Indiscipline, bad decision-making and missed opportunities cost Melton RFC dear as a late score won it for Lutterworth.
Having opened the season with a convincing win against Leighton Buzzard, Melton travelled headed to their fellow promoted side in positive spirit and started strongly from the kick-off.
Lutterworth had no answer to Melton’s superiority in the scrum and after four minutes were driven off their own ball 20 metres out, just to the left of the uprights. But Cox pulled the resulting penalty wide.
The visitors had a good catch and drive, 10 metres in Lutterworth’s half and the ball was driven infield for Gormley to break.
He sprinted forward and was brought down five metres short of the upright. Lutterworth came offside and Cox converted the penalty for a deserved 3–0 lead.
From the restart the game went downhill for Melton with poor lineouts, losing the ball in contact and knock-ons. This may have been partly due to the wet conditions as both sides struggled to find continuity with ball in hand.
Melton were awarded a penalty 10 metres in their own half for stamping, but Gormley was yellow-carded for retaliation and the penalty reversed.
Lutterworth’s number 10 landed the 40-metre effort to tie the scores.
The hosts continued to pressure the Melton lineout, but found themselves offside again from a catch and drive to allow Cox a simple penalty for a 6-3 lead.
Three minutes before half-time, Lutterworth were again in trouble for killing the ball, giving Melton another simple opportunity, but the attempt was again off-target.
The second half showed no improvement in Melton’s open play and a loose pass in the three-quarters allowed the hosts’ speedy backs to collect the ball from Melton’s 10-metre line and score under the posts (10–6).
Things went from bad to worse when Rose was yellow-carded for over-use of the boot in a ruck.
Harvey Green filled in well for 10 minutes at scrum-half and the numbers were evened up when another dominant Melton scrum resulted in a yellow card for the Lutterworth prop for collapsing.
Cox put the penalty in the left-hand corner and Miller, on for Chambers, scored from the commanding catch and drive to put Melton back in front at 11-10.
The conversion was wide, leaving Melton with a slender lead.
Stapleford came on for Brooks at prop, followed shortly after by the returning Rose at scrum-half.
Lutterworth kicked and moved the ball at every opportunity to release their backs, but the visitors were solid under the high ball where Green and Warwick were outstanding under pressure.
But the final blow came when Melton were second to a loose ball in open play with five minutes to go. The Lutterworth 10 quickly released his backs for the speedy winger to score in the left corner.
The difficult conversion was kicked and Lutterworth held on for a 17–11 win.
Melton: K. Stone, M. Badham, W. Brooks, S. Badham, D. Wakefield, A. Chambers, K. Gormley, C. Rose, M. Matthews, J. Wooley, M. Cox, C. Prior, H. Green, B. Warwick, J. Stapleford, Miller.