Melton RFC pass Oakham test to extend unbeaten run

Melton try to break through massed ranks on the Oakham try line EMN-161201-103811002
Melton try to break through massed ranks on the Oakham try line EMN-161201-103811002
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Melton RFC Firsts extended their unbeaten league run after a typically full-blooded derby clash at Burton Road on Saturday.

Both sides played with plenty of passion as their Rutland rivals denied Melton a try bonus point for only the second time this season.

Oakham go on the attack during a determined derby display EMN-161201-103822002

Oakham go on the attack during a determined derby display EMN-161201-103822002

The hosts got the first breakthrough of a pulsating encounter after good work from Lee Miller.

He stole the ball against the head at a lineout to set up a driving maul for Leon Gormley to dive over. Matthew Cox pulled the conversion wide.

This should have settled the hosts down and give them a platform to build on, but to Oakham’s credit they dug deep and defended well, much to the frustration of the home side who went into the interval with a slender 5-0 lead.

After the break, Oakham seemed fired up, making some surging breaks forward.

Melton keep play tight during the 15-7 derby victory over their Rutland rivals Oakham EMN-161201-103834002

Melton keep play tight during the 15-7 derby victory over their Rutland rivals Oakham EMN-161201-103834002

Superb tackling from Klay Radford and Carl Prior stopped the visitors in their tracks, but eventually the breakthrough came.

Oakham took an unexpected ball against the head at a scrum for their scrum-half Milnes to dive over under the posts to set up an easy conversion. With Melton in the rare position of trailing, the weather started to turn with strong winds and rain driving across the pitch.

And it was Melton’s turn to have the best passage of play when powerful running from Richard Foster and Sam Badham through the middle of the park released Mark Matthews.

The former Oakham player drew his man and set the impressive Harry Wood away to sprint down the wing and score in the corner.

Cox fell just short with a great conversion attempt.

With 20 minutes left on the clock, Melton started to show the form which has kept them unbeaten in the league this season with powerful scrums and lineouts led by captain Marcus Badham.

The home side then broke free with quick ball from Chris Rose who fed Marcus Badham. He broke a tackle to release a perfectly-timed run from Radford who cantered in for Melton’s third try of the day.

In horrible kicking conditions, Cox’s attempt fell short.

Melton pushed for the bonus point score, but Oakham broke free and a sprint down the wing was only stopped short by a crunching tackle by Harvey Green who put his opposite number into touch.

The victory keeps Melton seven points clear at the top from Market Harborough.

Melton: B. Prior, M. Badham, Osborn, S. Badham, Brookes, Gormley, Miller, Foster, Rose, Cox, Wood, Radford, C. Prior, Green, Matthews. Replacements: Dennison, Jeremiah, Warwick.

* On Saturday the firsts travel to Olney who lie eighth and were beaten 39-0 at Harborough last weekend.