A youthful Melton RFC conceded the first derby spoils of the season on Saturday as Syston took revenge for their county cup final defeat.
In an eagerly-anticipated rematch – and a first league clash between the sides in almost 10 years – hosts Syston were the favourites and clearly still smarting from May’s last-minute defeat at Welford Road.
Melton had lost several players to injury and disappointingly had two seasoned players unavailable for the trip, giving te chance for some young blood to make their mark.
The Colts acquitted themselves very well, but a derby at in-form Syston would not have been the contest most would have chosen to give them full debuts.
The major difference between the two sides, not truly reflected in the scoreline, was experience, a desire to carry the ball at pace, and some very clinical finishing.
All of these attributes were evident in a Syston squad who looked to have the burning desire to put the record straight.
The first half got off to a seesaw start with both sides having a decent amount of possession, although Syston’s was mainly in the attacking half, and the pressure was always likely to tell.
The home side opened with a soft penalty after 10 minutes, and they then added a well-worked try out wide for an eight-point lead.
Two unforced errors put Melton on the back foot again as the hosts moved 15-0 ahead.
The visitors then enjoyed a period of sustained pressure as Klay Radford, Kieran Bugby and James Long all carried the ball well.
Chris Rose fed Leon Gormley and the flanker crashed over from five metres for a deserved try.
With the successful conversion, Melton were back in the match – but not for long.
From the kick-off, several errors allowed Syston to go over for a third try before a poor knock-on allowed Syston to take a 21-7 lead.
With captain Marcus Badham sinbinned for slowing down the ball, the home side took full advantage to rumble over for a killer converted try on the stroke of half-time (28-7).
The second half could all have been about damage limitation, but to their credit, Melton gave it everything, with several youngsters standing up to be counted.
Harvey Green made a welcome return from injury, and Charlie Loveday and Christian Jeremiah made fantastic contributions both in the scrum and carrying the ball.
Syston added an extra converted try before Gormley scored a brilliant solo effort almost from the halfway line, beating six defenders along the way to give the visitors a glimmer of hope at 35-14.
But it was not to be, and the hosts added 12 more points through clinical finishing to complete a 47-14 win, however Melton did finish strongly and showed how much talent there is within the squad.
Melton remain eighth in Midlands One East after their fourth defeat of the season.
On Saturday they face another stern test when they host league leaders Bedford Athletic who have won all six of their matches, racking up 286 points. Kick-off is 3pm.