Blues to learn from Students
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