Melton RFC skipper hails hometown pride as key to famous cup success

Dedicated Melton RFC servants celebrate the win, from left, Wayne Brooks, captain Marcus Badham and James Stapleford. EMN-160405-115649002
Dedicated Melton RFC servants celebrate the win, from left, Wayne Brooks, captain Marcus Badham and James Stapleford. EMN-160405-115649002
0
Have your say

Melton RFC captain Marcus Badham believes hometown pride helped the team pull off their great County Cup win last week.

The First XV were big underdogs going into the final against a Hinckley side who play two levels higher and were promoted to National League Two just days before the clash.

Melton pile the pressure on Hinckley's defence as they break the line EMN-160605-103910002

Melton pile the pressure on Hinckley's defence as they break the line EMN-160605-103910002

But a late try from James Woolley and Matt Cox’s penalty with the last kick of the match sealed a famous 20-18 win to cement their first-ever County Cup honours at Welford Road.

“The passion and heart shown by the lads in the second half was unbelievable,” Badham said. “Playing for your local club with all your mates brings that out.

“To come from behind and keep fighting to earn the win against an outstanding Hinckley side is quite something.

“When we went in at half-time 8-6 behind, Gareth told us not to overcommit to the breakdown and defend more intelligently.

Melton RFC juniors welcome the teams onto the hallowed turf of Welford Road EMN-160605-104009002

Melton RFC juniors welcome the teams onto the hallowed turf of Welford Road EMN-160605-104009002

“We were always in the game and I knew the points would come. Then they did and it was amazing.

“The support and crowd were fantastic. What a day for everyone involved.”

The captain, who also guided the under 17s side to national success in 2008, can take a lot of credit for Melton’s dramatic revival.

Badham returned to his boyhood club from higher league Syston two seasons ago to rescue a side which had just been relegated to the fourth tier of Midlands rugby.

Melton RFC took a sizeable and noisy contingent to Welford Road, famous home of the Leicester Tigers EMN-160605-103921002

Melton RFC took a sizeable and noisy contingent to Welford Road, famous home of the Leicester Tigers EMN-160605-103921002

He managed to persuade several former colleagues of that successful youth side to return from higher grade rugby, along with his older brother Sam, while recruiting former Leicester Tigers and Rugby Lions player Gareth Collins as player-coach.

“It’s got to be the greatest achievement I’ve had in a Melton shirt, and my time in rugby,” Badham added.

“I have won the county cup before with South Leicester in the 2010/11 season, and it was my brother’s fifth county cup win, but even he says, nothing compared to that one.

“To win in those circumstances, being the underdogs and going down to the last kick of the game was amazing.”