Manchester took 17 intrepid players to a bitterly cold Macclesfield on Sunday. After a brief warm up and training session, focussing on fast passing and movement, we split the squad into 2 teams (Sharks and Bulls) to face the boys from Macclesfield.
Ben B, Ewan, Freddie F, George S, Harry, James, Salty, Taylor
Alex, Ben H, Cameron, Connor, Jamie FG, Jamie R, Jayden, Luka, Max
Both Teams played 3 games each against Macclesfield’s rotating teams. Macclesfield do stream their teams so the Manchester players played against all the talent Macclesfield had on show.
The Sharks started the day against Macclesfield’s first team. In a hard fought game of good tagging and running in the tight pitches, scores from Ben B (2), George (2), and Taylor gave Manchester 5 tries. Macclesfield also kept pace scoring 5 tries themselves with the game ending in a draw.
In Game 2 the Manchester boys hit their stride and began creating space by passing the ball against the covering defence and using their 7 tags well. They also defended and tagged well to keep the Macclesfield scoreline down. Running out winners 12-4, with tries from Ben B (2), George (3), Harry (3), Salty (3), Taylor (1).
Game 3 saw further ball skills and passing into space, particularly long passes from Salty and Harry. Good tagging again, especially from James and Freddie, kept Macclesfield at bay so well that Manchester didn’t concede a single try. Nine tries from Manchester led to a convincing 9-0 win, with tries from Ben B (1), Ewan (1), George (2), Harry (2), Salty (2), Taylor (1).
In Game 1 The Bulls came out meaning business against Macclesfield’s second team. Having listened in the early morning training they ran well into space, but importantly offloaded the ball quickly when tagged and backed up the runners well. Many great breaks were rewarded with tries as support players were there to cross the line. Game 1 was notable for a near full length of the field run by Luka, who was tagged just short before offloading to Jamie R, and then too Ben H to score in the corner. It was a close game but Manchester finished winners 7 -5 with tries from Alex (2), Ben H (2), Connor (2), Jamie R (1).
In Game 2 Manchester again kept it tight but tagging was becoming a little lazy and the boys let through a more scores than they should. Again the team ran well and passed well with strong forward surges Max, Jamie FG (on debut) and Luka. Manchester were well in control in the first half, but let it slip in the second half with Macc coming back strongly. Fortunately Manchester held on and sneaked home with a 7-6 win! Tries from Alex (1), Cameron (1), Conner (1), Jamie R (2), Jayden (2).
In Game 3 the Bulls took on Macc’s first team. It had been a cold morning and tired legs were beginning to set in. Tagging again was a little lax, and Macc started quickly, going ahead early. The Macc team were very mobile, quick and skilful, and the plucky Manchester team struggled to keep pace as the third game of the morning with very little time out took its toll! Having gone behind the Manchester team found it difficult to get back into the game but they showed good courage and carried on til the end, never giving up. Unfortunately, they couldn’t close the deficit and ended up losing 6-3, with Manchester tries from Jamie FG (2) and Jamie R (1)
Both teams played really well and although tagging wasn’t up to the standards set last year, it is becoming of less importance as we build up to contact next season and build the boys confidence in tackling.
It was a cold cold morning and the boys all showed great character and commitment to concentrate on the rugby, listen to the coaches, and improve their skills and play. The Macc coaches complemented both teams on the passing and offloading showed by the Manchester team and this shows in the scorelines and the number of tries scored.
We played 6 games in all, won 4, drew 1, and lost 1. 43 tries scored and only 26 conceded, but more important was the style with which they played. Well done to all.