Late rally not enough as Melton Vets are beaten

Action from County Cup final. EMN-170905-095051002
Action from County Cup final. EMN-170905-095051002
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Melton Mowbray Veterans took on a strong, elusive and confident Loughborough side in the final of the Vets County Cup on Saturday.

They lost out by four tries to three, but probably to the better side, who have now claimed the cup three times in succession.

Action from County Cup final. EMN-170905-095037002

Action from County Cup final. EMN-170905-095037002

Melton started off full of promise, and strong running from Dave Simms, Matt Brookes and Stuart Kempin.

The visitors weathered the storm and slowly got into the game.

Some scintilating breaks saw them gain possession from several phases, and a quick ball to their outside half saw him glide through for a score under the post.

This galvanised Melton into action and strong runs from Mark Cox, Rich Evans and a lovely show-and-go Sam Clemmons caused panic in the Loughborough defence.

Melton RFC Vets v Loughborough. EMN-170905-094922002

Melton RFC Vets v Loughborough. EMN-170905-094922002

From a series of short plays a line out was won brilliantly by Paul Moore.

The collective forward drive rumbled for the line but was clinically brought down, only for Andy Stockdale to pop the ball to Kempin, who crashed over leaving three attempted tacklers in his wake.

Clemmons was unlucky to strike the post from the conversion and the visitors held a arrow 7-5 lead.

The visitors attacked Melton from every angle and only some thumping tackles from Rich Meakin and Cox kept them out.

Melton RFC Vets.

Melton RFC Vets.

Melton lost Evans from midfield and, during the reshuffle, Loughborough scored out wide to lead 12-5 at the interval.

The second half saw Melton improve their attacking prowess, particularly through Wayne Greaves and Tobias Misuda, and some huge hits from Darren Farrish.

Loughborough used the ball well, kicked when they could, using the wind and slope, and pressed quickly.

Melton were on top of possession and were denied a try from Greaves under the posts.

Loughborough scored two tries and long-range punts were not really dealt with, and with both conversions going over, they were suddenly in a 26-5 lead.

Melton lost Farrish to the bin but club stalwart Alan Wade came on and changed the game when he took three balls against the head.

The first led to Ben Shouler going over after a sprint for the line.

And the final piece of play saw the backs combine really well to allow Clemmons space to send a beautiful grubber kick through for Paul Blagburn to race through and touch down on the whistle.

Melton will feel robbed but, in truth, Loughborough deserved the trophy because of their teamwork and spirit.