Melton RFC Under 9s enjoyed a stunning end to the season when they were crowned joint champions at a top junior tournament at Minehead.
The club took two teams to the Leicester Tigers annual challenge, and took on opponents from all over the country as the Tigers made it all the way to the final.
A smaller than usual squad of 16 arrived in Somerset, and from the outset the quality of rugby was evident with the Tigers drawing their first game in a low-scoring match against Deri, while the Lions edged a close game against the hosts.
The Tigers began to play more expansive rugby and dominated the group, beating Minehead Seconds 6-0 followed by two more comfortable victories of 6-1 and 6-0 to finish top of the group at close on Saturday.
The Lions didn’t fare as well, losing by the odd score and going down by four to a very physical and strong Cwmbran first team. The Lions ended with two very creditable 6-6 and 3-3 draws, finishing joint third in their group after a very solid performance.
The Lions supported their Tigers team-mates on finals day, cheering them on to a 3-2 win in a tight semi-final against Shipston-on-Stour to set up a final with the well-drilled Cwmbran.
The Lions coaches offered up tips and advice on which Cwmbran players to watch, and in a fast-paced end-to-end game, the Tigers scored the first try and led 3-2 at half-time.
Cwmbran hit back and levelled the scores before Melton got a fourth try with only a minute left.
In a very competitive final 60 seconds, Cwmbran pushed for a levelling try. When the score eventually came there was a tense wait as the officials decided whether they had grounded the ball before their player was driven into touch.
The try was allowed to stand and a draw meant both teams were crowned joint champions.
All 16 players were presented with their medals by Leicester Tigers’ Anthony Allen along with a trophy which was almost as big as the youngsters.
The team will celebrate again tomorrow (Friday) at the Melton RFC presentation evening.
* Melton RFC’s Under 11s squad also took part in the Tigers Challenge where good performances took them through to finals day on the Sunday.
Despite some solid performances, the first game was lost narrowly, but the team rallied to win the second, placing them overall third in the plate competition.