Melton RFC shake off tenacious Bugbrooke for welcome away win

Leon Gormley helped create and finished off Melton's third try at Bugbrooke EMN-171031-145035002
Leon Gormley helped create and finished off Melton's third try at Bugbrooke EMN-171031-145035002
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Melton RFC First XV returned to winning ways in Midlands One East as they held off a tenacious Bugbrooke side on Saturday.

The visitors led throughout, but could not get out of sight and were made to battle right up to the final whistle to hold that lead.

The Northamptonshire ground was not kind to Melton last season, but they seemed up for the challenge with a few fresh faces making their comebacks and Luke Pawley coming in for his first team debut.

Melton gained good ground after collecting the kick-off and became camped in the Bugbrooke 22 for the early encounters.

Finally the pressure exerted by Gormley, Bugby and Dennison forced a penalty, but the option to kick for the corner was sadly missed.

From the restart Bugbrooke produced a good five minutes of pressure of their own, but the hard work of the pack, led by Melton captain Stone, denied them any points.

And soon Melton hit the front after taking advantage at the next ruck with Gormley stealing the ball.

Slick handling across the back line through Lennox, Rose and Klay released Circuit on the wing to run in the first try.

Rose, who had taken over the kicking duties, slotted a great conversion for a 7-0 lead after 18 minutes.

Melton were left puzzled by a string of infringements against them, but they kept their discipline and concentration until the half-hour mark when Bugbrooke crossed in the corner from a pushover scrum.

After a hard 30 minutes for both sides, a high tackle on the impressive Woolley gave Rose the chance to find touch with his kick, which he did with ease this time.

Wakefield took a great high ball from Long’s lineout to set up the driving maul which resulted in Dennison securing a well-constructed try for a 12-5 lead two minutes before half-time.

Melton looked to see out the half, but from a kick through, Woolley was just beaten in the foot race as Bugbrooke dived over for their second try to reduce the visitors lead to 12-10 at half-time.

From Rose’s kick-off for the second half, Melton had a strong attacking platform when Bugbrooke immediately knocked on.

Great work from the pack secured good ball from the scrum to release Lennox, playing scrum-half, and then Rose.

Gormley’s run was halted in the 22, but quick ball to Stoney and then Badham helped set up Gormley, up in support once more, to score a well-worked try.

Bugbrooke threw everything at Melton and the pressure began to tell as Bugbrooke were awarded another penalty.

The hosts decided to settle things down and take the points to make it 13-17 after 52 minutes.

Rose restarted with a great high ball, but this time it was carried forward with venom and only the ferocious tackling of the Woolley brothers denied Bugbrooke a third try and the lead.

With eight minutes left it was time for Melton to put the game beyond their hosts through fantastic driving runs from Bugby and the supporting pack.

The immense pressure Bugby once more created allowed Circuit to cross for the try bonus point and a 22-13 lead.

Melton played the final two minutes with 14 men after Wakefield was yellow-carded to set up a tense finale which saw Woolley make another try-saving tackle.

It capped a massive squad effort away from home and a well-deserved bonus point which moved Melton up to eighth.

On Saturday they host Huntingdon (kick-off 2.15pm).

Melton: Stone, Allen, Pawley, Wakefield, Long, Gormley, Dennison, Bugby, Lennox, Rose, Circuit, Radford, Woolley, Woolley, White, Badham, Marius, Cross.