Blues losing ground in bid for survival
NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISION ONE ROSSLYN PARK ............. 59 MACCLESFIELD ............ 28
MACCLESFIELD have put their longest trips behind them but this one to the capital was certainly one of the furthest remaining on the fixture list.
For the first 15 minutes it seemed as if they were a little sluggish from the trip, pegged back in their ’22 and under pressure until, what seemed like the inevitable award of a penalty try, converted by Harry Leonard for 7-0.
But as we have seen in recent matches, Macclesfield heads didn’t drop and equalised on 19 minutes, after some good work by the forwards, with a try from Tom Mantell converted by Lewis Barker.
A large amount of midfield play and kicking ping pong followed for the next 10 minutes, with neither side giving much away.
The Blues defended the home side’s phases for long periods with relative comfort, but eventually Centre Andrew Henderson managed to find a gap out wide on 31 minutes, again converted by Leonard to restore the lead at 14-7.
Then Macclesfield temporarily imploded under the incessant pressure, five minutes before the interval, with Mantell yellow carded for kicking away the ball after a penalty was awarded to Park, and after the resulting 25 metre maul ended in a penalty try, Blues captain Ryan Parkinson was also sent to the bin.
Park took full advantage of the two-man advantage, with a further try from debutant Rhys Crane straight from the restart and a further three points were added on the stroke of half time by Leonard who would end up eight from eight for the day, for a half time lead of 31-7.
Almost from kick off for the second period, back rower Nwakor shook off Liam Parfitt, broke through and offloaded to flanker Jamie Harris who scooted in for the Londoners, followed five minutes later by Harry Leonard, who converted both efforts for 45-7. It was looking like another long afternoon for Macclesfield but what seemed like a rare attack in the second half, for the visiting team, was stopped by a deliberate knock on by Boyle, who was yellow carded and scrummaging against a reduced pack Macclesfield gained a penalty try, although it should be pointed out Macc had the edge in the scrum all day, winning four pens to two.
Back row substitute Joe Palmer made the most of a strong spell of territory and possession, supporting Ryan Parkinson’s line break off the scrum for 45-21.
Visiting fans may have eyed an unlikely comeback but hope were quashed by Russ Weir who steadied the Rosslyn Park ship with a try on 67 minutes, before Macclesfield fly half Barker intercepted a Park pass one metre out and went over for the Blues fourth try bonus point.
Park scored again on the stroke of full time for 59-28 but home fans admitted that the Cheshire side had given a very good account of themselves, if only in spells.
Despite picking put the try scoring bonus, the boys have lost ground on the other two northern sides in front of them in the league, with Braydon picking up a win, that’s three in their last four, and Hull ionians narrowly losing to Fylde but picking up two points.
When asked if scrapping for every point, even bonus points, in lost games was going to be important in Macc’s bid for survival, director of rugby Giles Hegarty was remaining typically focused, responding: “We are just focusing on next week.”
15. Morton, 14. Winterbottom, 13. Brierley, 12. Smith, 11. King, 10. L. Barker, 9.Eaton, 8. Parkinson (c), 7. Parfitt 6. Redfern, 5. Marwick, 4. F. Barker, 3. Robinson, 2. Moss, 1. Mantell 16. Millea, 17. Millar-Mills, 18. O. Parkinson, 19. Palmer, 20. Broster