Melton will be in the fourth round of the National Colts Cup on December 1 after a hard-fought win at Huntingdon in awkward conditions.
Melton were forced to play uphill in the first half with knock-ons the norm in the gusty conditions. Powerful performances from Smith and Loveday allowed Melton to win many balls against the head.
Foul play by Huntingdon gave the visitors a penalty which captain Wakefield opted to kick for touch. Plowman’s great throw found Webster, and instantly the Melton pack began a driving maul which built up speed towards the try line.
An eight-man maul became a 12-man maul with centres Robinson and Green, driving from the 22-metre line to the try line where Robinson touched down. Green added an impressive conversion to put Melton ahead 7-0.
Soon after the restart, Jordan suffered a nasty knee injury, and Melton had to re-shuffle the pack with Morgan-Smith coming into the fray.
The visitors kept knocking on Huntingdon’s door, but a series of knock-ons allowed Huntingdon to regain control of the ball.
The second half saw the introduction of Deans and Wood to add fresh legs. Huntingdon opened with strong and aggressive play and Melton did well to defend the onslaught.
Play was halted six minutes in for an injury to a Huntingdon player, and the game was switched to another pitch while the emergencies services treated him.
Melton struggled to regroup after the long pause and when Huntingdon took a high ball on the halfway line, they broke through the battle-hardened defence and released their number 12 to score under the posts for a converted try.
Serio was called upon to inject energy into Melton’s tired back row, and the visitors started to regain momentum with great back work from both Brookes and Barradell.
Wood wasn’t able break through Huntingdon’s resolute lines, but great forwards work in the breakdown in Huntingdon’s 22 gave Melton a vital penalty. But Green’s high pressure kick drifted wide.
A high tempo last five minutes saw both teams push for the win, but full-time arrived and Melton, as the away team, went through.
Melton: Smith, Plowman, Loveday, Jordan, Webster, Wetherhill, Hall, Wakefield, Legg, Robinson, Green, Lyle, Hobill, Hurrell, Deans, Wood, Morgan, Smith, Serio.