Sedgely slip-up benefits Blues
RUGBY UNION ALEX HANNAH
ALTHOUGH Macclesfield’s game with Harrogate was called off at the weekend, The Blues position at the top of National Two North was once again strengthened due to Sedgely Park’s loss away at Stourbridge.
Sedge went down 15-7 meaning the gap between the two sides remained at 18 points.
Head coach Giles Heagerty admitted it was frustrating to lose another game to the weather but it was somewhat expected;
“It was disappointing as it means we have to play into the middle of may. But it means were on the same number of games now as Sedgely park, the lay of the land is now a lot clearer, in what teams need to do for a first place or top two finish. We didn’t play as well as we could have against Broadstreet and the players wanted to put that right, so in that way it is disappointing for the playing group.”
With the final run in approaching and The Blues heavy title favourites, Heagerty says the only pressure his side is feeling is the pressure they put on themselves to meet the standards they set.
“I don’t feel like there is external pressure on us, there is pressure within the group because we want to play well and get the job done. People are going to have to something extra special now to stop what we’re doing, we’re in a good place now in terms of a fit squad, so there is pressure on our opponents.”
Macc have only lost one game at Priory Park all season, a record that Heagerty is extremely proud of and has been key to his side matching their ambitions this year.
“We’re very fortunate to have a talented group of men that work very hard, and because of that, an average performance still allows us to win even if an opponent brings their ‘a’ game, the win over Broadstreet was a good example of that.”
“Home form is crucial; you’ve got to win your home games. With the exception of the second half against Sedgely weve played some great rugby at home. Its vital for any team no matter what you’re trying to achieve.
“But we’re now going on the road for the next three weeks, and we need to maintain our levels, that starts with this weekend against Preston.”
The Blues face Preston Grasshoppers this weekend, and Heagerty knows his side are in for a tough time against a side that has defeated both Stourbridge and Sedgely Park this season.
“Lightfoot lane is a tough place to go. It’s a big wide pitch and they have some talented players to match including a very good fly half and a couple of handy back three players and their pack is sharp. Their form is of no surprise, we’ve got to go there and perform how we know we can.
“The weather forecast is good so hopefully the track will stay dry, which suits us. They’re coming off the back of a defeat against Luctonians who have done really well to get themselves out the mire.”
As well as being Macclesfield Head Coach, Heagerty also takes the reigns as Head Coach of England Counties u18s for the first time this year after four years as assistant coach. A prospect which excites him.
“I’m looking forward to working with some very exciting young players. It starts on Friday down in Leicester, we have training on Friday and Saturday and then play against Leicester tigers academy on Sunday.
“Then we go into camp the following Friday, we train with Northampton saints on Saturday afternoon. We then fly out to Ireland on easter Monday for a tri-nations tournament against France and Ireland, it’s a short programme but its very exciting.
“It’s a very rewarding programme, the opportunity to work at international level is brilliant. They’re always a very focussed group and you’re playing against two international sides, its my first year as head coach after being assistant coach for the last few years, that brings with it some new challenges and some new excitement, I feel like a kid in the run up to Christmas.
“It’s good to go into different environments, it keeps you fresh and allows you to see how different people do different things. I always feel refreshed when I come back from an England campaign, I feel very lucky to be involved in it.”