After their stunning win over Old Northamptonians, it was back down to earth on Saturday as Melton were beaten by in-form Paviors.
There were a couple of changes for the trip to Nottingham, but Melton fielded much the same side which had performed so well against the title hopefuls, so the lacklustre performance puzzled the club’s travelling support.
Melton started quite brightly, but Paviors’ defence was exceptional, using all of their years of experience in this league to thwart every attack.
It wasn’t long before the tide turned and Melton had to weather the storm as the dangerous home backs ran the ball at every opportunity with the full-back prominent.
Outstanding tackling from Carl Prior and Klay Radford kept the hosts out, but Paviors turned to the forwards oriented mauls and only last-ditch efforts from Marcus Badham and Simon Peters denied them a score.
Against the run of play Melton got down into the opposition half and a clever miss-pass from Duncan Lennox gave Adam Woolley just enough room to step inside the cover defence and score in the corner. Matt Cox added the conversion from out wide.
Both sides continued to attack with some enterprising play despite the sticky pitch.
Defence was the order of the day for both sides as play swung backwards and forwards.
Paviors had the edge at times with a real keenness in their play, but Melton should have increased their lead when Harvey Green came into the line from full-back only for the final pass to go astray with the line at Adam Woolley’s mercy.
The visitors were off the pace in the early exchanges of the second half and were soon caught offside to give Paviors an easy penalty almost in front of the posts.
This was quickly followed by a fortuitous try. A messy scrum saw Paviors steal the ball and quick passing gave them an overlap for a soft converted try and a 10-7 lead.
There was a lengthy delay when Klay Radford was injured, forcing a reshuffle with Simon Peters moving to centre and Dan Belcher on for him in the back row and Charlie Loveday moving into the front row.
The disruption didn’t help their cause as Paviors ratcheted up the tempo and looked dangerous with ball in hand.
Leon Gormley and Sam Badham did their level best to claw Melton back, but Paviors’ tackling denied all chances of a score.
Wayne Brookes made a welcome return from injury for the final quarter, but even he could not prevent one of the softest tries Melton have given away this season.
A solid scrum gave Melton clean ball, but an unfortunate fumble saw Cox make a wild miskick which fell into the home winger’s arms in open field. Good support play gave the hosts an easy try and conversion.
Melton woke up and started to play some adventurous rugby as Paviors conceded a string of penalties.
Kieran Stone made real inroads in broken play with some outstanding runs, but all too often didn’t have enough support from his fellow forwards.
The final phase summed up Melton’s afternoon when a penalty in front of the posts was scuffed wide as the consolation of a losing bonus point slipped from their grasp.
Melton: K. Stone, M. Badham, D. Osborne, S. Badham, A. Chambers, L. Gormley, S. Peters, D. Evans, D. Lennox, M. Cox, A. Brooks, K. Radford, C. Prior, A. Woolley, H. Green, C. Loveday, W. Brookes, D. Belcher.