Half-term school holidays and illness left Melton RFC U16s with only 15 fit players to face a strong Syston side with a full compliment and five subs at their disposal.
The game started at a frantic pace with both sides putting in some crunching tackles, but the visitors struck the first blow after a well-worked passage of play from their pack.
Melton replied instantly as Thompson’s converted try got their noses in front. Two missed tackles let Syston in for their second converted try, but equally poor tackling from Syston allowed Thompson to run in his second try, converted by Heaney.
Melton finished the half strongly with Sommerville pouncing on a charged down clearance kick for Melton’s third try of the game to go in at half-time 19-12 up.
The home side started the second half against the wind with the backs managing to make some steady progress up the pitch.
Excellent handling skills from Beesley, Heaney, Golland, Owens, Garnett and Jakes spread the play from one side of the park to the other, creating space for Smith to evade a tackle and score under the posts.
Syston used their bench to great effect with fresh legs making all the difference to run in two quick converted tries to level the score.
Despite some valiant work at the breakdown from Morgan, Green, Johnson, Blythe and Boylan, Syston’s pack worked their way towards Melton’s line before stealing the game 31-24 with a last-gasp converted try.
Melton showed plenty of heart, and with a full squad are more than a match for their local rivals, having beaten them convincingly away earlier in the season.
Melton: J. Sommerville, D. Morgan, I. Thompson, J. Blythe, C. Boylan, B. Johnson, J. Garnett, T. Green, J. Beesley, H. Heaney, W. Garnett, A. Smith, T. Golland, O. Jakes, J. Owens.