We can avenge loss says Giles

Macclesfield Express - - TRAVEL - SHELDAN KEAY

MAC­CLES­FIELD Blues head coach Giles Hea­gerty in­sists his team have come on leaps and bounds since their last en­counter with Cam­bridge ahead of this week­end’s clash be­tween the two sides.

Macc went up against them back in Oc­to­ber, suf­fer­ing a nar­row 26-20 loss away from home.

They now meet again at Pri­ory Park on Satur­day, and Hea­gerty be­lieves his side have what it takes to gain re­venge.

“We’ll be play­ing to win nat­u­rally, and I think, given the pos­i­tives we showed last week­end, we can go into the game with con­fi­dence,” he told the club’s of­fi­cial web­site.

“When we met pre­vi­ously we did an enor­mous num­ber of good things, but our fin­ish­ing was deeply dis­ap­point­ing. We’ve worked very hard since then, and I think we’ve got sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter. So I’d say we’re def­i­nitely much bet­ter pre­pared this time around.

“I was talk­ing to Ampthill’s Head Coach after the game at the week­end and he summed up Cam­bridge bril­liantly by say­ing that they seemed to be im­per­vi­ous to con­ced­ing tries. Ob­vi­ously that’s not to say that they don’t con­cede tries, be­cause clearly they do.

“What he meant was when they con­cede a try, they don’t dwell on the dis­ap­point­ment: they just get on with it and come back at you.

“So the mes­sage for us this week­end is clear; we have to keep go­ing. It’s no point think­ing the job is done if you score a cou­ple of tries. It’s not.

“Cam­bridge won’t break: they’ll just come back stronger. So we have to take ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to score points if we want to win this game.”

Mac­cles­field head into the match on the back of a 36-10 de­feat to Ampthill on Satur­day, but de­spite the loss, Hea­gerty saw some pos­i­tives in the per­for­mance.

“I was ac­tu­ally very en­cour­aged by the first 30 min­utes of the first half. Our first two at­tack­ing sets were very good,” he said.

“Our shape and our set was very good and we were caus­ing Ampthill some real prob­lems. De­fen­sively we were also very strong, though ide­ally I would’ve pre­ferred not to be de­fend­ing for so long.

“I think that was prob­a­bly our best de­fen­sive show­ing of the sea­son, and it took a lot of ef­fort on Ampthill’s part to break us down.

“I think that work in the first half al­lowed us to do what we did in the last 12 min­utes of the sec­ond half. Our bench was very dy­namic, and the hard work that Ampthill had had to ex­pend in the first half to break down our de­fence started to take its toll.

“They were tired, and our quick lads were able to ex­ploit that. We stuck to our shape and started to cause Ampthill some real prob­lems, par­tic­u­larly Lewis Barker who was ex­cep­tional at both full back and fly half.

“The pos­i­tives show that when we are fir­ing we are very good. I also think it shows that the fu­ture for this club is pretty bright.

“Un­for­tu­nately, the frus­tra­tions then start to kick in, and by that I mean the first 25 min­utes after half time.

“We fum­bled a kick off re­ceipt and im­me­di­ately put our­selves un­der pres­sure. From that we con­ceded a score and started to drop off tack­les.

“Whether that had any­thing to do with the ef­fort we’d ex­pended in the first half is dif­fi­cult to say. Maybe it had: maybe it hadn’t.

“Then we lost our disci- pline a lit­tle, talk­ing back to the ref­eree and con­ced­ing the yel­low card. All of these mis­takes just put us un­der the pump. So yes, I do take heart from the good things we did in the game, but I’m still frus­trated with that 25 minute spell of mad­ness that cost us the game.” AFTER the dis­ap­point­ing home loss to Blay­don last week, a trip for the Blues’ to sec­ond place Ampthill looked daunt­ing, es­pe­cially after the Mid­lands’ club were com­ing off the back off im­pres­sive wins against Loughborough and Mose­ley.

Macc started the brighter and ul­ti­mately drew first blood, hav­ing shown strong re­silience in de­fence in the open­ing min­utes. A line break by lock Fran­cis Barker led to an early but un­suc­cess­ful shot at goal for Lewis Barker.

The away team man­aged to peg Ampthill back in their own ‘22, be­fore Aleki Lu­tui’s li­ne­out throw flew over the flail­ing jumper straight into the hands of Ryan Parkin­son who stormed over for the Blues.

Ampthill were strug­gling to win their own li­ne­out, not to men­tion get out of their own half. It wasn’t un­til the 14th minute when the home side ac­tu­ally broke out through a snip­ing run by Northamp­ton Saints loa­nee Alex Mitchell.

From there the hosts man­aged to turn the ter­ri­tory bat­tle around and even­tu­ally Mitchell went over in the 27th minute after the for­wards laid the ground work.

This seemed to lift Ampthill tem­porar­iliy, as more pres­sure brought a con­verted try for Karim Lynch.

Mac­cles­field heads did not drop though, and they en­joyed a strong spell be­fore the ref­eree brought the half to a close at 12-5.

Blues Di­rec­tor of Rugby Giles Hea­gerty must have hoped his side could repli­cate the mo­men­tum they had showed in the first 15 min­utes of the game.

How­ever, im­pres­sive flanker Joe Ber­cis broke through the de­fen­sive line im­me­di­ately after the restart, and scored for the home side.

If Hea­gerty was dis­ap­pointed to con­cede straight after the break, then he must have been fum­ing, five min­utes later, to see Ber­cis again break tack­les and pro­vide one of the mo­ments of the match when he threw a blind off­load in the tackle to put sec­ond row

Dominic Sal­ter

Mac­cles­field blues coach Giles Hea­gerty

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