Melton Mowbray Rugby Club’s minis and juniors hosted the Leicestershire Rugby County Festival on Sunday.
It was fantastically well organised under the leadership of Tim Hiskens, with dedicated support from a small team, in turn supported by volunteers which ensured the smooth running of the day.
The club’s under 11s, 12s and 13s boys’ and girls’ teams participated, with the under 13 girls and under 13 boys teams becoming county champions, both playing against very tough opposition.
The under 13 girls’ first game was against a combined team from Melbourne, Ashby and Coalville.
Both teams looked slightly nervous to start, but nerves soon settled and the Vixens finished the game ahead with some great tries, the final one a particularly hard worked effort by Jess.
The second game was against a mixed Market Bosworth and Leicester Forest side who had trounced the Vixens the previous week so the girls had a point to prove.
Predictably, the action was a battle in the centre of the field with the Vixens working a fantastic maul halfway down the pitch.
Chloe A and Lucy were among the try scorers, both of them displaying their trademark strong runs.
The Market Bosworth and Leicester Forest girls scored a fantastic try from some wonderful passing rugby and the Vixens were relieved when the final whistle blew to finish slightly ahead.
The third game was against Market Harborough who had also beaten the Vixens in the previous week’s fixture.
They were only able to field 11 players so the Vixens matched that number and Melton went ahead early from a penalty for a high tackle.
Market Harborough then sustained an injury and with no subs, Melton also reduced their team to 10 players.
Market Harborough made a lightning break and an unfortunate knock on was a let off for the Vixens.
Harborough came back again and scored a try to finish the game level.
The fourth game was against Hinckley who had a number of players borrowed from other teams on the day which put them at a disadvantage having never trained together.
Nevertheless, they put on a great display of rugby but the Vixens exploited their numbers advantage and took the game.
The fifth game was against a depleted Lutterworth who, rather than borrow players, opted for a six versus six game.
This type of game suited the Vixens with their runners Jane, Carly and Chloe A running in tries.
The Lutterworth girls were strong in contact and will be a fearsome opponent when they grow their numbers.
Going into the final game, the Vixens knew that if they won, they would win the tournament so there was a ripple of excitement and nerves through their final match preparations.
Their opponents were Oakham Owls and the Vixens know that Oakham have some excellent players that they would need to work hard to neutralise.
Oakham started strongly and made it right up to the try line and were on the brink of scoring the first try when Carly ripped the ball and ran the length of the pitch to score a Melton try.
The game was a physical one with both teams exploiting their knowledge of their closest rivals to their best advantage but Melton edged it with Evie and Hannah and Lucy all adding to the Melton tally.
They finished the afternoon as the new county champions with Farah receiving the honour of Coaches’ Player of the day and Lucy being nominated as Players’ Player.
The girls will be training on Wednesday evening to begin their preparations for their tour to Butlins in Minehead next month.
Whilst the club was hosting the county cup, six under 18 girls were wearing Leicestershire shirts, representing the county in a festival at Burton RFC.
In January, Melton Vixens under 18s and under 15s joined forces with Oakham to create the Moakham Vixens, and they have been going from strength to strength.
Head coach Sam Clemons said: “I am so proud of each and every one of our squad.
“They turn up week after week to train and play for their team and are a credit to both clubs.
“It has been an absolute pleasure to join forces and the girls have really been able to experience what rugby is all about and have shown such amazing skills on the pitch.
“Their tenacious defence is something to fear and both admire depending on whether you are spectating or playing against them.
“Their development of core skills is really starting to open up some opportunities to play some breath taking rugby.”
The county trials were open to any of the under 18 age group bracket.
After county training last Wednesday all six were chosen for the Sunday squad and held their own against some very experienced well-drilled older players.