Macclesfield 24 Blackheath 12

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Blackheath’s Blue Saturday

The dismal start to 2017, which has seen Blackheath win just once in their last ten matches, reached its nadir with this humiliating defeat at Priory Park.

Macclesfield themselves have had a difficult season on their return to National League One, and with just three victories in their entire campaign prior to this contest, the Blues’ relegation to Level Four was confirmed after last week’s narrow defeat at Plymouth Albion.

Nevertheless, perhaps with their fate known and the release of pressure that ensues, their pack, and in particular their front-row of Tom Mantell, Sam Moss and Will Robinson, produced a performance that cruelly exposed the Club’s shortcomings up front, resulting in no less than six scrum penalties in the first period. Add to that poor ball retention, some ropey kicking (two landed in touch on the full), a yellow card and the odd lost line-out, and you end up with a 21-0 deficit that effectively had the outcome decided by the interval.

As the ball found its way to touch from the first scrum penalty in only the second minute, Blues’ wing Matt King crashed through a tackle on his arching run for the first try, before the ‘Macc pack’ launched a mighty 20-metre drive off a further line-out for Moss to claim a second score.

The almost inevitable touch-down at the base of the scrum, courtesy of number-eight Ryan Parkinson, came on the half-hour, completing a period where the only blemish for the hosts were the unnecessary attempts at ‘comedy’ from an irritating PA announcer (rugby doesn’t need this!).

Perhaps, however, the opening of the second period offered a clue to Macclesfield’s current predicament.

Dan Hamilton

Inspired by skipper Markus Burcham’s turnover, and with some impetus from Gregor Gillanders and Dan Hamilton arriving off the bench, Blackheath launched an assault towards the right corner which resulted in Jesse Liston touching down after collecting Simon Whatling’s deft chip. In the 48th minute, Macclesfield allowed ball to fall loose in midfield, and as Burcham snapped up possession and broke 50-metres under the glorious Cheshire sunshine to score, the hosts suddenly looked vulnerable and an unlikely comeback became a possibility.

Simon Whatling

But it wasn’t to be, and as Blues’ inside-centre Lewis Barker kicked a penalty to add to his three first half conversions, and errors crept back into the visitors’ game, the hosts’ defence held out for the win.

Blackheath take a break over Easter, but they return to Well Hall on Saturday 22nd April for Ladies Day and the visit of Plymouth Albion.

Macclesfield

Tries: King, Moss, Parkinson
Conv: Barker (Lewis) 3
Pens: Barker

Blackheath

Tries: Liston, Burcham,
Conv: Cooke

Blackheath Team

15 Mike Mvelase
14 Tom Chapman
13 Markus Burcham – Capt
12 Alex Pickersgill
11 Jake Lloyd
10 Mark Cooke
9 Jake Bedding

1 Aston Croall
2 Harry Fry
3 George Baker
4 Freddie Owen
5 Tom Stradwick
6 Chris Walker
7 Jesse Liston
8 Tom Baldwin

16 Bertie Haskins
17 Kieron Scutt
18 Gregor Gillanders
19 Simon Whatling
20 Dan Hamilton

Graham Cox

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