Southwell "blown" away by Melbourne
By Matt Derbyshire
Nine try victory earns five point one win for the Green&Gold
Melbourne travelled across the border, county that is, to face a rejuvenated Southwell in gale force winds and bitterly cold conditions. Having seen a number of successive wins at home, Melbourne were aware of the challenge Southwell possessed having seen them recently beat Long Eaton, Market Rasen and Matlock.
The green and gold shuffled the backline with injuries enforcing changes as Jack Fisher switched to fly half, Oli Saffell moved back to inside centre and Sam Hancock and Andy Martin took the wide wing berths and Joe Stuart slotted into fullback. The starting pack, remarkably, remained unchanged from their previous game against Matlock.
Melbourne chose to start with a battle not only against Southwell but also the wind. From the kick-off Melbourne dominated possession and were destructive with ball in hand. Strong carries from Tom Warren,Jordan Goddard, Jack Percival and Chris Rudkin ensured the green&gold were regularly on the front foot.
Melbourne didn't have to wait long before scrum half Oliver Page tested the Southwell defence with a scampering run beating several defenders to score under the posts. Converted by Hancock.
Playing out of their twenty two, Melbourne soon had their second try as the hard running of centre Charlie Livesey couldn't be tamed by the would be defence of Southwell, scoring out wide on the left taking the score to 0 - 12.
With Melbourne having plenty of ball and dominating the set piece, it was Rudkin's turn to get in on the scoring making it four in four games for the big prop. Melbourne carried hard into the oppositions twenty two, loose head prop Rudkin running an outside edge got fed the ball and knocked two tacklers out of his path to score left of the posts . It wasn't long before the impressive front rower got his second which sandwiched a penalty for the opposition. His second try was similarly powerful to the first but with a hint of pace to boot as the prop found himself in space and managed to use footwork and a spin to avoid contact and dot down. Converted well by Hancock to take the score to 3 -24
The final score of the first half came from a strong run by wing Sam Hancock, taking the ball on at pace wide left and cutting in off his wing to scythe through Southwell and score under the posts. 3 - 31
The start of the second half gave Southwell their only real opportunity and they took it with aplomb as they gathered their own kick off. Taking the ball on with a series of strong carries. The home team eventually finding the try line. 10 - 31
This was to be as good as it got for Southwell as Melbourne upped their game and the changes made at half time, introducing Beech, Coyne and Stephenson, added additional momentum. It was Beech who opened the scoring for the green and gold in the second half as the youngster defied the odds and scored a try he probably shouldn't have. Strong running was met with two strong tackles but the deceptive youngster drove his way through and twisted himself out of contact freeing up his speedy legs to break free and see him home, accelerating hard to try line. Once again converted by Hancock.
Melbourne have rarely seen themselves have so much possession and with the ball in hand they looked dangerous. Another score soon came their way as a short inside run saw Jack Percival receive a short pass off fly half Jack Fisher and the defenders were unable to halt the powerful back rower. Once again converted by Hancock 10 - 45
If there's one player whose effort in recent weeks deserved reward, not least for work rate and effort, it was Alex Nightingale and he got just that with a "barnstorming" run as he failed to be halted by the tired Southwell defence. Driving at pace to meet the try line with defenders hanging off him, when eventually grounded he continued his movement rolling score under the posts. Converted by Hancock 10 - 52
The final score of the day came from backrow Martin, standing in the far 15m channel Melbourne worked the ball wide, coming up against the fringe defence Martin used strong leg drive to get behind the defensive line and burst clear for the last try of the day. Converted once again by Hancock.
TRIES - PAGE, C LIVESEY, RUDKIN (X2), HANCOCK, BEECH, PERCIVAL, NIGHTINGALE, MARTIN
KICKS - X 7
YC/RC - NA
MOTM - Alex Nightingale