Melton RFC ready for big title clash with Market Harborough

Melton RFC 1st XV in action against Leicester Forest East EMN-160330-120801002

Melton RFC 1st XV in action against Leicester Forest East EMN-160330-120801002

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The champagne is still on ice, but maybe not for much longer as Melton RFC prepare to host a potentially decisive title clash this weekend.

The First XV lead Midlands 2 East (South) by six points from second-placed Market Harborough whom they host on Saturday at Burton Road (kick-off 3pm).

Melton RFC player-coach Gareth Collins EMN-160330-120812002

Melton RFC player-coach Gareth Collins EMN-160330-120812002

With just three games of the season left, a bonus point win, while denying Harborough a losing bonus point, would give them an unassailable 11-point lead over their closest rivals.

That may not guarantee the title with third-placed Lutterworth nine points adrift, but would all but ensure a second successive automatic promotion into Midlands One East.

Head coach Gareth Collins will not be counting his chickens just yet following defeat to Lutterworth - their first league loss in two years - last time out.

But he is confident the result will give them added incentive to prove a point.

Melton will be at full-strength for the visit aside from long-term absentees Klay Radford, Nick Crossland and Duncan Lennox.

Collins said: “The squad trained well last week following the loss and I’m confident we will bounce back and produce a big performance to get the win on Saturday.

“It was disappointing to lose that long-running record, but we are still unbeaten in the league at home for nearly two years so we are keen to keep that run going.

“If results go our way we could be crowned league champions on Saturday, so to do that in front of a big home crowd would be great.”

Harborough will be keen to put real pressure on the long-time leaders with the potential to cut the gap to just two points going into the final two games.

The South Leicestershire team have themselves lost just twice this season, including a narrow 25-15 home reverse to Melton just before Christmas.

Melton were pushed all of the way in that top-of-the-table clash and needed two late tries, capping a hat-trick for skipper Marcus Badham, to see off their rivals.