Super Melton RFC go top with Peterborough win

Melton RFC's pack drive their Peterborough counterparts backwards EMN-151013-104145002
Melton RFC's pack drive their Peterborough counterparts backwards EMN-151013-104145002
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Unbeaten Melton claimed another bonus point victory at in-form Peterborough to go top of the league on points difference.

The fixture had all the hallmarks of a tricky one against unfamiliar opponents who had started the season well.

And the omens were not good before kick-off when Ben Warwick turned his ankle in the warm-up, and coach Gareth Collins stepped up to replace him at full-back.

Sporting their new away strip, Melton started well with Leon Gormley first to the breakdown every time. Quick ball was spun out to the backs by Chris Rose and Mark Matthews, who combined well, and Gareth Collins timed his run well from full-back to ghost through for an early try.

The visitors got on the wrong side of the referee far too many times and conceded a string of silly penalties and a lot of territory.

The hosts pressured with well-coordinated forward drives and only fine tackling by Ryan Kemp and Lee Miller stemmed the tide. But the penalties kept coming and Dan Wakefield was singled out as a culprit and was shown a yellow card.

The extra man gave Peterborough an overlap and the winger scored a try in the corner to level.

The sides looked evenly-matched as they probed for an opening. Wayne Brooks had two trademark rumbles from prop, supported by Dave Osborne, but was met by sound defence.

Matthews kicked a penalty deep into opposition territory and Sam Badham’s wonderful lineout leap set up a powerful driving maul, finished off once again by captain Marcus Badham for another fine forwards try. Harvey Green struck a superb conversion from out wide.

Melton used their strong forwards platform to launch a series of attacks, particularly from Miller and his back row colleagues Kemp and Gormley.

Carl Prior was denied by a try-saving tackle before Melton extended their lead when a scrum near the Peterborough line exerted some real pressure and Sam Badham furiously burrowed through a pile of bodies for another try just before half-time.

Peterborough used both of their speedy wingers to good effect in the second half as they posed a real threat out wide, and only superb tackling by Radford and Wakefield thwarted them.

Green returned a loose defensive kick with a darting run and Collins side-stepped through the defence with James Woolley on his shoulder to create room for Radford to burst through for a stunning try. Green added the extras.

Peterborough responded almost immediately when their pacy winger outpaced the cover for a fine individual try.

Shortly after the referee was knocked out cold in an accidental clash, and linesman John Hill, a high level referee, stepped into the breach.

Concerted pressure paid off from the restart with a blindside break. Rose and Matthews both outwitted their opposite numbers with clever handling and Dave Osborne broke clear. He amazed everyone with a one-handed pass out of the tackle to Collins who tore in for his second try.

With Melton awarded a scrum on halfway, the front row of Brooks, Badham and Osborne drove forward. A fine flowing move ensued with excellent handling in the backs, and replacement number eight Richard Foster broke clear to score a superb try out wide.

Melton conceded a soft try after casual tackling, and shortly after the ball was turned over in midfield and a line break saw the home winger score again.

But the visitors had the last word when Matthews’ stunning cross-field kick was taken in the air by Woolley who outfoxed the defence with a dancing run to score a wonderful final try. Green capped a good afternoon of place kicking in tricky conditions by landing the conversion.