2nd XV Melbourne 42 - 25 Southwell
By Peter Ilott
Trys - Ballington 2, Bancroft 2, George Roberts.
4 Conversions, 2 Penalties Foster.
1 penalty Bancroft
With a much change side Melbourne turned around a half time deficit for an away bonus point win.
With as many players unavailable and a couple of cry offs, a much changed side travelled to Southwell for a 3PM KO.
Bilson failed a late fitness test and also had not brought any pit helmets back from Yorkshire (bearing on mind the late KO and high chance of darkness at the end).
Ballington returned after 8 weeks injured. Debuts for 4 Derby University players - Josh Cant, Dan Skeemer, George Roberts and Jack Ashall. Tom Brady with his first appearance of the season. New lad Timon White on the bench. Porter, Angelides and Laban up from the 3s to join regulars Bancroft, Webster, Brough, Ilott, Archer, Cookie, Hartman and Captain Foster. Tough job for Fossie this week getting a side out and the look of Joe Bancrofts face when he realised he was twice as old as everyone else but Fossie before KO was a picture.
The warm up was a get to know you.
Southwell had 21 players and Melbourne ended up playing up the hill in the first half.
Disjointed at first, and against a well organised Southwell side the first half was tough. The lineout was patchy, scrum solid and the Southwell line speed surprised Melbourne's backs. Southwell were penalised for a number of high tackles including one on the 6ft 5 Ilott!!, but Melbourne could not capitalise with the struggle in the lineout. Southwell scored first but Melbourne hit back immediately with a series of Trys and Ballington dotted down. 5-5. Southwell scored a couple more Trys from sloppy Melbourne play. In a rare foray up the hill and towards the intrepid photographers, a Southwell clearance was charged down by George Roberts who collected to score, with Fossie converting. 12-22 was the half time score.
The floodlights came on and Melbourne had the hill in the second half, winning 1t 30-3. Increasing the pace of the game just took it away from Southwell. Webby was a constant menace at 9 and also subjected to a series of high tackles which eventually saw a Southwell yellow card. Fossie clotted and early penalty before Bally scored his second, with Fossie converting. Joe Bancroft then took over with 2 typical ghosting runs from 10 to score 2 Trys. Fossie converting both, and adding a penalty. Changes were made for the last 10 with Fossie have a well earned rest. Bancroft slotted a penalty late on for a 42-25 win.
Big thanks to all that travelled up to Southwell.
Photos to follow