Melton RFC coach targets further league success next season

Melton racked up 50 points against Grimsby, a win that takes them into 2015 unbeaten in league and cup EMN-141222-181446002
Melton racked up 50 points against Grimsby, a win that takes them into 2015 unbeaten in league and cup EMN-141222-181446002
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Melton RFC were handed an early Christmas gift when head coach Gareth Collins agreed to extend his stay at Burton Road.

Collins joined Melton last summer as he continued his recovery from reconstructive knee surgery, and is still yet to taste defeat in league and cup.

The former Leicester Tigers academy graduate came on board with a view to resuming his playing career next season at a higher league level.

But he has decided to stay put and spearhead another campaign of league success.

He said: “I have already committed myself for next season. It was a possibility to go back to playing, but I’m going to stick with it and try to take the club to a higher level.

“I should be fit in January, and if required I will get my boots on, but the boys are doing too good a job for me to get in the team.”

Having been relegated to the third tier of Midlands rugby last season, Collins’ brief was to steer the club away from this unfamiliar territory.

Helped by the return of several old boys from higher league clubs, including skipper Marcus Badham, Melton have won 11 out of 12 games.

With a commanding 13-point lead to take into the second half of the campaign, Collins is already laying the foundations for a successful push in Midlands Two.

He added: “I would’ve been disappointed if we weren’t near the top of the league, but I didn’t necessarily expect that we would still be unbeaten.

“We can and should get better. I don’t think we have reached our potential at all, but it’s a good start.

“The biggest problem we have is still numbers, but it’s a strong small squad good enough to win this league and I expect us to do so. “It’s already about building for next season so we’re ready to attack the league above rather than just survive in it.”

While most club sides will enjoy a three-week Christmas break from fixtures, Melton players will be back in training this week, preparing for their Midlands Senior Vase quarter-final.

The team hosts Bedworth on Saturday, January 3.

Victory there would put Melton just three wins away from a dream national cup final at Twickenham in May.

Collins said: “At the start of the season we set ourselves two goals – to get promoted and play at Twickenham.

“We are top of the Midlands league rankings overall so it’s difficult not to get ahead and say we should be winning the cup. It’s a huge motivator for us.

“People don’t want to say it, but perhaps it’s almost as important as the league.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity. For players, trips to Twickenham don’t come around very often.”