Blues to learn from Stu­dents

Macclesfield Express - - TRAVEL - SHELDAN KEAY

MAC­CLES­FIELD Blues Rugby head coach Giles Hea­gerty is keen to en­sure his­tory doesn’t re­peat it­self when his side face Lough­bor­ough Stu­dents at Pri­ory Park.

Hea­gerty’s side lost 76-30 when the two teams met ear­lier this sea­son in the re­verse fix­ture in Novem­ber.

That loss be­gan the los­ing streak that Mac­cles­field have un­der­gone, hav­ing been de­feated in their last 14 straight matches.

That in­cluded a 48-12 de­feat to DMP last week­end, and Hea­gerty knows it will be an­other tough game on Satur­day.

“Lough­bor­ough Stu­dents are a very threaten- ing side with pace to burn. When they play at home on a dry track they are pretty near unstoppable,” he told the club’s of­fi­cial web­site.

“How dry Pri­ory Park will be this Satur­day af­ter the del­uge of rain we’ve suf­fered is any­body’s guess. The ground staff are work­ing tire­lessly to get the ground in shape, and I guess we’ll just have to keep our fin­gers crossed that we don’t get any more rain.

“Lough­bor­ough are a good side, and they’re very well coached. They play some very good rugby and they are def­i­nitely a threat go­ing for­ward. But Lough­bor­ough have got to have the ball to de­liver that threat. Our job is stop that hap­pen­ing and to try and con­trol the game so that it suits us.

“Do we have to put in a ‘com­plete’ per­for­mance to achieve that? I’m not sure. The chal­lenge we face, and I said this to the play­ers af­ter last Satur­day’s game, is for ev­ery player to make one bet­ter de­ci­sion.

“If they can do that then we can start to con­trol games a lit­tle bit more. Last Satur­day we had too many play­ers mak­ing poor de­ci­sions, and that was what cost us. That can’t hap­pen again this week­end.

“We cer­tainly had par­ity at the scrum last week­end, if not more so, and our maul was very good. Dar­ling­ton def­i­nitely had an enor­mous amount of pace out wide, though we knew that’s what we were likely to face go­ing into the game.

“They were also very com­pet­i­tive at the break­down, and I think that was what dif­fer­en­ti­ated the two sides. They were able to con­trol the speed of our ball; we weren’t as ef­fec­tive as we could’ve been at break con­trol­ling the speed of theirs.

“That meant it was al­ways dif­fi­cult for the boys to get or­gan­ised to deal with Mow­den Park’s pace and threat out wide.

“Hav­ing said that, we still missed 28 tack­les, so we let our­selves down there. It’s easy to make ex­cuses, but at the end of the day you just have to con­cede that we weren’t as good as they were.

“I thought the ref­eree was dread­ful though. For some­one who is sup­posed to be on a fast-track to Premier­ship of­fi­ci­at­ing, the per­for­mance was aw­ful.

“His man­age­ment of the play­ers was poor, the way he spoke to our cap­tain was poor, and some of the de­ci­sions by him and his fel­low of­fi­cials were very poor in­deed. We will cer­tainly be ask­ing for an explanation from the Ref­er­ees’ De­part­ment.”

DAR­LING­TON MP ......... 48 MAC­CLES­FIELD ............ 12

THE North­ern Echo Arena was the scene for Mac­cles­field’s Na­tional 2 North ti­tle win in 2014 but there was no re­peat of that day’s ju­bi­la­tion ex­pe­ri­enced, this time, de­spite Macc’s win in the re­verse fix­ture ear­lier this sea­son.

The early stages of this game were fran­tic and with the first scrum com­ing in the 20th minute, the ball had been in play nearly all of that amount. It must have been an ex­haust­ing open­ing to the match for both teams on a slightly sticky pitch.

The North Eastern­ers were in con­trol for much of the first half hour, en­joy­ing the ma­jor­ity of ter­ri­tory and pos­ses­sion, but took noth­ing from their open­ing 5 vis­its to the Mac­cles­field ’22.

The vis­i­tors were turn­ing the ball over fre­quently in or­der to keep the scores level and even broke out at one point through some slick pass­ing by the back 3 and the as ever mer­cu­rial Lewis Barker play­ing at 12 to­day.

But the Blues’ couldn’t hold out and in the 23rdm minute, the in form Adam Rad­wan stepped and out­paced the Cheshire side’s kick chase de­fence, to touch down in the cor­ner.

Gary Law added an­other three points seven min­utes later be­fore a con­tro­ver­sial score from James Fitz­patrick ex­tended the home side’s lead to 15-0, with the scrum half ini­ti­at­ing the move tak­ing a quick tap penalty that was won at a scrum, when two men were still on the floor, which if you know your rules is not al­lowed.

This was just one of a num­ber of baf­fling de­ci­sion by ref­eree Hamish Smales, in that first half but Mac­cle­sifeld’s luck turned when in the 35th minute they were fi­nally re­warded with a penalty at a scrum in the DMP half and with only their sec­ond ven­ture into the op­po­si­tion’s ’22, the Blues went over from a maul with Ol­lie Parkin­son at the bot­tom of the pile, on the stroke of half time (15-5).

This is a po­si­tion the Cheshire side have been in nu­mer­ous times all sea­son, com­pet­i­tive and

‘At the end of the day you just have to con­cede that we weren’t as good as they were’

Mac­cles­field In­line Hockey Club

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