Semi-final KO for Melton RFC First XV in County Cup

Collins (lying, front right) with the Melton RFC squad at Oval Park EMN-190423-145507002
Collins (lying, front right) with the Melton RFC squad at Oval Park EMN-190423-145507002
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Melton RFC First XV headed to Oadby who had already inflicted two heavy league defeats on them and expected more of the same in the County Cup.

But this young Melton side have improved immeasurably over the last few months, taking everything thrown at them, developing an inner resilience and simply getting on with the game when most would have waved the white flag.

Instrumental to these qualities has been the dedication of coach Gareth Collins, playing his final First XV game before his move to coach Leicester Lions.

Outstanding captain Leon Gormley, a warrior on the pitch, has also been a great role model for the younger players in fighting for the collective cause.

They have given fantastic service to the club, helping the team away from the abyss it was staring into before Christmas.

Senior players Wayne Brooks, Duncan Lennox, Chris Rose, Dave Meakin and Wayne Greaves have also played their part in energising the squad when available.

It would be a boon or the club if they were all available next year along with the many talented young players who are still developing their potential.

This cup semi-final epitomised where the club is.

Oadby opened the scoring with a penalty and followed it with a well-worked try out wide.

Melton’s misfiring lineout cost opportunities to get back into the game before Oadby added two scores from forward drives.

A fantastic break from Collins and carries from Jake Dixon and Jordan Pawley gave space for the brilliant centre Klay Radford to then power over from five metres with three Wyggs in close attendance.

Harvey Green added the conversion and Melton were back in the match.

The home side applied pressure and a couple of exits not executed particularly well gave the impetus back to Oadby who finished on top at half-time with two further tries to turn around 30-7 up.

Full credit to Melton who came straight back at their hosts, led by Lennox and Brooks, and were rewarded with a try from Lee Miller making a welcome return to action off the bench.

Green added the conversion and Melton were once more back in it, especially when Green added a penalty after another transgression from Wyggs at the breakdown.

But Wyggs replied with a breakaway converted try and a penalty before sealing the win with another try.

Melton were still not done, and after a great passage of play involving Harry Wood, Jake Williams and George Morgan-Jones, Melton finally produced a textbook lineout.

Jack Forfar caught, the pack drove, and the tenacious James Cavanah dived over for a deserved try.

Morgan-Jones added the tricky conversion to reduce the deficit to 43-24.

Wyggs then saw the game out with a penalty and converted try as injuries to Gormley, Pawley and Green took their toll.

A good break, pre-season training and new coaching team will be the order for next season, but on this showing Melton supporters have plenty to look forward to.

Oadby will go on to play Syston RFC in the final at Leicester Tigers’ Welford Road home on Tuesday, May 7, but Melton RFC still have hopes of county silverware this season.

Collins played a part in the Vets’ quarter-final win, and may yet play in the Vets County Cup semi-final at Leicester Lions this Saturday.