MACCLESFIELD team manager Howard Hughes was left reflecting on another defeat, one in which he felt the Blues again gifted the opposition points.
The 35-12 loss was made all the more disappointing as, at other points in the game, they competed well and caused hosts Rosslyn Park numerous problems.
“Naturally we are disappointed with any loss, however we are more annoyed than anything with the way we yet again gifted our opponents early opportunities which turned out to be match-winning scores, certainly in the first half,” blasted Hughes. “We seemed to lose focus both in our defensive shape and in making basic errors like missing tackles and not defending the rucks well enough, which we were guilty of in the first half.”
But Hughes was impressed with the second-half showing from Macclesfield as they showed what they could do and performed at a level more representative of their ability.
“Some observers probably thought it would either be a damage limitation exercise on our behalf or a points romp for the hosts who are second in the league,” he continued. “It was neither as, not for the first time we decided to up our game, keep our shape and compete.
“Yes, the second half ended 7-7 in terms of points but both myself and Chris Jones (fitness coach, pictured below) felt it was a moral victory after such a below-par start to the game.”
The Blues’ injury problems continued in London as they lost prop Billy Robinson, who failed a late fitness test.
Losing a prop of his experience can hurt a side especially when playing at a side like Rosslyn Park.
Fortunately, head coach Giles Heagerty named a 21-man squad to make the journey, meaning that Josh Hearn could be named as a replacement, with Shane Heffernan who was starting at tight head in Robinson’s place.
Hughes reflected on the last few weeks’ outings and the positives they can take, not least since, after facing three of the top four in a row, they complete the set this Saturday at home to league leaders Ealing Trailfinders.
“While we’ve not gained points we have shown a lot of good things in each of those games,” he added.
“We now need to put that into a complete performance and finish the season on a high ready for next season.”