Despite another heavy defeat against high-flying Oundle, Melton RFC First XV supporters took much heart from an improved performance full of resolve.
Entertaining third-placed Oundle on Saturday, Melton welcomed the return of Klay Radford into the centre , while there was the introduction of some special young talent,
Particularly impressive were Alex Knight in the second row, and William Garnett and Aiden Smith out on the wings.
All of the younger players are having a tough baptism in the harsh environment of Midlands One East, but all showed genuine talent and commitment throughout Saturday’s 52-13 defeat and look set to develop into fine players given the opportunity.
Melton again started brightly, but blew a chance to score by being too hasty to get the ball out, and Oundle scored two tries in quick succession to go 12 points up.
Chris Rose landed a penalty to keep the home side in touch, but despite some ferocious tackling from Jack Forfar and Mark Cavanah, the visitors scored two further tries to take a comfortable 26-point lead into half-time.
The second half saw Melton battle back into the game, especially through Archie Hutchinson who grew in confidence at half-back.
However, Oundle are a good side and scored two excellent tries with touchline conversions to put the game out of reach.
Dave Meakin came on and made an immediate impact, underlining his worth for a starting spot with his natural strength and game management a boon to the team’s youthful enthusiasm.
The last 15 minutes had everything, firstly with Melton scoring through skipper Leon Gormley after great work from Luke Pawley and James Long.
Oundle hit back, virtually from the kick-off, but then became cynical at the breakdown and lost two more players to the sinbin.
And the hosts scored with the last move of the match when Rose’s excellent cross-field kick found Gormley who won the race against two visiting players to touch down.