Midlands League 3
Kesteven welcomed league leaders Melbourne knowing that victory would crown a great season with the league title. The home team were full of confidence but knew that only their very best form would do.
It turned out to be an intense match with the attacks stifled by two very strong defences.
Melbourne kicked off and were soon dominating territory and possession. Despite this, they were not able to create many scoring chances.
The visitors missed their first penalty after 10 minutes but were successful with their second attempt five minutes later.
Kesteven were finding it difficult to break away. Turner was lively as always but did not find space easy to come by. Goodrich and Hudson both ran hard but the tackling was good.
Ks did get a toehold in the Melbourne 22 after 23 minutes and Chris Galloway was successful with the kick to tie the scores.
Kesteven did not deal with the restart and Melbourne stole the ball. From a maul on the home 22, the visiting scrum half came away with the ball and ran in for the try. The conversion attempt grazed the post before slipping over to open up a 10-3 lead.
Melbourne then had a spell of pressure before the break and were rewarded with a second penalty to go into half time ith a 13-3 lead.
The second half started with Kesteven having the benefit of the slight breeze and intent on overturning the 10 point deficit, but they found it impossible to break down a stubborn defence.
Melbourne were adept at preventing the home team getting any decent possession, and their tackling was fierce.
Turner and Goodrich were prominent with strong runs but Melbourne were clearly aware of the danger.
Kesteven freshened the team up with Scott Odams, Graham Smith and Will Cann all getting time to play their part.
The visitors pressured again and forced Ks into some defending, with both Jamie Flear and Danny Turner sent to the sin bin in quick succession.
Despite being reduced to 13 men, Kesteven redoubled their efforts and not only kept their line intact, but created chances themselves. In the end however, the match closed out rather tamely with Melbourne celebrating as worthy champions.
Despite the defeat, Kesteven can be proud of their efforts in achieving promotion for the first time. Captain Phil Jordan led the side with determination throughout the season, and not least in this match when he suffered a facial injury in the first half but was able to return to the field to lend his strength to the cause.
Kesteven: Galloway, P. Jordan, Hudson, Goodrich, Taylor, Parker, Wood, Sheardown, Hayward, Purvis, Pert, Cowley, Flear, Woolerton, Turner. Reps: Odams, G. Smith, Cann.