Coventry 35 Macclesfield 15
The Blues faced second-placed Coventry at the Butts Park Arena on Saturday, and were looking to build on their last away performance which saw them victorious at Tynedale.
Macclesfield had the tough task of ending Coventry’s unbeaten run of 17 games which has seen them emerge as the nearest challengers to Ealing at the top of the league.
The Blues’ start to the game was not ideal as they failed to take possession from the kick-off and Coventry quickly created space for the lightning-quick Dan Rundle to pick up the first of his three tries with little more than a minute on the clock.
On seven minutes, the hosts doubled their lead, a set move from the lineout put their captain Cliffie Hodgson into acres of space as he breezed past Macclesfield defenders to walk in under the posts for 14-0.
The Blues then finally woke up and showed that they could be a threat to the second-best team in this league.
Sam James went agonisingly close on 15 minutes as he hacked the ball in behind and looked certain to score, only some heroic recovery defending saving the hosts.
On 21 minutes, Rundle got his second, showing quick feet to step around a tackle and finish for a try that was converted to make it 21-0.
Macclesfield registered their first score on the half-hour mark, the driving maul at the lineout proving effective as Max Smith marshalled it from the back and touched down for 21-5.
Macc went close again five minutes later but were judged by the referee to be held up over the line, an unfortunate but fair call which meant the Blues still trailed by 16 at half-time.
It took 10 minutes for the first real action of the second half, and it was for Rundle to complete his hat-trick with a piece of individual brilliance.
The young winger picked up the ball no further than 10 metres from his own line and showed superhuman speed to outrun the entire Blues defence to score at the other end, 28-5 the score after the conversion.
Five minutes after Rundle’s touchdown, Macclesfield flanker Phil Williams saw yellow for an infringement at the break down.
Williams can consider himself unfortunate to be the man to go, but the decision piled more even pressure onto Macc.
The Blues managed the 10 minutes with 14 menwithout conceding a point but when back to the full quota Coventry had a shove on at a five-metre scrum.
The Macc pack infringed to halt the drive and the referee went under the posts to award a penalty try that took the lead to 30 points.
The final 10 minutes were dominated by Macclesfield and the visitors got their reward on 74 minutes when Shane Heffernan burst over the line to get another score back for the Blues.
Captain Mike Finnemore then got try number three with a minute to play to give Macclesfield slight hope of a bonus point, however the other score needed didn’t come and the Blues went down 35-15.