Melton RFC climb out of danger zone with big Leighton Buzzard win
Melton RFC First XV held on to secure a priceless win at Leighton Buzzard in their battle to avoid the drop out of Midlands One East.
Having slipped into the bottom three for the first time the previous Saturday, Melton climbed straight back out of the relegation places with a gutsy 27-22 victory, their first in nine matches.
Melton made the long drive to Bedfordshire hoping to overturn their recent form against mid-table opponents.
Captain Marcus Badham won the toss and decided to attack up the slope in the first half.
The opening 10 minutes took some settling down with he hosts attacking hard and forcing Melton to concede too many penalties.
And from another penalty, a quick tap and driving maul saw the Buzzards cross for the first points of the day and a 5-0 lead.
Strong, calm and fair comments from the captain behind the posts seemed to do the trick as Melton began to find their feet.
Good carries from the back row of Harvey Kelsall, Leon Gormley and Allen allowed Chris Rose to release the backs upfield, and this soon brought the visitors their first points of the day.
A switch move in the middle of the park released the impressive Klay Radford who broke the line to score, and Cox’s conversion put Melton 7-5 in front.
Soon after another penalty was conceded and Leighton Buzzard took the three points to retake the lead.
But from the restart it was Melton’s turn to work hard once more with the impressive front row starting to dominate the scrum, eventually creating a penalty for Cox to slot.
And after plenty of defending, Melton went into half-time with a precious 10-8 lead.
With the slope advantage now in their favour, Cox soon broke the line with an open field ahead of him. As the gas began to run out he looped a nice pass into the hands of speedy winger Kaczmarcyk to cross in the corner.
Cox got his breath back and converted for a 17-8 lead.
Lineouts, led by Long, were working and the effective Kelsall and Gormley became a menace in the loose.
This was backed up well by the pack, led by Badham, and a strong scrum led to a decisive drive down the middle.
Rose released Cox who in turn passed to Radford who raced in for his second try (22-8).
The home side now looked all over the place, unsure of what had hit them, when Kaczmarcyk ran in his second solo try down the wing for the try bonus point and a 27-8 advantage.
But the Buzzards certainly didn’t give in and replied with strong wave of pressure resulting in two late converted tries to narrow the gap to 27-22.
Melton head coach Gareth Collins made his final changes, with the old guard of Dave Meakin coming on to settle things down, with great ball carrying. Ollie Circuit’s departure with a gashed eye socket prompted a reshuffle, with Kelsall going to centre, and Elliot coming into the back row.
This again gave a new shape to the team and helped them settle for the last five minutes.
A knock-on gave the advantage to Melton in the scrum with the clock ticking down, and the visitors controlled the drive and secured clean ball at the base of the scrum.
With time up, Rose sliced his attempted kick to touch into his own 22, but with two Buzzard players chasing down, Rose gathered his composure, collected the ball and this time made touch to complete a hard-fought win.
Melton travel to Huntingdon on Easter Saturday for a twice-postponed match against the second-bottom side (kick-off 3pm).
Victory in their game in hand will give the Firsts a little breathing space going into the final month of the campaign.