Melton Hockey Club’s Fourth XI were well beaten by Coalville in their first derby match of the season.
In what is normally a tight fixture, the visitors’ more experienced youngsters were rampant against a much younger home side.
The gap in development was very evident with Melton fielding five players who are new to league hockey this season, although Wells and Shelton put in remarkably solid performances.
A lacklustre Melton started poorly and were soon behind when an early shot went under goalkeeper Cliffe’s foot for the opener.
The home side fell further behind when Coalville tore open a porous defence to score a well-worked and clinically-taken goal.
With Melton’s midfield stretched to the point of appearing absent, the visitors remained entirely dominant for the rest of the half, but failed to increase the scoring, with some excellent saves from Cliffe atoning for the early error.
A reshuffled Melton team enjoyed early reward in the second half when Buttery drove home across the D to reduce the deficit.
Although the half was much more even, with Worsley adding power to the midfield and impressive performances from joint men-of-the-match Whitaker and Smith particularly notable, Coalville regained their two-goal advantage and Melton were unable to close the gap.
Despite the disappointment of a home defeat, the future is promising for a young side who remain fourth in the league.
Melton: L. Cliffe, H. snow, E. Shelton, N. Shelton, N. Buttery, C. Smith, Z. Whitaker, A. Wells, A. John, J. Harris, G. Hunn, J. Welch, C. Worsley.