Cov con­vinc­ing as Blues suf­fer de­feat

Macclesfield Express - - MOTORS - ALEXANDER HANNAH

NA­TIONAL LEAGUE ONE COVEN­TRY .................... 35 MACCLESFIELD ........... 15

THE Blues faced sec­ond-placed Coven­try at the Butts Park Arena on Satur­day, and were look­ing to build on their last away per­for­mance which saw them vic­to­ri­ous at Tynedale.

Macclesfield had the tough task of end­ing Coven­try’s un­beaten run of 17 games which has seen them emerge as the near­est chal­lengers to Eal­ing at the top of the league.

The Blues’ start to the game was not ideal as they failed to take pos­ses­sion from the kick-off and Coven­try quickly cre­ated space for the light­ningquick Dan Run­dle to pick up the first of his three tries with lit­tle more than a minute on the clock.

On seven min­utes, the hosts dou­bled their lead, a set move from the li­ne­out put their cap­tain Cliffie Hodg­son into acres of space as he breezed past Macclesfield de­fend­ers to walk in un­der the posts for 14-0.

The Blues then fi­nally woke up and showed that they could be a threat to the sec­ond-best team in this league.

Sam James went ag­o­nis­ingly close on 15 min­utes as he hacked the ball in be­hind and looked cer­tain to score, only some heroic re­cov­ery de­fend­ing sav­ing the hosts.

On 21 min­utes, Run­dle got his sec­ond, show­ing quick feet to step around a tackle and fin­ish for a try that was con­verted to make it 21-0.

Macclesfield reg­is­tered their first score on the half-hour mark, the driv­ing maul at the li­ne­out prov­ing ef­fec­tive as Max Smith mar­shalled it from the back and touched down for 21-5.

Macc went close again five min­utes later but were judged by the ref­eree to be held up over the line, an un­for­tu­nate but fair call which meant the Blues still trailed by 16 at half­time.

It took 10 min­utes for the first real ac­tion of the sec­ond half, and it was for Run­dle to com­plete his hat-trick with a piece of in­di­vid­ual bril­liance.

The young winger picked up the ball no fur­ther than 10 me­tres from his own line and showed su­per­hu­man speed to out­run the en­tire Blues de­fence to score at the other end, 28-5 the score af­ter the con­ver­sion.

Five min­utes af­ter Run­dle’s touch­down, Macclesfield flanker Phil Wil­liams saw yel­low for an in­fringe­ment at the break down.

Wil­liams can con­sider him­self un­for­tu­nate to be the man to go, but the de­ci­sion piled more even pres­sure onto Macc.

The Blues man­aged the 10 min­utes with 14 men- with­out con­ced­ing a point but when back to the full quota Coven­try had a shove on at a five-me­tre scrum.

The Macc pack in­fringed to halt the drive and the ref­eree went un­der the posts to award a penalty try that took the lead to 30 points.

The fi­nal 10 min­utes were dom­i­nated by Macclesfield and the vis­i­tors got their re­ward on 74 min­utes when Shane Hef­fer­nan burst over the line to get an­other score back for the Blues.

Cap­tain Mike Fin­nemore then got try num­ber three with a minute to play to give Macclesfield slight hope of a bonus point, how­ever the other score needed didn’t come and the Blues went down 35-15.

Do­minic Sal­ter

●● Max Smith scored the first of three tries for Macclesfield but the Blues had been 21 points be­hind at that stage and fell to de­feat at Coven­try

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