Melton Mowbray we're back in Midlands 3 East (South) league action after a four-week lay off - and it showed, writes Anthony Middleton.
Hosts Rushden and Higham dominated the early exchanges and nudged into a 12-point lead before Melton's first concerted period of pressure.
In very wet and slippy conditions the home side controlled possession more and the visitors promised much but too often could not produce quick ball as Rushden often strayed offside.
A few penalty kicks were not productive and when Melton lost the heroic Jack Forfar to a dislocation there seemed no way back.
Also, when Melton were harshly penalised with a penalty try after only one offence they were really struggling.
Turning round at 19-0 a lesser team may have given up, conceded the points and gone home, but not this young team.
George Kaczmarczyk was outstanding in carrying, supporting and tackling and Harry Wood - back in the fold - was always in the thick of the action.
The game ebbed and flowed but Melton were undone when they lost James Cavanah to the bin and missed his all round hard work.
Rushden scored two tries out wide but were unable to convert.
Disaster struck when front row talisman Luke Pawley was dismissed but fortunately coach Mike Holford stepped into the breach.
For the last quarter of the match and playing with 14 men Melton upped their game attacked with speed and intelligence combining forward drives and agile angled running in the backs.
The team was rewarded with two tries first from Jordan Pawley and the second from Max Beasley both from close range but both started in their own half.
Harry Cank slotted the two conversations and Melton finished with a smile on their faces.
Saturday sees the visit of leaders Stockwood Park, a contest that was postponed before Christmas.
If the squad can regroup and play like they did in the final 20 minutes it should be a thrilling encounter.
Kick off is at 2.15 pm at The Melton Vale HQ.