball and the chance was gone. The Caldy No. 8 was becoming more and more influential as the game wore on, and he was instrumental in creating the visitors’ next try, eventually scored by second row McNamee after a powerful arcing run to the line. As the half time whistle approached, it would have been easy for Macclesfield to capitulate against a rampant away side, but the Macc lads had other ideas and the Blues attacked the opposition line on repeated occasions, spreading the ball from left to right and back again, eventually leading to a try from prop Simeon Meek bulldozing his way over from short distance, the conversion from Attis was successful to make the score at half time Caldy 31, Macc 14.

Sam Brown scorches in, to finish his semi-circular sprint to the line

Within 2 minutes of the re start, Caldy again showed their class with a wonderful break from former Macc favourite Lewis Barker, before drawing the fullback and passing to replacement winger Nick Royle to sprint into the corner.  Lewis Barker using his local knowledge to gauge the elements and adding the conversion.  Straight from the restart, Macc. forced an error and from the resulting scrum, Sam Brown coming off his wing into the centre, received the ball on the 10 metre line and showed great speed and elusive running to sprint around the oncoming defence before heading for the posts and scoring a try worthy of rivalling Harry Blackwell’s try from last week, Attis again adding the extra 2, Caldy 38, Macclesfield 21

Sam Brown bags his brace for Macclesfield’s bonus-point try

An attacking lineout for Macc was then overthrown and the visitors showed their class with some wonderful interplay between forwards and backs; resulting in a try out on the left wing for another regular Championship player Ben Jones; Barker was unsuccessful with the conversation, Caldy 43, Macclesfield 21. It was turning into real end to end stuff with Caldy infringing at the restart, Attis kicking for the corner and a series of attacks from the Blues before Sam Brown cut a great line to score his second of the day, again Attis converting, Caldy 43 Macclesfield 28.

Caldy then showed some clinical finishing with another catch and drive at the lineout, closely followed by a superb break up the middle with an offload to Nick Royle for his second to complete the scoring for the day, Caldy 57, Macclesfield 28.

When you consider Caldy included 8 players from their Championship team, (Caldy 1st team had no game on Saturday), and Macclesfield fielded 7 first team debutants, this was a sterling and extremely encouraging performance from a very young and inexperienced side.  The difference in experience was highlighted when Macc. brought on young winger Harry King at half time for his debut, having only recently secured his place in the second team, whilst Caldy brought on winger Nick Royle an England Sevens player, with 123 National 1 appearances for Fylde and almost 200 tries in National League rugby!

Number 9 Hector Tomlinson had an excellent debut

Everyone at Priory Park should be extremely proud of the performance of our young-guns on Saturday, each and every one stepped up to the mark and they should all be proud of their performances, and I make no apology for naming each of the young debutants: Dale Crompton (who spilled tears of pride when he ran onto the pitch), James Brocklehurst, Hector Tomlinson, Toby Moule (voted Macclesfield Man of the Match for an outstanding performance at full back), Ted Broadley (a hooker with great potential), Harry King and Ollie Church. Added to that, Carl Droy and Hayden Keogh who have 2-3 games between them and the future looks bright and the future looks BLUE!

Back to League action next week when Kendal travel down from Cumbria to take on the Blue – selection this week will be interesting after Saturday!  Why not book on for the pre match lunch and enjoy the full match day experience!

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