Melton RFC edged closer to Midlands One East safety after a convincing win over bottom side Market Rasen and Louth on Saturday.
Against a side long-since relegated and without a win this season, Melton served up a feast of running rugby to move up to ninth, three places and eight points above the bottom three.
Rasen have endured a torrid time this season, but gave Melton a fright in the reverse fixture where only a penalty kick in the dying minutes denied them a first win of the season.
And Melton knew they still had to fight for everything to ensure safety.
With the club’s sponsors and vice-presidents among the spectators for the final home game of the season, Melton started brightly with several phases of encouraging attacks.
And when Henry Kaczmarczyk made a timely interception, he raced away for the opening try, converted by Harvey Green.
Soon after James Long’s lineout steal and quick ball released Ollie Circuit who broke the first tackle and left a trail of defenders in his wake for a glorious solo try, with Green again adding the extras.
Circuit then added a try in the corner after slick passing from the impressive Harvey Kelsall.
With confidence now high, the hosts put together some fine attacking moves, and a well-worked lineout move on halfway saw Klay Radford take the ball at pace and streaked over for a sublime try.
Rasen had no answers to the pace of the game and Melton’s close support play, and they didn’t help their cause with some poor defensive kicking.
One loose kick too many saw Kieran Bugby crash over, with Green slotting another conversion.
The Melton backs were given a steady stream of ball as the forward power took its toll, with Circuit having a fine game in midfield and yet another searing break saw his centre partner Klay Radford supporting to add another try.
Refusing to be overwhelmed, Rasen took play into Melton’s half and a well-co-ordinated lineout drive saw Matt Ashton score out wide before Tom Alldridge’s well struck conversion added some respectability at 36-7.
Melton responded with another lineout attack, orchestrated by Marcus Badham, which saw a sharply-taken break on the blind side by Leon Gormley who took two defenders with him in the corner.
Green’s sweet touchline conversion gave Melton a comfortable 43-7 half-time lead.
Dave Meakin and Elliott Kelsall added some fresh legs for the start of the second half and they soon made their extra pace help.
A period of loose play appeared to going nowhere until Matt Cox dummied and fed Kaczmarczyk on the outside to run in an easy try.
Green’s conversion brought up the half-century of points.
Rasen kept plugging away and a rolling maul looked to be heading for a try until a remarkable intervention saw Kieran Stone rip the ball off his opposite number.
He wrestled his way upfield, taking half the visitors’ pack with him in an extraordinary display of strength, and his efforts were rewarded when Gormley’s storming run resulted in a try out wide.
Rasen’s effort was to be applauded as they continued to look to reduce the deficit.
A well-judged kick to the corner was nearly kept in play after Cox’s balletic leap, but from the ensuing lineout, a well-worked peal saw Jack Norton cross and Alldridge convert.
But when yet another poor defensive kick went astray, Stone was well positioned to take the ball with Nick Crossland in support.
The ball was popped to Cox who kicked his way up the touchline for the final try, with Green adding the extras.
Head coach Gareth Collins know a third season in Midlands One will be guaranteed with victory at Wellingborough on Saturday, or if Bugbrooke fail to beat Peterborough. Kick-off is 3pm.
Melton: K. Stone, M. Badham, C. Jeremiah, J. Long, N. Crossland, H. Kelsall, K. Bugby, L. Gormley, C. Rose, M. Cox, H. Kaczmarczyk, K. Radford, O. Circuit, H. Green, W. Helliwell, E. Kelsall, D. Meakin, L. Pawley.