Blues come­back to se­cure fi­nal slot



MAC­CLES­FIELD Blues go into the Cheshire Cup fi­nal af­ter win­ning away at Sand­bach on Satur­day.

The Blues made it three weeks in a row that they have over­turned a half time deficit to end up vic­to­ri­ous.

Sand­bach play a league be­low The Blues in Na­tional Three Mid­lands and found them­selves 26-3 up at half time – but Macc ran out 26-32 win­ners.

Sand­bach got off to a quick start with Stew­art But­ters slot­ting over an early penalty which was can­celled out five min­utes later by Macc’s fly half Dan Lo­max. But­ters added a cou­ple more in quick suc­ces­sion and the hosts found them­selves 9-3 up by the 20-minute mark.

But­ters then scored a try of his own to back up his good work from the kick­ing tee. The full back fin­ished off a fine counter at­tack­ing move to make the score 19-3.

Sand­bach con­tin­ued to de­fend well through­out the first half and de­spite some pres­sure from The Blues they held out.

The hosts added to a fine first half dis­play with a score in the fi­nal play, scrum half Nick All­sop the provider for Jack Leech to score.

The Blues came fir­ing out the traps in the sec­ond half, look­ing to prove a point to their Cheshire ri­vals.

Early in the half, Blues full back Jake Evens in­ter­cepted a Sand­bach pass and looked to be clear, only to be tripped by his op­po­site num­ber But­ters. The referee had no choice but to send him to the bin.

The Blues took ad­van­tage of the ex­tra man im­me­di­ately as Franky Barker pow­ered over.

De­spite Sand­bach be­ing back to 15, the Blues grabbed an­other score and got them­selves right back into the con­test. The pro­lific catch and drive li­ne­out again prov­ing fruit­ful for Franky Barker to grab his sec­ond of the game.

Sand­bach then saw yel­low again with 15 min­utes re­main­ing and Macc took full ad­van­tage as they looked the fit­ter side – they also were able to bring a lot of strength and ex­pe­ri­ence from the bench.

How­ever, it was two scores in quick suc­ces­sion for re­turn­ing Ire­land Sev­ens in­ter­na­tional Matt O’Re­gan that se­cured the spoils for The Blues. The Ir­ish flyer touched down twice in five min­utes to save any Blues blushes.

Re­place­ment fly half Lewis Barker added a penalty late on to ex­tend the lead to six, and se­cure the game.

The Blues face Otley at Pri­ory Park this week­end where they hope to make it eight league wins in a row and con­sol­i­date their place at the top of the pile in Na­tional Two North.

●● Matt O’Re­gan dives in for a try dur­ing Mac­cles­field’s vic­tory against Sand­bach in the Cheshire Cup

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