Unbeaten Melton warmed up for their big cup date on Saturday with a bonus point victory thanks to an excellent team display.
Boston are the only team to have held Melton this season, after a 10-10 draw back in the reverse fixture when Gareth Collins’ side had a late score disallowed.
A gusting cross-field wind ensured kicking for territory and lineouts would be a lottery. It soon became clear handling would also be at a premium as Boston were pressured into mistakes by the speed and pressure of Melton’s back row of Leon Gormley, Ryan Kemp and Nick Crossland.
After several enforced errors, Boston were penalised at the breakdown and a kick for possession gave the hosts a lineout deep in opposition territory. An accurate throw to Ryan Kemp set up a concerted drive by the forwards and skipper Marcus Badham crossed for the first try.
The Melton backs cut swathes through Boston’s defence. Phil Stimson’s break was tackled just short of the line, but another infringement set up an attacking lineout.
James Long took the ball into contact to set up another rolling maul, and Badham broke smartly on the blind side where the supporting Nick Crossland battered his way over for a well-taken try.
Duncan Lennox had a fine game at scrum-half, and his swift break and beautiful shimmy left the defence in tatters. Stimson’s timely pop pass gave Wayne Brooks a clear run to the line for a converted try and 17-0 lead.
A determined Leon Gormley took Dave Osborn’s pass and after powerful running and lovely hand-offs he dived full-stretch for a fine one-handed try.
The hosts made several inroads into Boston’s half with attacking flowing rugby. A well-rehearsed switch in midfield between Carl Prior and Klay Radford gave the latter space to carve through the defence with an arcing run and find Gormley whose cheeky back-handed pass found Harry Wood on the wing who sped in unopposed. Stimson’s sweet conversion found its target.
Boston kept on pressing through their large set of forwards, but from a set scrum they crumpled under concerted pressure from the front row of James Stapleford, Marcus Badham and Osborn.
The ball squirted out to the alert Lennox who flipped a pass to Gormley who sped away on a trademark break and off-loaded to Sam Badham who sauntered over. Stimson’s conversion made it 36-0 at half-time.
Playing uphill with a strong wind and a comfortable lead meant Melton would want to keep something in reserve for the following Saturday.
The pace of the game slowed and coach Collins brought on Sam Grindey and Adam Chambers for a run out. Melton’s fitness ensured Boston were constantly on the defensive against excellent tackling.
When Crossland won turnover ball, Melton went through several phases of attack. The final pass gave Radford plenty to do, but he used his upper body strength to wrestle his way over, carrying two defenders with him. Chris Rose took over the kicking duties and converted.
Boston never lost heart, but when Wood fielded a desperate loose kick out of defence, he broke the first tackle and found Ben Warwick’s determined run. Warwick broke several tackles to put Radford beneath the posts, and another Rose conversion brought up the half-century.
Yet another strong scrum on halfway saw Kemp break and feed Prior whose timed pass to Grindey left defenders flat-footed. Radford was there again to streak away for another try under the posts, and Rose’s conversion capped the scoring.
Melton: J. Stapleford, M. Badham, D. Osborn, J. Long, W. Brooks, N. Crossland, R. Kemp, L. Gormley, D. Lennox, P. Stimson, C. Prior, K. Radford, C. Rose, H. Wood, B. Warwick, S. Grindey, A. Chambers, S. Badham.