A daunting task turned into a heavy home defeat as Melton RFC First XV were beaten by a clinical Bedford side on Saturday.
The free-scoring league leaders had put 104 unanswered points past bottom side Market Rasen on their previous outing and boasted a 100 per cent record in Midlands One East before kick-off.
The strong wind dominated early proceedings with neither side able to bring their game to bear on the match as they worked out how best to play the elements.
As the match did click into gear it was the visitors who found themselves on the wrong side of the referee’s whistle as Melton won several penalties and put Bedford under a prolonged period of pressure in their 22.
And Melton took some advantage on 18 minutes when they moved ahead with a penalty.
The Bedford response was immediate when a slick handling move between the forwards produced the day’s best try as replacement prop Josh Smith touched down.
Further tries followed from Andy Ince and Josh Cassell as Bedford took control after half-an-hour.
But the visitors dropped the restart following the third try, and allowed Melton to build another head of steam as they looked for a response.
Once more they had to settle for a penalty two minutes before the break and trailed 19-6 at half-time.
The early second-half pressure was all from Melton, but Bedford landed a sucker-punch try when Andy Ince picked up from the base of a scrum, ran hard at the hosts’ defence, and offloaded to Tom Bills before Rob Watkins finished off from 30 metres out.
Bedford once again disrupted a home attack as Nick Thomas stole the ball and then weighted a perfect pass to his wing Josh Cassell who powered away from 50 metres out to score his second try.
Mortimer converted for a 31-6 lead.
The visitors began to dominate with their forward pack frustrating any momentum Melton tried to build and their backs proving a constant threat.
On 64 minutes Harry Sawford-Smith was through for Bedford’s sixth try, and the visitors’ scoring was completed three minutes later when Stuart Livesey benefitted from another line break, with Mortimer converting for a 43-6 lead.
But Bedford again dropped the restart and after losing a player to the bin for repeated infringements, Melton made the man advantage count, as Klay Radford scored their sole try with the final move of the game.
The defeat dropped Melton to 10th ahead of Saturday’s trip to Bugbrooke who are just two places and three points better off (kick-of 3pm).