Melton RFC Under 12s brushed aside a big Syston team in difficult conditions in what the coaches called one of their best performances of the season.
A very heavy pitch, combined with icy wind and driving rain meant there was some concern about the team’s motivation ahead of the opening game. But it proved unfounded as Melton looked up for the challenge from the first whistle with Hardman raising his game to new levels, driven to impress against friends in the opposing team.
Play often became, literally, bogged down in midfield until De Oliveira’s brilliant solo sprint broke through the first line of defence, before rounding two more defenders to score.
In an attritional game, Melton’s tackling and rucking was as strong as ever, repelling wave after wave of physical Syston attacks as Neath sniped away effectively in the tackle.
With strong rucking from Dickson, Sharpe and the returning Tilston, Melton began to dominate the forward battle.
Keeping the ball close in hand, a good forwards drive saw Hardman burst through only to be held up just short, but great support from Green-Mitchell and some quick thinking saw him dive over.
Syston’s bigger squad paid dividends after half-time as they changed their entire forward line. A debatable penalty and sluggish defence to Syston’s quick tap saw the hosts break to make it 2-1.
But Melton responded brilliantly. Hardman’s clever quick throw-in caught Syston napping, and after a good drive from Ford, Sharpe and Walpole, Hardman bulldozed through for 3-1.
Syston hit back, but were denied by two try-saving tackles from Dorsett and Green-Mitchell. Cropper made his scrum-half debut and made it his own, organising attacks and sniping at the scrum.
Thorpe then brilliantly ripped back the ball and offloaded to Hardman who capped an impressive personal and team performance with the fourth try.
* The second game saw a confident Melton totally dominate their opponents.
Hardman scored again, and Syston repeatedly kicked from deep which only gave Dorsett time and space to add two fine solo tries.
Dickson pulled the strings at the breakdown, and began the move for Melton’s fourth try which owed much to Thorpe’s rucking and turnover.
Attewell gained good ground with a quick burst in midfield before De Oliveira broke Syston’s resistance, allowing Dorsett to glide over in the corner.
A near flawless performance which Melton U12s had been promising for some time.