Lead­ers look to kick­start sea­son

Macclesfield Express - - SPORT - ALEX HAN­NAH

MAC­CLES­FIELD re­main ten points clear at the sum­mit of Na­tional Two North af­ter a hard fought vic­tory away at 12th placed South Le­ices­ter.

For­mer cap­tain Tom Ea­ton started at fly half for the first time this sea­son with Lewis Barker be­ing un­avail­able for se­lec­tion and the two time Na­tional Two win­ner with The Blues felt it was more a case of job done, than a good per­for­mance.

“We just had to get back to win­ning ways and kick start the run in to the end of the sea­son, we did what was needed and not a lot more,” said Ea­ton.

“We’re def­i­nitely not pleased with how we played. The pitch was heavy, and a few de­ci­sions didn’t go our way. South Le­ices­ter did well to slow it down and it took the wind out of our sails. It was frus­trat­ing to lose two weeks with the bad weather, there’s noth­ing worse. And af­ter los­ing to Caldy at the turn of the year we just wanted to get play­ing and win­ning again.”

The Blues lost Tom Man­tell and Dave Mar­wick to the sin bin within a minute of each other in the first half, and de­spite ship­ping 12 points, Macc Head Coach Giles Hea­gerty felt his team dealt rea­son­ably well with the two man dis­ad­van­tage.

“We man­aged to knock time off the clock when we were down to 13, with the driv­ing maul and with a penalty.

“You’ve just got to knuckle down in those sit­u­a­tions, the boys know that. We’ve got some good ex­pe­ri­ence in there, and I felt we did ok with 13.”

Hea­gerty was pleased his side could get the five points and keep the gap at the top, but in­sists his side will con­tinue to take things on a week by week ba­sis.

“You al­ways want to get five points, it was nice to be back on the field play­ing some rugby. Af­ter two weeks off, there was al­ways go­ing to be some rust, and that showed at times.

“Hope­fully the worst of the weather has passed through. There is a long way to go, 13 games left and we’ve got to make sure that we tick them off one at a time.”

Ryan Parkin­son scored a se­cond half brace to se­cure the win for The Blues, with his first com­ing just mo­ments af­ter com­ing on.

“Hea­gerty had praise for the back rower’s im­pact but ad­mit­ted his scores were also down to the hard work of his pack in the maul.

“The boys worked hard to get in that po­si­tion and Ryan was there to fin­ish it off. You know Ryan is go­ing to bring you some ex­plo­sive­ness onto the field. he per­formed well when he came on.”

“The maul is some­thing we’re al­ways work­ing on. Its been a big weapon for us this year, but I wouldn’t want any­one to think that we’re one di­men­sional and we rely solely on that area of play. We can score from any­where and we showed that with our score to­day off the kick off. We know if we can get the maul go­ing for­ward then we’re go­ing to be able to play off it.”

The Blues re­turn to ac­tion at Pri­ory Park for the first time in over a month this Satur­day when they host Tynedale, Ea­ton said he was rar­ing to get back to play­ing at home, and on a flat pitch.

“It’ll be good to be back at Pri­ory Park we al­ways get great sup­port there, but per­son­ally I’m des­per­ate to play on a flat track that you’re not up to your knees in mud.

“We’ve got an ex­cit­ing set of backs. Lads like Char­lie Ven­ables will raise some eye­brows on a dry pitch, he’s look­ing re­ally sharp. I’ve never seen any­thing like the amount of rain we’ve had so hope­fully it’ll be a dif­fer­ent story when the pitches dry out.”

Satur­day’s game kick off at 3pm.

Do­minic Sal­ter

●● Tom Ea­ton started at fly half for the first time this sea­son at South Le­ices­ter

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