Melton were given a wake-up call on Saturday and shown they will have to dig deep to grind out a win on occasions.
After the try fest of the previous week against Jimmies, Gareth Collins’ side travelled into Lincolnshire for a league fixture against a team they had not met for many years.
The visitors were missing a few key players, but started brightly enough as driving runs from James Long and Ryan Kemp produced a try within minutes. A real strength of Melton this season has been their driving mauls among the forwards, and when Boston were driven back several metres by a rolling maul, captain Marcus Badham was on hand to dive over.
A string of penalties followed as the referee looked determined to stamp his authority on the game, handing our a yellow card for each side for seemingly innocuous offences that merited only penalties.
This disrupted the flow of the game for both sides, but Melton were first to benefit when another driving maul was spun out through the backs. Quick passing between Klay Radford and Carl Prior released Lewis Glover on the wing who sprinted in for a try in the corner. Chris Rose fell just short with the conversion on a heavy pitch.
Boston hit back strongly with quick breaks from the base of the scrum from their rangy number eight, and only sound tackling from Wayne Brooks and Leon Gormley kept him out. The hosts had a large and streetwise set of forwards who pushed the offside law to the limit to exert pressure on Melton.
Phil Stimson’s wayward kick out of defence fell straight to the Boston full-back who made a strong attacking run, and fed the winger on the outside who dived over in the corner.
Boston attacked at every opportunity with their centre causing many problems with his half breaks. This ultimately led to an overlap, allowing the home winger to score in the corner and level.
Melton bossed the second half, camping in Boston’s half with strong forward play, but the referee’s frequent use of the whistle frustrated both sides. Determined attacks from Bobby Prior and Dave Osborn failed to produce the goods as Melton were either penalised or got turned over in loose play.
Ben Warwick was resolute under the high ball as Boston relieved the pressure with kicks out of defence.
From a penalty to Melton, Rose put a well-judged kick to the corner and Dan Wakefield took the lineout ball to set up a trademark driving maul. Boston opted not to challenge the drive forward and Badham crossed the try line, but the referee deemed he had not seen it to the disbelief of the travelling supporters.
Melton continued to attack with one notable driving maul going at least half-the-length of the pitch, but again the decision went against the visitors.
Stuart Morley added guile in the forwards, but even his years of experience failed to get the winning score as Boston forwards dogged it out with good defensive tackling, and Melton failed to exploit their superior field position and dominance in the maul.
A lengthy inquest followed in the clubhouse as both the referee and his assessor were questioned about the high penalty count against Melton and the decisions that ultimately cost them victory.