Melton RFC hope semi-final support will carry Firsts to Twickenham

Melton RFC take to the field last Saturday for their home match with Boston EMN-150330-150915002
Melton RFC take to the field last Saturday for their home match with Boston EMN-150330-150915002
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Melton Mowbray RFC are appealing for hundreds of supporters to come along and spur the First XV on to a dream Twickenham final.

The club’s Burton Road ground plays hosts to one of its biggest-ever games on Saturday (kick-off 2.30pm) when the Firsts entertain West Leeds in the semi-finals of the RFU Senior Vase.

It is only the second time in the club’s 103-year history they have reached a national semi-final.

Their previous best run, in 2000, saw Melton lose 14-8 to Sheffield Tigers in the last four of the Tetley Bitter Vase despite the encouragement of more than 1,000 supporters. This time they hope to go one better.

Acting club chairman John Hill said: “We are one game from the holy grail. It’s like Holwell Sports being one game from Wembley or Egerton Park one game from Lords.

“It will be a massive day for the club.”

The clubhouse bar will be open to spectators from 12.30pm and there will be live music after the game, hopefully to toast a post-match celebration.

“We want as many people up there as possible,” the chairman added. “It’s a great chance for us to showcase the club; we are playing some really good rugby at the moment.

“I’m sure West Leeds will be very tough opponents, but I just hope we’re better on the day.”

Melton wrapped up the Midlands 3 East (North) title with three games to spare and then won the Midlands Senior Vase, propelling them into a national semi-final against the northern champions.

Melton have lost just once this season, to Midlands 2 East runners-up Coalville in the county cup, and are just one game away from an unbeaten league campaign.

But it is the national knockout competition and a once-in-a-lifetime chance to play at Headquarters which has fired the team’s collective imagination.

As well as on-field preparations and training, the players have this week appeared on local radio and handed out flyers to promote the big game.

Captain Marcus Badham said: “I work as builder and when I go down the builders’ merchants or in the local shop people are talking about Saturday’s match.

“We have played most of our cup games away from home, but our support has been outstanding.

“We had a lot of support for the Midlands final at Vipers and we expect a big crowd against West Leeds.

“A lot of the parents of players in our mini and junior section have been very supportive.

“Socially, the club is now rammed on Saturday afternoons and for any event.”

Badham has helped to turn round Melton’s fortunes at league level, but admits West Leeds will be an unknown quantity.

“We know very little about them. We had someone who works in their area who went to watch them but we are not too sure what to expect from them,” he said.

“But we are all at the same level at the end of the day so we will just try to play our game.”