Melton RFC clinch league title with Amber Valley rout

Klay Radford's pace and guile earned him a stunning six-try haul against Amber Valley EMN-151003-112139002
Klay Radford's pace and guile earned him a stunning six-try haul against Amber Valley EMN-151003-112139002
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With the Leicestershire RFU president looking on, Melton turned on the style to clinch the title against struggling Amber Valley.

Despite the strong wind blowing across the pitch, the hosts started with real intensity and were ahead within a minute.

From the first phase of play, Amber Valley knocked on and from the resulting scrum, Carl Prior and Klay Radford worked a clever switch move in the centre. Chris Rose read the play astutely and was up in support to take the scoring pass with Phil Stimson converting.

Melton’s front row were soon on top and Dave Osborn, Marcus Badham and Bobby Prior gave their bulkier opponents a torrid time in the scrum. When a powerful drive disrupted the visitors’ scrum on halfway, Lewis Moult snapped up the loose ball and burst through for an excellent forwards try.

Melton were playing with real confidence as Amber Valley struggled to live with the pace of the game. Carl Prior made a trademark break in midfield and flipped a cheeky back-handed pass to Stimson who strolled under the posts.

Keen to get in on the act, the wingers hunted down the ball at every opportunity. A smart crossfield kick was fielded by Tom Kempin whose clever dummy and pass to the supporting Radford started the ball rolling on a very fruitful afternoon.

The centre was then exactly in the right place when quick inter-passing by James Long and Ryan Kemp gave Radford another score. Soon after Radford reacted quickest to a bouncing ball to complete his hat-trick with Stimson maintaining his 100 per cent kicking record.

Melton’s new-look back row had taken time to impose themselves, but with a rampant pack, Duncan Lennox and Moult revelled in the acres of time and space.

A maul in the visitors’ half allowed Carl Prior to time his run to perfection and carve his way through a bewildered defence for a superb solo try.

Amber Valley fought their way back upfield and when Melton were caught offside, a penalty got them on the scoreboard.

But the final word in the half went to the rejuvenated Radford who appeared from nowhere to take a ball on the burst and score. Stimson’s conversion made it 56-3 at half-time.

The momentum was difficult to maintain as Melton relaxed in the early exchanges of the second half.

But as the hosts adapted to the half-time changes, the intensity of their play returned. Ben Warwick made some telling breaks from full-back and Lewis Glover stretched the defence, while Lennox was first to every breakdown.

When Badham took a scrum against the head, Kemp and Long provided the drive which gave Moult time and space to break away for a brace of tries. Straight from the restart Melton conceded a penalty which Amber Valley kicked successfully.

As Melton cut loose, Carl Prior scored from a quickly-taken tap penalty which caught Amber Valley napping, Tom Kempin finally got his wish with a smart finish out wide before Radford took a lovely pass from Stimson to race through a tiring defence for another try.

With a hefty 82-6 lead, the hosts switched off temporarily, allowing the visitors’ large pack of forwards to camp on the Melton line with a series of scrums. Their efforts were rewarded with a well-executed converted try.

But man-of-the-match Radford had the final say, a dazzling sidestep putting him in for a staggering sixth try.

Stimson’s 12th conversion of 13 attempts capped the scoring and the celebrations began.