A late converted try earned Melton RFC Under 16s the County Plate after a thrilling match against Market Bosworth on Sunday.
Having emulated the club’s senior First XV in reaching a county final, the juniors edged out Bosworth in front of a vociferous, large home support.
For coach Jon Beesley, it was a fitting end to nine seasons with the team. “I’m really proud of the lads,” he said. “It’s nice to finish off with one final piece of silverware before hanging up my boots.
“Both Mark Dixon and I both owe a huge debt of gratitude to Will Ward who has taken the lads on to another level over the last couple of seasons.
“The day was really well supported and the club did an amazing job as hosts.”
In the first of two county plate finals at Burton Road on Sunday, Melton started well as their forwards showed their strength at both the scrum and lineout.
They created several opportunities in the visitors’ 22, but they weren’t seized due largely to Bosworth’s dogged defence and some poor decision-making.
The inevitable then happened as Bosworth’s backs seized their opportunities with some lovely handling skills and running lines to break the home defence twice in succession.
Melton rallied late in the half as slick running from Heaney, Owens, Golland and Johnson caused the visitors problems, leaving Jakes to score in the corner and reduce the deficit to 10-5.
The second half started with the same intensity as the first with both sides giving their all.
Melton’s forwards slowly started to take control with Goward, Morgan, Sommerville, Blythe, Boylan and Thompson using their size to great effect as the driving maul made even greater inroads into the visitors’ defence.
The pace of Foldys, Green and Dixon made life difficult, working the phases which led to Bosworth conceding several penalties.
With time running out, scrum-half Beesley took the ball into Bosworth’s 10 and offloaded out the back of his hand, allowing Heaney to straighten up his running line.
This gave the backs an overlap which Jakes gladly accepted, diving over impressively for his second try of the game.
The crowd fell silent as Gunby approached a very difficult and decisive conversion, and then let out a mighty roar as he split the posts to win the match.
Bosworth coach Andy Colver added: “Our boys were bitterly disappointed to lose at the death, but what a great game and advert for Leicestershire rugby.
“I’m looking forward to some tremendous games in the coming years in Colts and beyond.”
Melton: H. Goward, D. Morgan, I. Thompson, W. Foldys, J. Sommerville, C. Boylan, P. Blythe, B. Johnson, T. Green, J. Dixon, J. Beesley, K. Gunby, H. Heaney, T. Golland, O. Jakes, J. Owens.