Market Harborough 26-12 Melton RFC

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Melton faced one of the strongest teams in the county on Sunday and their task was made even harder by a depleted squad.

Harborough played the first half with the wind behind them and immediately pressured Melton’s defence deep in their own 22 for the first 10 minutes. The defence held strong with superb tackling from Morgan, Thompson and Dixon.

Melton’s forwards carried a driving maul from their own 22 into Harborough’s half just past the 10m line with Sommerville and Goward holding the ball up well. This was only a brief respite as Harborough showed excellent work at the breakdown, getting quick ball to the wingers who ran in two quick tries.

Their third try was an easy charge down when Melton hesitated with a clearing kick on their own try line.

Melton, using the wind to their advantage, pinned Harborough deep in their half with Dixon and Green denying them any respite. The pick and go worked well, providing scrum-half Beesley with quality ball to feed Gunby who drew the defender in before offloading to Garnett on the wing who crossed for Melton’s first try.

Blythe eventually succumbed to a nagging shoulder injury, but Loveday came to the rescue for the final 20 minutes. Smith and Thompson were in tremendous form, pounding away relentlessly at the home defence.

A long clearance kick allowed Harborough to chase down, and despite Johnson’s excellent tackle they had strength in numbers to score in the corner.

Melton went close when Golland spilled the ball forward on the try line, but Gunby ran in the final try, and converted, after slick handling by the backs.

Harborough’s coaches were full of praise for the Melton lads and rightly named Thompson the man-of-the-match.

Melton: Goward, Morgan, Thompson, Green, Blythe, Sommerville, Lloyd, Dixon, Beesley, Gunby, W. Garnett, Smith, Golland, J. Garnett, Johnson, W. Loveday.