Midlands 3 East (North)
Belper 1st XV 7pts
Melbourne 1st XV 27pts
BELPER RFC first XV welcomed old foes Melbourne to Strutts for the first time at home since they pipped Belper to promotion in 2008 and it was the same old story of despair with the visitors beating a determined but clumsy home side performance.
Belper had gone behind to an early penalty but competed for the first half hour with tireless work from the evergreen Andy York and Merv Holmes competing at rucks and mauls and chasing down their opposite numbers time and time again.
It was, however, a slick moves in the backs opening up the Belper centre’s and the visiting centre scoring a well-taken try giving the visitors an 8-0 lead with minutes of the half left.
Good forward play keeping the ball tight working upfield from the kick-off saw the ball driven deep into the Melbourne 22. The ball was popped back in from Jones at ten back to the onrunning Leon Griffiths who stepped two defenders to dash towards the try line, and seemingly no doubt it would be a score when he suddenly tumbled forwards, tripping, looking like he would not make the line. He did however, comkpose himself and stagger over to score under the posts and it was 7-8 as Simon Oliver-Jones scored the conversion.
Half-time came and went and it was the home side who set the tempo with Thomas Cross being scuppered on two occasions just shy of the line and Charles Watson being held up.
Belper suffered from failing to capitalise on their chances and were punished when the defence in the backs missed tackles allowing three similar opportunist but well-taken tries which put the game out of Belper’s reach.
Near the end, Thomas Cross went close again but failed to hold the pass with just the try line to beat.
Belper seconds went down to a 26-12 defeat against Ashfield Swans
Belper seconds battled hard but missed tackles and concentration lapses led to a flattering scoreline for the visitors.
Tries from the slick centere partnership of Tom Stones and Craig Tennick kept the visitors on their toes but two brilliant team tries were not enough to put the visitors to the sword.