Melton RFC U16s produced a superb performance against a very strong Mansfield side in a bruising encounter on Sunday.
The game was played in difficult conditions between two sides which hadn’t met before, and the first half was like two heavyweight boxers trading blows, none giving an inch.
With gusting wind to their backs, the visitors looked to kick deep into the Melton half, giving full-back Johnson plenty of ball to run straight back at them.
Blyth was a constant nuisance to the Mansfield lineout and the rest of the forward pack dug deep with Green, Thompson and Dixon making penetrating runs deep into their opponents’ half.
The stalemate was finally broken after 27 minutes when Mansfield scored a well-worked try after Melton were reduced to 14 men when Beesley was sin-binned.
But this only stirred the hosts further and their pressure on the try line took its toll when a Mansfield player was sin-binned and Heaney’s quick tap and go penalty put Melton level at half-time.
The second half didn’t start as planned for the home side as Mansfield scored soon after the kick-off.
Coach Ward had a quick word to steady the ship and Melton’s game plan began to take shape.
The unstoppable Thompson crossed following four phases of neat play from the forwards which finally broke the impressive Mansfield defensive line. Gumby added the conversion.
Backs Golland, Owens and Heaney kept the visitors pinned in their own half with some impressive kicking, and the marauding Sommerville broke through to score.
Garnett was sin-binned and the extra man gave Mansfield the edge. But thumping tackles from Beesley, Heaney and Thompson finally broke their resolve and the final whistle was blown in the nick of time.
A great game of rugby well appreciated by supporters.
Particular thanks go to Moule and Loveday for playing up an age group and slotting straight in.