Melton RFC registered their fifth win of the season in Midlands One East in an entertaining match packed with pace and power.
Blending youthful exuberance and dogged experience, the First XV have produced some outstanding rugby this season, ably led by coach Gareth Collins and captain Marcus Badham, using a combination of competitive spirit and intuitive decisions.
The match, against a vibrant, fast-paced Paviors side, was as good as you are likely to see with lots of tries and, with some occasional woeful defence, always had something to keep the eyes firmly fixed upon.
Klay Radford marked his return from long-term injury with some jarring tackles, while Duncan Lennox was superb at scrum-half and could add something to the back row.
The Vice-Presidents match was a rollercoaster from start to finish, featuring 11 tries and but for the boot of Harvey Green could have been much closer than the scoreline suggests.
Melton were slow to start as Paviors attacked relentlessly and were rewarded with a try out wide after some poor tackling from the home side.
Regaining the initiative, Melton hit back through Kieran Bugby’s bulldozing run from 30 metres, followed by Leon Gormley’s score, Green converting.
But the visitors scored virtually straight from the kick-off as Melton were caught napping at the restart.
Melton then produced a stunning reply through quick ball as Green came off his left wing to score wide on the right and then convert for a 19-10 lead.
Paviors would not lie down and scored their third try as captain Billam danced through two defensive tacklers to dot down.
Within minutes, a breathless eight-phase attack saw Melton land their fourth score, finished off by Mark Matthews, and Green’s conversion stretched the advantage to 26-15.
Paviors reduced the arrears with a penalty to turn around eight points adrift at the break.
Losing skipper Badham did not help Melton’s cause and they took time to adjust, but James Stapleford proved a worthy replacement and settled into the front row with ease.
The hectic pace continued as the hosts opened the second half scoring with a brilliant try off the base of a scrum involving Bugby, Lennox and Cox. Woolley scorched in for the score.
Paviors’ brand of quick ball rugby gave them their fourth try, and a bonus point, to stay in touch at 31-23, but Melton sealed the victory after introducing Chris Rose and Collins to add verve to the attack.
James Newman capitalised and scored after Green had slotted a penalty to put the game out of sight.
But the visitors deserve full credit as they looked to stay in the game right to the end. They scored a lovely try despite some heroic defence from Adam Chambers and Leon Gormley.
The win lifted Melton to fifth, just five points behind second-placed Old Northamptonians.
This weekend they travel to fourth-placed Bugbrooke with the two sides locked on 26 points.