On the eve of the new season, Melton RFC Under 12s had a useful work out at Victoria Park, in Leicester, as part of the Flavours of Rugby Festival.
Melton started the first game slowly and were punished by a quick, physical Leicester Forest East side, the current County Cup holders.
There was some fantastic commitment by Dickson, epitomised by three full-blooded tackles which pushed Leicester back 20 metres, allowing the rest of the boys to flood in, before Jeal was just held up on the line.
Despite that and several decent scoring opportunities, the team missed some crucial tackles and lost 2-0.
The second game against Vipers brought a big improvement from Melton with full-blooded tackling from Neath, effective rucking from Knott and Ford, and a great penetrating run by Cropper.
From the resulting ruck, 10 metres from the Vipers line, Heatlie secured the ball cleverly and a sneaky sniping run from Neath fed Hardman who used his strength to burst through two tackles and dive over the try line.
Strong tackling from Thorpe kept the lead intact until half-time, but a mistake early in the second half, when Melton failed to secure a loose ball from a long defensive kick, allowed Vipers to gain ground and equalise.
Melton Dominated territory, but couldn’t score with Neath being held up on the line. And Vipers reacted again when missed tackles allowed them a simple run-in for 2-1.
The boys’ heads dropped a little, as did their energy levels, and Vipers scored a late third try.
Overall the team learned a lot against strong opponents and the coaches remain confident they will grow in fitness and confidence as the early season progresses.