Melton RFC left perplexed as away woes continue

No way through for Melton as Huntingdon defend valiantly EMN-161129-091043002

No way through for Melton as Huntingdon defend valiantly EMN-161129-091043002

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A cruel twist gave Huntingdon victory and ensured Melton’s frustrations away from home continued for another week.

With both sides level on points, victory in the first-ever meeting between the two sides was always going to have an important bearing on league positions.

Chris Rose sets an attack in motion from another solid Melton scrum EMN-161129-091053002

Chris Rose sets an attack in motion from another solid Melton scrum EMN-161129-091053002

Melton were keen to overcome their away form jinx that has let them down this season and both sides started strongly as they strived to get the better of some determined defending.

Neither team were able to make a breakthrough as the game failed to spark into life for the first 20 minutes.

The deadlock was finally broken by a perceptive interception by Harvey Green who raced away and just beat the covering defence for a try.

Huntingdon reduced the arrears with a well-struck penalty to make it 5-3 and it looked as though that would be the final score of the half.

But with half-time approaching, Melton attacked as a series of mauls driven by Dan Wakefield and Sam Badham made ground.

Quick ball from Chris Rose saw Mark Matthews burst into the line and release debutant Aiden Brookes for an excellent try out wide with Green striking a fine conversion to make it 12-3 at the break.

Restart kicks have not always been a strong point for Melton and unfortunately another turnover allowed the home fly-half to sell a dummy and dart over from close range before adding an easy conversion.

Melton had the upper hand in the set scrums, where Kieran Stone had another fine game in the front row, but the hosts made several poor decisions.

The error count was compounded when a lineout steal by Leon Gormley was followed by Dan Evans’ wayward kick out of defence.

It was fielded by the Huntingdon winger who returned it with interest, and good support play saw the hosts score out wide to lead 15-12.

Lee Miller and James Newman came on to add bite to the forward play and helped pile on the pressure as they attacked up the slope.

Unfortunately a penalty from a lineout infringement saw the hosts’ fly-half add another three points.

Too often Melton kicked the ball away in broken play as they sought to establish a way back, but the home defence countered well.

But the game changer came in the final 10 minutes. Melton had wisely kept the ball tight as they drove up field and were rewarded with a series of scrums near the Huntingdon line.

The first scrum saw Melton’s pack drive Huntingdon back and a try seemed inevitable, but the referee ordered another scrum.

Three further seemingly obvious infringements finally resulted in another penalty, but Melton were perplexed when the referee decided there was not time for another scrum so ruled on a lineout.

An infringement at the ensuing lineout ended the game and brought much post-match debate as to the consequences of that final decision which left Melton still without a league win away from Melton Sports Village this season.

A big positive for Melton was the excellent debut of young Colt Aiden Brookes who had a fine all-round game.

Melton: K. Stone, M. Badham, D. Osborne, D. Wakefield, S. Badham, L. Gormley, D. Evans, K. Bugby, C. Rose, M. Cox, A. Brookes, G. Collins, C. Prior, M. Matthews, C. Loveday, L. Miller, J. Newman.

* On Saturday, Melton will be hoping for a positive reaction when they host second-bottom Ilkeston who have won just once this season. Kick-off at Burton Road is 2.15pm.