Melton RFC Third XV hit back to claim back-to-back wins
Melton RFC Third XV arrived at Birstall on a high after an emphatic 80-point win, but missing a few key players, Melton expected a tight fixture.
The visitors started shakily, conceding the first points early on, and hesitant and open defence soon saw more points on Birstall’s scoresheet.
Melton visited the Birstall try-line many times, but were repeatedly turned back.
Their saving grace was the excellent defence and covering tackles by Wright and Swann, stopping the opposition getting over the line again.
With half-time approaching and Melton 19-0 down, the drought was finally broken when excellent link-up play from the forwards saw Marman crash over.
The Melton heads soon lifted and after a couple of penalties in the Birstall 22, well-worked phase play opened gaps in Birstall’s back line, and from the five-metre line Buxton went over.
Both sides suffered injuries, with Gifford and Dalton coming off, but Melton’s forwards continued to dominate the short game, linking well with the backs through Parker and Plowman.
The visitors began the second half with a sense of purpose and determination, with piercing runs in a man-of-the-match performance from Bowles put points on the board early on.
Plowman added the conversion and then a penalty to put Melton ahead.
The floodgates had opened with powerful runs by Chapman, Miller and Potter followed moments later by the next score from a penalty.
Melton opted to run it towards the Birstall line over several phases, and Brookes bulldozed his way through in fine style.
Birstall returned the favour by scoring a length-of-the-pitch try after a clever kick, but Melton’s domination continued in both attack and defence.
Solid play in the line from Whelborne and Thorpe, among others, ensured Birstall did not cross the line again despite an increase in pressure throughout.
But with league points were on the line, Melton were not fazed, with Kerr’s break for the line pulled up short.
And the visitors did extend their lead when Bowles ran from deep, dancing and twirling his way through the defence with one last lunge to get under the posts to seal a hard-fought 41-24 win.
Melton’s next league fixture is at Leicester Forest East on Saturday.