Macclesfield 26 v 47 Hull Ionians
By Malcolm Knowles
I's go to 104 not out as Chester falter
Five tries in the opening half hour at Macclesfield’s Priory Park determined the outcome and earned the points that preserved Ionians status as league leaders. A second half revival by the Blues briefly rattled Ionians, until two further scores for the visitors put the result beyond any doubt.
Ionians were on the scoreboard by the eighth minute. James Tinknell crashed over by the posts to finish off pressure initially applied by the pack and Lewis Minikin
added the extras for a seven point lead.
Macclesfield took play up to the Ionians line but lost possession and Ionians were quickly back to challenge at the other end of the pitch. A forward pass prevented James Newman
from adding to the score, but play was brought back for an infringement and Morgan Bunting
drilled the ball into touch 10m out. Ben Stephenson
was held up just short of the line but I’s worked the ball to the blind side for Mark Wigham
to power over close to the corner flag.
Within a couple of minutes Wigham added to his tally; from the re-start Bunting took possession and launched a cross-field kick for Seremaia Turagabeci to collect, he kicked ahead and re-gathered the ball before transferring it across field for Wigham to plunge over. Minikin, who pulled his earlier effort from the same spot just wide, made no mistake with the conversion and Ionians led 0 – 19.
Ionians were now playing exhibition rugby and gained the bonus point with an effort that covered virtually the length of the pitch. Minikin made the initial break before handing on to centre partner, Tinknell, he made ground before transferring on to Sam Crane
. Rapid transfer from Crane via Turagabeci to Steve Slingsby
gave the wingman the small gap he needed to hare away to the line. Minikin goaled again and Ionians lead stretched to 26 points at a point a minute.
Ionians kept to the schedule with another long-range score. Almost inevitably it was Minikin who instigated the move, he made the preliminary incursion and when held, off-loaded smartly to Callum Smith
. Smith made ground before passing across to Tinknell to gallop clear to the posts, making the conversion a formality and the score 0-33 just after the half hour mark.
Close to the break Macclesfield launched a promising attack and pressed up into the visitors 22 but a senseless act had Joe Moss yellow carded for foul play and an already troubled Blues went in at half time a man light.
A change of ends led to a change in fortunes for the hosts. Playing with more fluidity than they had shown in the opening half they spurned several opportunities to score in one phase ( making a complete hash of a three man overlap) before Josh Redfearn finally grabbed hold of the ball and crashed over. Tom Morton tagged on the conversion and the Blues were up and running, 7 – 33.
Macclesfield were restored to a full complement and continued to run the ball at Ionians. Encouraged by some feeble tackling, Sam Broster and Will Davies cut loose and Broster carved a path through the centre of the field to put Davies in for a second try. Morton goaled again and the Blues tails were up at 14 – 33.
A couple of high tackles, as well as fresh legs from the bench, got Ionians going again. The indiscretions allowed Morgan to put Ionians up into the home 22. They won the line-out and moved the ball to Slingsby who came on an arcing run to cut through the midfield and race away to the line. Minikin had his fifth success from the tee and Ionians went 14 – 40 up.
Ionians then lost Ben Carlile
to the bin and Macclesfield capitalised with Josh Redfearn grabbing his second try when he barged over again from close range.
Ionians responded again with a fine individual try from Minikin. It’s unwise to give him the ball and half a yard of space, as Macclesfield found out. A feint, a step and he was away, running 60m untouched and unobstructed. He added the conversion for a match tally of 17 points and 285 for the season so far.
Macclesfield finished the match with a fourth try, for a bonus point their second half efforts deserved. Jon Mason was quick to re-act with a tap penalty and after skipping through the first line of cover put the ball into second-row Matt Burden’s hands to go over. The point was immaterial though, with Macclesfield requiring a full complement to avoid the drop.
The Blues shouldn’t suffer the blues for long, judging by the talent in the squad. For Ionians it is looking like onwards and upwards. One more five point win will see them promoted. Next week brings Leicester Lions to Brantingham Park. Concentration will need to be better than it was at Priory Park, Dore Moor is not a place to go expecting favours.