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Knutsford’s barbarian style secures another victory
A much changed Knutsford side looked to record consecutive victories for the first time this year. Things did not look promising just before kick off as side had only 12 players, but due to the kindness of the home side the match began with 15 a side.
Knutsford started positively in a barbarian style playing some fantastic open rugby. The direct style of Sage, Dawson and Barrie created a solid platform which allowed the loose forwards and backs to run riot when provided with ball. The opening exchanges saw Knutsford push for a score, a well worked move was spilled by the loaned veteran on the wing, however this didn’t deter the visitors who continued to search for an opening from all areas of the pitch.
The centre partnership of Eaves and Mooney looked threatening from the off and were prepared to chance their arm against their senior opposition. This youthful exuberance was exposed and duly punished on the quarter hour mark, with the bulky Macclesfield centre brushing off the weak tackle of Mooney.
Knutsford responded well to this set back and continued to search for a score. The set piece faltered for the visitors but the skills of Layzell and Higson at the ruck provided a steady stream of turn over ball from which Knutsford looked dangerous. The pressure finally told and Eaves finished a flowing move, rounding 3 players from 40 metres out to score in the corner. Knutsford were now level. Macclesfield looked to expose the lack of cohesion in the visitors pack and recaptured the lead following a well worked line out and rolling maul. The Knutsford pack had no answer and went in at the half trailing 10-5.
Some rousing half time words helped Knutsford to find their self belief again which had punctuated the opening salvoes. Layzell provided more turn over ball and with Lee and Higson providing penetrating runs around the fringes the spaces soon developed out wide. The quick passing and direct running of Mooney and Eaves continued to utilise the gaps. Sterling support work from Hector and Robin kept the ball moving and following one of many breaks Mooney converted in the corner, to score his first try of the season. Knutsford were now level with 30 minutes remaining and looking dangerous with every possession.
The constant threat of the young Knutsford side to break the home defence continued and moments after drawing level Knutsford took the lead, Eaves crossing following a 60 metre break from the Knutsford backs. Excellent interplay between the forwards close to the Macclesfield line tied in the stretch defence and Eaves collect and sauntered over from 5 metres.
Eaves completed his hat-trick and extended the lead to 20-10 with 10 minutes remaining. Knutsford broke from within their own 22. Dawson secured the ball on the left flank, Mooney fed Layzell who rounded the Macclesfield outside centre and coolly offloaded to Eaves who cantered in from 60 metres to score unopposed.
Knutsford seemed to ease off as the game concluded and Macclesfield pressed for a route back into the game. A well organised and spirited defence repelled the onslaught and were able to snuff out several promising opportunities. A last gasp tackle by Mooney on his own try line epitomised the effort. Hinds impressed at scrum half as he organised his forwards and marshalled them around the paddock. His experience and control was vital in the final moments, as he used all his nous to run down the clock and help Knutsford to a well earned victory.
The Knutsford players that turned up for this match can take lots of positives and should look to develop on the performance of the last few weeks. The signs from the previous 2 fixtures have been very encouraging and there are signs of a bright future for the 2nd team.
Macclesfied 4ths 10-20 Knutsford 2nds