The league season began in earnest on Saturday when Melton welcomed Oadby Wyggs to Burton Road in their first meeting for many years.
Wyggs had a successful season last season, finishing fourth in Midlands Two East, while the hosts were disrupted by an injury to Chris Williams who was replaced by Harry Wood. Matt Cox and Adam Woolley were also handed their first team debuts.
Melton began at real pace, but were guilty of over-enthusiasm as they gifted territory with simple penalties, while a dropped pass with an overlap could have led to an early try.
But the home side gradually settled into their stride and took the lead. Matt Cox kicked a penalty deep into Wyggs half, and when Sam Badham took a clean catch from the lineout, a well-drilled pack drove the ball on and Marcus Badham scored yet another try in the corner.
Oadby launched several counter-attacks, but they were frustrated by fine tackling, particularly from Ryan Kemp and Klay Radford.
An attacking line-out was disrupted by Sam Badham, who made a nuisance of himself all afternoon, and from the resulting broken play, Chris Rose cleverly switched direction.
Matt Cox and Klay Radford made the hard yards to feed Karl Prior who broke two tackles to score a fine try out wide.
Melton continued to dominate, especially in the set scrum, but couldn’t make the pressure count.
They didn’t help their cause when Leon Gormley was sin-binned after taking exception to some over-enthusiastic Oadby play. The penalty was well-struck and the lead reduced to 10-3 at half-time.
Coach Gareth Collins had strong words to say at half-time and Melton upped the pace after the restart.
Wingers Harry Wood and James Woolley tested the opposition with some real pace, but the drift defence from Oadby was well-marshalled as several chances went begging.
Wood was forced off with a leg injury, allowing Harvey Green to make his first team debut on the wing.
A speculative kick out of defence by Oadby was well fielded by Adam Woolley who had a fine game at full-back in attack and defence.
But Melton transgressed at the breakdown yet again and conceded a soft penalty that made it 10-6.
The hosts continued to press with telling breaks by Wayne Brookes and Sam Badham only denied by fine cover tackling.
The pressure began to tell when Oadby conceded a yellow card for a high tackle.
Cox put in another telling kick to the corner from the resultant penalty, and when Kemp set up the drive, a very clever switch saw Marcus Badham dive over for his second try and a 15-6 lead.
There was an immediate response when a mix-up in defence gifted Oadby a soft try against the run of play.
Melton responded with several driving mauls which had Oadby backpedalling in defence, but they held up well under pressure. From a set scrum, the replacement number eight Richard Foster made a good break on the blind side and his well-timed pass allowed Harvey Green to weave his way to the line with pace, leaving his opposite number trailing for an excellent debut try.
A good start in a much tougher league with a bonus point win and a trip to Oakham next up on Saturday (3pm).