County Cup holders Melton RFC endured a nervous finale before coming through a close quarter-final at their old Rutland rivals Oakham.
Both sides had players missing through injury or away supporting England at Twickenham, but the game began at a frenetic pace with most of the early pressure coming from the visitors.
The constant pressure paid off when some slick passing in the backs gave Aidan Brooks enough room to squeeze over in the corner, with Matt Cox slotting the touchline conversion.
This spurred on Oakham’s back row as they drove into the mauls and only some excellent tackling from Simon Peters and Dan Belcher prevented a breakthrough.
A well-struck penalty reduced the deficit to 7-3 after 20 minutes.
Melton upped the pace, but Oakham’s defence held firm with some excellent first-up tackling and some good turnovers.
However, quick thinking by Klay Radford on the break saw his fellow centre Carl Prior in support and quick hands gave Harvey Green time to inject pace from full-back and score a sublime try out wide.
A narrow penalty miss by Oakham’s fly-half brought up half-time, with Melton enjoying a narrow lead and with plenty to do.
Gareth Collins’ half-time team talk seemed to do the trick and almost immediately from the restart, Marcus Badham made a crunching tackle and steal to release Chris Rose with Prior in support.
Klay Radford timed his run to perfection to take the ball at pace and score in the corner.
Melton kept up the pressure with a period of mauling with Leon Gormley and Loveday prominent as they drove upfield.
It paid dividends as the cover was stretched and Sam Badham scored a good team try out wide.
The visitors should have consolidated their dominance, but Oakham were determined not to give up and launched several waves of attacks.
This culminated in a good try from an overlap, capped by a well-struck conversion to further reduce the arrears.
Melton were denied a seemingly good try when Sam Badham crashed over from a rehearsed lineout move, but the referee deemed an infringement had occurred.
Oakham’s pack took the chance to string a good series of attacks together, leading to another converted try to bring the hosts within five points of Melton.
The score set up a nervy final 10 minutes for Melton, but ultimately they just about deserved to win a classic cup game and book their place in the semi-finals.
Melton: H. Green, H. Wood, C. Prior, K. Radford, A. Brooks, M. Cox, C. Rose, D. Osborne, M. Badham, Loveday, S. Badham, M. Bugby, L. Gormley, S. Peters, D. Belcher, A. Chambers.