Doomed Blues will battle on
MACCLESFIELD rugby union head coach Giles Heargerty insists they will never stop fighting despite sitting 18 points adrift at the bottom of the table.
The Blues have struggled in National League 1 this season, and have lost their last 12 league games in a row. Their last win came in November, when they defeated Darlington Mowden Park 43-16 at home.
Those two teams meet again this weekend at the Darlington Arena, and Heargerty believes his side have the ability to turn things around.
“It’s never too late in my opinion. Yes, it’s a big ask, but we’ve not thrown in the towel by any stretch of the imagination,” he told the club’s official website.
“We’ve got games to play against teams who are sitting comfortably in the top half of the league with nothing to play for bar pride.
“So you never know what’s going to happen in games like that. All you can do is carry on going until you either stay up or you go down.
“The last time we played Darlington was one of the few games this season where we showed our true ability to mix it in National 1.
“I said at the time that Darlington were a wellestablished side in the league and that we had to be on our mettle when we played them. Obviously we were.
“One of the challenges we’ve faced this season has been to try and replicate performances like that, but sadly we haven’t been able to do that consistently. What we have to try to do this weekend is find that spark again.
“It doesn’t really matter what Darlington say or do, what we have to concentrate on is us and our performance.”
Macclesfield head into the game on the back of a 45-21 defeat at Hull Ionians, but Heargerty felt the result didn’t tell the true tale of the match.
“The scoreline last weekend might have suggested that the game was a very one-sided affair, but it was still one of our best performances of the season,” he said.
“We did a lot of things right, but unfortunately we made two or three errors that cost us. This weekend is all about cutting out those errors and going out to do what we do best.
“In the interests of transparency as always, I should say that I was away with the England Counties at the weekend, so I didn’t see the game live.
“However, I’ve watched the game since and spoken to the coaching staff, so I’m fully aware of what happened.”
This weekend’s opponents Darlington are ninth in the table, having won 11, lost 11 and drawn one of their 23 matches so far this season.
MACCLESFIELD ............ 21 HULL IONIANS .............. 45
AFTER the controversy of the last minute calling off of this fixture in January due to a frozen pitch, and the fact the two teams are separated by one place in the relegation zone of National One, this had all the hallmarks of a grudge match.
Both teams wasted their first attacking entry in the opening exchanges and Macclesfield had the better of the scoreless opening quarter, using their pack to retain possession and to bludgeon away at the home eight, and they should have made more of several good chances created but handling errors and a resilient home defensive effort kept them at bay.
It was Macclesfield who went ahead in the 21st minute after fly-half Tom Eaton saw a gap and made a break through the Ionians defence on half way, and put the supporting Matt King under the posts for the first score. Tom Morton added the goal to open up a seven point lead.
Ionians responded with an improved forward effort to drive the ball into the opposition 22. James Sanderson and Mark Wigham did the donkey work to allow Phil Eggleshaw to barge over from close range, on 25 minutes to level the scores.
This was followed swiftly by a fine solo effort from Aquile Smith; ever alert, Smith gathered the ball at the base of a poorly guarded ruck, and sprinted through the middle, rounded the covering Ryan Parkinson and dived over in the corner. The kick was expertly judged by Isaac Green, to put the hosts 14 – 7 in front, which was how it remained to the break.
The Blues came out fighting in the second half, with Ionians weathering an early onslaught from Macclesfield, during which scrum half Green was sent to the bin after the visitors mauled 25 metres deep into the Yorkshire sides’ ‘22.
Unfortunately for Macc points win prizes and the lads failed to pick any up in that dominant spell. Ultimately, not taking their chances is what has