National Two North: Macclesfield remain at the summit

Macclesfield in action against Sandal on Saturday
©Talking Rugby Union

After nine rounds of matches, Macclesfield remain top of National Two North as Sedgley Park continue to keep the pressure on the Cheshire side.

Bottom club the Luctonians, earned a draw at Caldy, while Harrogate and South Leicester ended the good recent form of Sale FC and Stourbridge.

Elsewhere, Otley made it back to back wins and Broadstreet secured a vital victory over Tynedale.

Macclesfield 29-3 Sandal

In our feature game of the weekend, Macclesfield made it eight straight league wins as they defeated Sandal 29-3 at Priory Park.

Macc dominated possession in a first half that was error strewn but did lead at the break thanks to tries from Harrison Lewis & Ryan Parkinson.

Elliot Brierley touched down just before the hour to put the hosts further in front following a breakaway from winger Charlie Venebles and Parkinson added his second right at the death to secure another bonus point win for the Blues. 

Lewis Barker nudged over the other nine points for Giles Heagerty's side who stay top of National Two North with this victory. 

Sandal's only points came from the boot of Greg Wood in the first half and despite an improved second 40, the visitors rarely threatened the Macclesfield try line.


Macclesfield Head Coach Giles Heagerty:  “I’m thrilled with that performance, its probably the best we’ve played all season. Sandal really came at us, especially in the first 20 of the second half. To be able to score four tries today against the strongest defence in the league was testament to how hard the boys worked.”

Sandal Head Coach Simon Worrall: “At half time we felt we were behind due to our errors, we were turned over too much and we were not dynamic enough to our standards to test them in defence. We were much improved in the second half, we managed territory and possession a lot better in the second period. We weren’t bad defensively, Macclesfield had limited opportunities but they took their chances, and I take my hat off to them for that.”

Sedgley Park 32-15 Huddersfield

Sedgley Park saw off Huddersfield to record their fifth National Two North home win of the season to keep on the coattails of leaders Macclesfield.

Field’s Nicholas Sharpe and Nicholas Rawsthorne gave the visitors an early 7-12 lead after Sedgley’s Stephen Collins had opened the scoring.

But it was the hosts who were ahead at the break as Michael Waywell and Andrew Riley both crossed to make it 19-15 with Huddersfield’s Chris Bell kicking a penalty.

That was as good as it got for Huddersfield as Collins kicked two penalties inside 10 second half minutes even though Sedgley were reduced to 14 men when Matthew Riley was sinbinned.

Sedge were 10 points ahead of Field at this point and when Jamie Harrison touched down on the hour mark, the game and bonus point was wrapped up for The Tigers.

Caldy 15-15 Luctonians

A late Benjamin Elliot drop goal saved a draw for Caldy against bottom club the Luctonians who played the second 40 with 14 men after Samuel Knott was red carded just before half-time.

The hosts will feel it was a missed opportunity to keep in touch with Sedgley Park and Macclesfield, but this was a much needed two points for the Luctonians – who do remain bottom of the division.

Neil Dowridge scored two first half tries for Caldy to give them a 12-9 lead with scrum-half Louis Silver nudging over a trio of kicks to keep his side in the contest.

But on the stroke of half-time, second row Knott was dismissed for the Lucts putting the onus on Caldy in the second period.

However, it was the away side that led on 63 minutes as Silver knocked over another two penalties as Caldy failed to put a dent in the Luctonians defence.

And with four minute remaining, remarkably, the visitors were still ahead and Caldy had to rely on a drop-goal from Elliot to secure them a draw.

Preston Grasshoppers 3-17 Otley

Otley scored all 17 of their points in the second half to seal victory against the Preston Grasshoppers and keep them in the mix with the front runners in National Two North.

Preston full-back Sean Taylor kicked over a penalty for the only points of the first half, before Otley took control after the interval.

Otley’s Gareth Newman and Declan Dunn went over in the second period with Stephen Depledge slotting over a penalty, in between the two scores, to clinch their fourth win in their last five matches.

Chester 26-7 Leicester Lions

Chester ended a three game losing streak at home with victory against Leicester Lions at Hare Lane.

A brace from Michael Craven and a score from David Ford put Chester in a commanding position going into the second half.

They strengthened their grip on proceedings when Craven crossed for his hat-trick eight minutes after the restart while opposition flanker Marco Dallavalle touched down on 77 minutes for a consolation try for the Lions – who have now dropped to 7th in the table.

Sale FC 22-25 Harrogate

Sale FC’s winning run at Heywood Road was halted by Harrogate who picked up their third win in their last four matches.

The first half was a story of penalties with Sale’s Liam McGovern landing four kicks while Harrogate’s Lewis Minikin knocked over two.

Jack Moorhouse gave the home side a 19-6 lead after scoring the first try of the match five minutes into the second half, before ‘Gate crossed for their opening try of the afternoon as Guy Coser went over.

McGovern extended Sale’s lead once again from the tee, but two quick fire tries from Samuel Bottomley and Callum Irvine edged Harrogate 22-25 in front nine minutes from time and the Yorkshire side held on to see out the victory.

South Leicester 27-26 Stourbridge

Like Sale, Stourbridge’s recent good form came to an end as they were beaten by South Leicester despite staging a late fightback.

Centre Gareth Turner and winger Calum Gunn both scored twice in the first half to give South a 24-14 half-time lead with Joseph Carpenter and Ashley Elvers going over for Stourbridge.

South’s Christopher Zubic was yellow-carded just before half-time, but Ricci Aley stretched the home sides lead from the tee five minutes into the second half.

On 60 minutes, flanker Frederick Tuilagi became the second man to be sent to the sin-bin for South and this time Stour took advantage of the extra man as Joseph Heatley touched down for 27-19.

The hosts were then down to 13 men when Kris McFedries was shown a yellow card and the visitors sensed that they could turn this game around.

But, they could only manage one more try as Tobias Handley crossed the whitewash five minutes from time as South breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Broadstreet 28-19 Tynedale

Tynedale’s miserable start to life in National Two North continued on Saturday as they were beaten by Broadstreet who claimed just their second win of the season.

A double from Nicolas Thatcher and a try from Aaron Martin helped ‘Street into a 25-5 half-time lead with Lee Chapman kicking 10 points for the home side.

Tyne’s first half points came from full-back Robert Parker and he touched down once again on 65 minutes only after Thatcher and Todd Freemantle were sent to the sin-bin for Broadstreet.

Chapman gave Broadstreet a 28-12 advantage with another penalty a minute after Parker had crossed and despite Ashley Smith dotting down for Tyne eight minutes from time, they couldn’t fashion one final chance to save a draw.

National League Rugby