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Sedgley Park bounce back to stun leaders Macclesfield
By Claire Cameron
SEDGLEY Tigers coach Geoff Roberts is hoping his side’s “absolutely brilliant” performance at title-chasing Macclesfield last weekend will propel them to promotion glory.
The Tigers fought back from 19-5 down at half time to beat the National League Two North leaders 23-19.
It was the perfect response that Roberts was hoping for after the Park Lane outfit had surprisingly surrendered their 10-match unbeaten run against Sheffield Tigers last weekend.
The Tigers, who sit fourth in the division, are now 10 points behind new leaders Darlington Mowden Park.
“It was absolutely brilliant,” said Roberts.
“It was one of those magic days.
“We’ve taken them (Macclesfield) off the top of the table now.
“Who knows, if we’re not kings, maybe we’ll be king makers.
“Hopefully, we can start picking up some bonus points and maybe one of the other teams will creak a bit. “Like I’ve always said, it’s nice to be looking forward at them, rather than looking over your shoulder.”
The Sedgley pack was back to full strength on Saturday with Richard Wainwright, Steve Collins, Matt Lamprey and Ben Black returning to the side.
Only George Hines (red card) and Jonny Bishop missed the emphatic win.
Roberts said: “At Sheffield we were missing the spine of the team.
“We were a prop, an eight, a 10 and a 15 missing.
“When you’re putting a rugby team together they are some of the key positions.”
The Tigers started the match brightly and managed to hold out for the first quarter of an hour before Macclesfield scored two tries and a conversion and it all looked a bit bleak for the visitors, who could only manage an unconverted try in response.
Roberts added: “They threw a massive onslaught on us in the first half, which really we couldn’t cope with.
“They smashed us in the scrum. They’ve got a big pack and it was a pretty awful pitch.”
However, the lighter Tigers pack came into their own in the second half as they brushed their title rivals aside.
“It was most definitely a game of two halves,” Roberts said.
“The two half-backs – McShane and Collins – were absolutely brilliant and they began to dominate the play and dominate the field position.
“We started making breaks and the second half was all us.
“It was a solid performance.
“They just couldn’t create any threat.
“Our defensive line was so good they couldn’t penetrate it at all.
“If they got the ball they just hit a brick wall and we looked dangerous.”
Ryan Parkinson gave the hosts the lead with a try after 14 minutes, with Thomas Eaton converting, and they extended their lead to 12-0 in the 18th minute when Parkinson again went over for an unconverted try.
This sparked the Tigers into life as Richard Wainwright scored an unconverted try before Jack Baxter went over for Macclesfield, with Eaton again adding the extras to give the hosts a 19-5 lead at half time.
After the break, it was all Tigers as the visitors roared their way to victory.
First, Johnny Matthews went over for a try before Collins added a penalty to make the score 19-13.
The Tigers took the lead 20-19 on the hour mark when Matt Riley went over for a try, which Collins converted.
Collins sealed the 23-19 victory with a penalty in the dying minutes.
Sedgley Tigers are at home to fifth-placed Chester on Saturday for their annual charity day.
The team will play in pink to raise money for the Genesis breast cancer charity.
“We’ve already raised £2,000 for them and the same amount for Arthritis UK, so before the end of the season we want to raise another £2,000 for the charity,” said Roberts.