Heagerty hails best so far as Blues beat Sandal
ALEXANDER HANNAH MACCLESFIELD head coach Giles Heagerty was left delighted with what he called his side’s best performance of the season as they picked up their eighth consecutive league win and maintained their 100 per cent home record against Sandal on Saturday.
“I’m thrilled with that performance, it’s probably the best we’ve played all season. Sandal really came at us, especially at the start of the second half. To be able to score four tries against the strongest defence in the league was testament to how hard the boys worked.”
For the first time in three weeks, Macc found themselves with a half time lead, but Heagerty insisted his side still had things to work on at the break.
The Blues also reaped the benefits of having a full front row on the bench, replacing both props at half time.
“It’s an odd feeling but the message didn’t change – we didn’t feel like we had taken as much control as we could have.
“We weren’t as patient on the ball as I would have liked when we had the ball in the first half and we felt that needed to change.
“It was nice to have an entire front row on the bench, it allowed us to play with a bit more tempo throughout the match.”
It was the best attack against the best defence at Priory Park, and The Blues’ attack coming out on top as they scored a last-minute try to secure yet another bonus point. Heagerty was very pleased his side were able to break down such a stern defence.
“We know we have to win the game first but in the last two or three minutes I was hoping we would be able to get another score to secure the bonus, and Ryan showed his class with the final play to get us over the line.”
The Blues showed that they have a very good defence as well, as they restricted the visitors to just three points for the entire match, the first time Sandal have failed to score a try this season.
“They were a very good side, we’ve not allowed them to play, you could see they had some very dangerous backs we knew we had to keep quiet,” said Heagerty. “We showed some fantastic defence, Charlie Venables was very good from the wing and Max Smith was fantastic, he gave us a great opportunity to keep our line intact, he hit everything.”
This is Sandal’s first season at this level of rugby, and they faced off with Macclesfield for the first time in the clubs’ history. The Blues knew that they came into the game having already beaten Sedgely Tigers to knock them off top, and they would be planning to do the same to Macc.
“We knew Sandal had taken some big scalps this season, and they wanted to come here and do that. To have played the way we have, and take away their threats, I think that takes some doing.”
The Blues are back on the road next week at Harrogate, in what Heagerty knows will be another hard encounter for his side.
“Harrogate will be tough, as every game is at this level. When you’re at the top of the league you’ve got to put a performance in week in, week out as everyone wants to knock you off the top spot.”
●● Mascot Oliver Bradley with Jordan Brookes