Macclesfield came out on top in the local derby against Sedgley Park, beating the visitors to overtake them and go 14th in the league.
Two tries from Matt King and one from Ryan Parkinson ensured the Blues’ victory and boosts their chances of escaping the relegation zone.
Head coach Geoff Wappett was pleased with his side’s defensive display. “We had to get our defence right,” he said.
“I think that was the first game this season where we went the full 80 minutes and didn’t concede a try.”
Macclesfield dominated from the kick-off and Ryan Parkinson was able to score from a driving maul down the right wing after just two minutes but captain Tom Eaton was off-target with the long-range conversion.
The Blues quickly took control in the opening stages, impressing in set-pieces and tackling well when not in possession.
Elliot Brierley came close with a chance down the left after the ball was switched out wide but Sedgley Park’s defence got back in numbers to turn the ball over.
Blues were able to keep good control of the ball and looked comfortable.Winger Edd Stobart almost got in on the left wing after quick off-loading from Matts O’Regan and King set him free in space, however was tackled into touch after crossing the line.
Frankie Barker and Dean Williams both impressed during lineouts, Barker making an impressive catch to turn the ball over at a Sedgley lineout and Williams showing good strength to shrug off several tackles as he ran through the centre, but he was finally brought down 10 yards short.
King then scored his first try on the half-time whistle as he burst down the right wing after the ball was kicked wide. Eaton converted to bring the half-time score to 12-0.
The Tigers came back out strongly and centre Matt Riley kicked the visitors’ only points of the game with a penalty two minutes after the restart.
Macclesfield took back the momentum as Williams and Stobart continued to impress. After an hour Eaton’s dummy pass set him up for a run through the centre, catching the defence off-guard.
After being denied just inches from the goal-line, Park’s James Harrison then led a fast counter-attack but the Blues regained the ball at halfway.
It got worse for Park late on as prop Nicholas Flynn saw red for stamping on King in a ruck after repeated warnings, giving the Blues the extra man going forward. It was King again who produced the try with just five minutes left.
After receiving the ball out on the right wing he found the gaps to score and Eaton’s conversion brought the final score to 19-3.
Wappett added: “It’s a shame we didn’t get the bonus point because we created more than enough chances to get it.
“But at the end of the day we can’t forget that both sides were under a great deal of pressure and knew the importance of the game and that comes to bear on how they played.
“In the first half we had the majority of the ball and there were a number of times where we’d get within three yards, but we just tried to be too intricate with the passing instead of someone just saying ‘right I’m going for it’.
“We scrummaged well, they had to concede penalties as a result, and our lineouts were pretty good, both with our ball and in flipping a few of theirs.
“So in that sense our set piece and defence was where the game was going to be won.
“Matt King had a good half against Rosslyn Park last week, and in the warm-up Tom Davenport pulled a hamstring so he went straight in at full-back while Matt O’Regan moved to centre.
“I think he did really well, he got two well-taken tries and I thought he also contributed well throughout the game.”
Speaking about the Blues’ next opposition, Loughborough Students, Wappett said: “They’ve been a bit of an inconsistent side, very hard to read.
“If our forwards can maintain their dominant mood then we have a chance.
“In the reverse fixture we were winning and then let them get back into the game and eventually won.
“We have to stop them getting the ball and tackle a bit more assuredly so we stop them off-loading as quickly, because that’s one of their strengths.”
by Mark Risley