Melton RFC coach insists there’s still room for improvement for top four side

Melton RFC won every home league game in their last two seasons and have a 100 per cent record in the first half of this campaign EMN-170301-170030002
Melton RFC won every home league game in their last two seasons and have a 100 per cent record in the first half of this campaign EMN-170301-170030002
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Melton RFC head coach Gareth Collins has called on his side to be more ruthless when the Midlands East One resumes after its three-week winter break.

The newly-promoted side have so far proved they are right at home in this league, sitting handily-placed in fourth after 14 of the 26-match programme.

Melton player-coach Gareth Collins has overseen two championships since taking charge at Melton RFC in the summer of 2014 EMN-170301-165240002

Melton player-coach Gareth Collins has overseen two championships since taking charge at Melton RFC in the summer of 2014 EMN-170301-165240002

It marks a new high water mark for the club which just two-and-a-half seasons ago had been relegated to Midlands Three.

But the ambitious player-coach believes their position could be even better still.

“It’s been an excellent start,” he said. “To come up following two promotions and be sat in fourth is an unbelievable achievement.

“But there have been games where we have left some points out there, particularly Lutterworth, Huntingdon and Bugbrooke.

“If we had picked up points there we would still be in touch with the top three.

“The next step for us is to put games away when we are in a position to do so.

“We have a good enough side to compete in this league, but we do need to learn lessons about rugby at this level.”

A glance at the league table would give the casual observer what seems an obvious clue as to where things have gone wrong.

Melton have won all eight of their home games in the league, but are yet to record a victory on their travels after six attempts.

But Collins insists a little context needs to be added to the bald statistics.

“Until the big sides come to us, I don’t think you can read too much into it,” he added.

“Our home form is much better, but we have played the majority of the lower sides at home, and the better sides away.

“Hopefully in the second half of the season we will redress the balance.”

The Christmas break has come at a good time for Melton to recharge ahead of a tough handful of fixtures.

They return on Saturday with a long trip to face Market Rasen and Louth. The North Lincolnshire side sit ninth in the table, but have won six of their last eight matches.

A trip to 10th-placed Wellingborough follows before the leaders Newbold on Avon provide the sternest home test of the campaign.

A tricky trip to mid-table Northampton Old Scouts precedes another visit from the division’s big boys as second-placed Old Northamptonians come to Burton Road.

“It’s a very competitive league and we know we can’t under perform and win games which we have in previous years,” Collins said. “We know we have to be on it to win games.

“We are very similar to sides in and around us, but the big plus for us is that it’s our first season.

“The top three would perhaps have been over-performing, but I think where we are is fair; we are not punching above our weight.”

Collins is delighted with the performances of the homegrown players, particularly the improvement shown from those who have forced their way from the fringes into the First XV.

“We only added a couple of players to the squad in the summer so this has been pretty much done by the same squad as before which is excellent,” he said.

“Harvey Green has had a phenomenal first half of the season after breaking through from the Colts last year - his goal kicking has been incredible.

“Dan Evans has come into the first team in a very competitive position after a long time with the Seconds and is now staking his claim for a starting place every week which is testament to what we are doing at the club.

“The most pleasing thing for me is seeing players that have been here a while start to emerge and improve.”