Melton RFC consolidate lead after Olney rout

Action from Melton 3rd XV versus Syston Select XV EMN-160119-090824002
Action from Melton 3rd XV versus Syston Select XV EMN-160119-090824002
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Melton RFC showed no signs of rustiness after their long bus journey to Buckinghamshire as the unbeaten league leaders consolidated their seven-point lead in Midlands Two East (South).

They started the game as they meant to go on with Sam Badham making a break straight from the kick-off and releasing Harry Wood down the left wing to open Melton’s account.

Action from Melton 3rd XV versus Syston Select XV EMN-160119-090959002

Action from Melton 3rd XV versus Syston Select XV EMN-160119-090959002

The visitors continued to dominate in all areas with Matt Cox showing his class with an inch-perfect cross-field kick for Green, but the inside pass to Radford was knocked on.

From the resulting scrum, Melton’s pack won the first of many against the head and the ball came out to the right wing. Radford and Gormley linked well to allow Green to sprint down the line and dive over in the corner.

Olney had a rare visit to Melton’s 22, but despite concerted pressure had to make do with a penalty for a high tackle as they reduced the gap to 10-3 after 15 minutes.

Quick thinking from scrum-half Rose with a well-judged kick into the corner put the pressure back on the hosts.

Badham made a nuisance of himself at the lineout, causing scrappy ball to go back to the Olney fly-half whose kick was charged down and dived on by Gormley who grabbed his sixth try of the season.

Melton were soon back in the Olney 22 and from a well-rehearsed lineout drive, the backs showed practice does pay off to send Matthews in under the posts. Green made no mistake with the conversion.

The visitors showed no sign of letting up from the kick-off as great hands from Brookes, Prior and Foster teed up Sam Badham who broke through two tackles and ran to the line.

He was caught just short, but Rose was there to take a pop pass and dive over. Green added the extras to establish a 29-3 half-time lead.

Melton started the second half with a great floated kick for the incoming Green who broke through two players, but was stopped short of the line.

Showing the intensity which has earned them top spot, they forced wave after wave of pressure until finally knocking on.

But once again the pack, led by captain Marcus Badham, won another scrum against the head and Foster broke from the base to make good yards. He found Rose who was brought down short, but after many picks from the base of the ruck, Melton added their sixth try.

Rose made up for his missed opportunity by taking a pass from Cox after an arcing run to break through the first line of defence and beat the full-back. Green’s conversion made it 41-3.

With the heavy pitch tiring the players, Olney managed a good spell of possession in Melton’s 22. Good switching of play stretched the away defence, eventually creating an overlap to score in the corner.

With 10 minutes left, some of the hosts were feeling the effects of Melton’s high intensity.

The visitors slowly advanced towards the line from halfway until the experienced Sam Badham sliced through the defence and galloped 30-plus metres to score a try much-loved by all of the players and travelling fans. Green added the conversion.

Olney tried to play out of their own 22, but the ball came loose from a ruck. Radford hacked the ball towards the line and dived on it to get on the scoresheet with the final play of the match.

Green’s simple conversion took his personal tally to five from six.

* On Saturday, Melton return to home turf when seventh-placed Peterborough visit Burton Road following a 33-18 defeat to Melton’s title rivals Market Harborough last weekend. Kick-off is 2.15pm.