Macclesfield RUFC (3) vs Rotherham Titans (52) - Friendly
Following promising and encouraging performances already in pre-season against Worcester Warriors and Hull Ionians, the Titans are looking to complete their preparations in style. However, the South Yorkshire outfit are fully aware both games will offer them a stern challenge.
Twelve months ago Rotherham only narrowly beat Macclesfield 17-7, whilst Loughborough were recently just edged out by Championship side Ealing Trailfinders and Titans head coach Lee Blackett knows his side will need to perform in order to secure the victories he wants.
Ahead of tomorrow’s encounters Blackett revealed, “I think if I’m being honest our training has been tougher this week because we’ve had a few sore bodies and some of the boys have had to sit out a few sessions. As a result we had to pull Thursday’s training session to look after them a bit more, but we have been cranking up the intensity and I think we are in a good place overall.
“Tomorrow’s games are going to give me the opportunity to look at different combinations and we have picked almost 2 different sides and our aim is to give all the boys another run-out.
“If I had to pick my starting line-up now for our first Championship game, then I have to say that some boys have played themselves into the team, but there are a lot of 50-50 calls still out there. I think tomorrow will be a last chance for some of the boys to either cement their place or lose their place in the first starting 15.
“There is a lot at stake on these two matches at Macclesfield and I hope all the boys realise that; there is a lot on the line!”
Titans v Macclesfield: 15, Michael Keating, 14 Jamie Broadley, 13 Joel Gill, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Curtis Wilson, 10 Dallan Murphy, 9 Dan White, 1 Mike Dias, 2 Tom Cruse (Capt.), 3 Colin Quigley, 4 Toby Freeman, 5 Josh Thomas-Brown, 6 Max Argyle, 7 Jack Preece, 8 Laurence Pearce.
Replacements: 16 Ali Birch, 17 Rikki Stout, 18 Toby Williams, 19 Barney Maddison, 20 Charlie Mulchrone, 21 Sean Scanlon, 22 Jack Roberts.
Titans v Loughborough: 15 Sean Scanlon, 14 Jamie Broadley, 13 Jack Roberts, 12 Juan Pablo Socino (Capt.), 11Curtis Wilson, 10 Dallan Murphy, 9 Charlie Mulchrone, 1 Marshall Gadd, 2 Tom Cruse, 3 Mark Tampin, 4 Barney Maddison, 5 Josh Thomas-Brown, 6 Ed Williamson, 7 Ali Birch, 8 Alfie To’oala.
Replacements: 16 Jack Preece, 17 Rikki Stout, 18 Toby Williams, 19 Toby Freeman, 20 Max Argyle, 21 Dan White, 22 Michael Keating.
The triangular 40 minute per-match tournament between host club Macclesfield, Loughborough Students and Rotherham Titans proved to be an entertaining and enjoyable afternoon in the leafy setting of Priory Park.
Titans started the afternoon’s action with a mixed display against a very decent National 1 side in Loughborough Students. A bright start and finish by the Titans sandwiched a sloppy 15-minute period in which they “switched-off”, allowing the Students to demonstrate what a good outfit they are.
Powerful displays by Ed Williamson and Alfie To’oala ensured Rotherham laid down an early marker, which in turn resulted in tries for back-liners Curtis Wilson and Charlie Mulchrone.
Full back Sean Scanlon picked up a yellow card just after the midway point and the Students capitalised with the extra man by scoring a try in the right corner.
Back to a full compliment of players Rotherham finished with a flourish; first Ed Williamson bulldozed over from close range and then Jack Roberts picked an excellent running line to collect around half way before scything through the defence to score an outstanding individual try to wrap up a 26-5 victory.
Titans second game of the afternoon saw them give host club Macclesfield a torrid time, as an 8-try torrent ripped the host’s defence apart on more than one occasion.
After Titans opening try early in the piece from impressive forward Laurence Pearce; seven glorious tries followed from the Titans dynamic backline. Catching the eye with impressive speed, intelligent running lines and abrasive defence work when called upon were Joel Gill and new recruit Jamie Broadley.
Perhaps the best try of the lot came 10 minutes from the end when after Laurence Pearce got the move going from open play. Tom Cruse and Joel Gill progressed play downfield at pace before feeding the onrushing Michael Keating to dib down for a scorcher.
Broadley deservedly wrapped-up the scoring near the end following some brutal work from Pearce.
Post tournament Titans head coach Lee Blackett commented, “I know we beat Loughborough 26-5, but we were actually disappointed after the game. We’ve put a massive focus on our discipline and we are bringing referees in at the moment to help us in that aspect of the game, but yet we conceded 8 penalties in 40 minutes. That’s our target for a full 80 minutes of play; so we were massively frustrated with that.
“We were also disappointed to concede a try; although Loughborough are a very good National 1 team, we set ourselves a target of not conceding a try against them. I also thought at times against them we lost the battle at the contact area. Having said all of that however, we scored four tries and that’s a massive positive. When we played the game at real tempo we damaged them and we needed to keep the tempo at that level.
“Obviously the Macclesfield game was the more pleasing of the two; we remember from last year we only beat them by 17-7. We wanted to improve on that this time around and we did; we scored more and conceded less and that was in just one half, so yes I was pleased with the outcome.
“I was pleased with some of our backline play and at times I thought we looked outstanding, but as a coach I am super-critical and I know we are not at the level I know we can be right now. The tries that do please me are the ones that look simple, the ones where the skill level appears to be easy and today we scored a few like that.
“Overall there were some good performances from a lot of the boys and a special mention goes out to Josh Brown who I thought was outstanding around the park and at line-out time. I thought Laurence Pearce once again showed what a dynamic player he his, Curtis and Jack Roberts finished their tries well and I was pleased with Jamie Broadley. In the first game Alfie and Ed stood out and Charlie as you would expect was exceptional.
“All in all I’ve got some serious headaches coming up in terms of selection; I genuinely do not know my starting 15 and there will be a few sleepless nights between now and the Moseley game and as a coach that’s a great position to be in.”
Titans Scorers v Loughborough Students:
Wilson (T), Mulchrone (T), Williamson (T), Roberts (T), Juan Pablo Socino (3C).
Titans Scorers v Macclesfield
Wilson (2T), Pearce (T), White (T), Gill (T), Keating (T), Broadley (T), Murphy (T, 3C), Juan Pablo Socino (3C).