It was a tough day at the office for Melton RFC as their First and Second XVs fell to heavy defeats to Kettering.
The injury-ravaged First XV faced a tough task at home to the perennial Midlands One East powerhouses and went down 65-13 to remain without a win this season.
Melton had chosen a narrow pitch to try and stifle the visitors’ running rugby, but Kettering crossed for 10 tries, including four from Joe Daniel who also kicked four conversions and a penalty.
The Second XV, meanwhile, went down 29-0 to Kettering’s second string who lead the Leicestershire Second XV League.
Melton’s Third XV knew they were in for a tough afternoon at in-form Leicester Forest East Second XV in the league
But the visitors were equally buoyant following their performances so far this season despite taking a bare minimum XV, with most of their back line consisting of forwards playing out of position.
A few of the usual suspects joined the ranks, as well as newcomer Andy Cunningham who went into the Melton back line on a very wet day, while the last-minute arrival of Lewis Brookes bolstered the team.
Against younger and fitter opponents on an artificial pitch, Melton rampaged into the LFE half from kick-off with hard advances from Simmo and Marius knocking the hosts back.
But excellent counter-rucking and fast hands, allowed LFE to show their pace for an early score.
Again and again Melton knocked with a barrage of advances from Denzel, Ben, Mark and Stu, but they couldn’t finish the moves off, and LFE again made their pace count, creating plenty of space against less-than-adequate defending.
There was some stellar tackling from Finn Wright, but the deficit grew into double figures and then some.
Melton’s obvious advantage came in the scrummage against a lighter pack, but despite dominance in every scrum, the visitors couldn’t match LFE’s speed and ball handling which produced further tries from the flanks.
Melton started the second half with late replacements substitutes, father and son Josh and Nick who replaced tired legs in the back line, but fortunes remained much the same.
The invitation to stop the game early was dismissed as Melton looked to get something out of the game, and their patience and strength was soon rewarded.
A succession of crashing runs from Denzel, Budd, Simmo and Brookes advanced the visitors further into the home 22.
The tiring hosts conceded a cheap penalty, and five metres from the try line, Marius created a maul, allowing Matt Horne to dot down for the consolation try.
LFE gave in to Melton’s overpowering scrummage and decided to proceed uncontested for the final 10 minutes.
The final score of 63-5 didn’t quite reflect Melton’s Herculean effort, with great respect and discipline shown throughout.
They are next in action at Aylestone Athletic on Saturday.