Market Rasen and Louth RUFC Second XV were edged out after making the long trip to Melbourne for their top-of-the-table Notts Pennant Merit League clash.
Once in South Derbyshire, the Red and Greens were greeted by a narrow pitch with a storm-force wind blowing down the length of it, with all of the scoring likely to be at one end.
Rasen had first use of the wind and, after kicking off towards the Melbourne clubhouse, quickly imposed themselves on their opposition.
Within five minutes, Ben Young forced his way over in the left-hand corner, and from the touchline kicked a superb conversion to put Rasen 7-0 up.
The visitors made a mess of the restart, but managed to regain possession and attack Melbourne strongly.
Within three minutes, Young’s mazy run saw him score his second try which he converted to give Rasen a 14-0 lead.
Melbourne responded and, ignoring the climatic conditions, started to pressure Rasen who had possibly lost concentration.
The home prop-forward burrowed over for an unconverted try, leaving the score 14-5.
Rasen applied themselves to the task in hand, and about five minutes later, Bradley Berrisford’s strong run was thwarted just short of the Melbourne goal line.
And after several attempts, big Jim Wooliams crashed over from close range.
The try was again converted by Young to push Rasen’s advantage out to 21-5.
Melbourne then spent the next 15 minutes enjoying a degree of equality and demonstrated an impressive pick-and-drive game, needing good defensive duties.
But Rasen were awarded a penalty which was kicked into touch on the left of Melbourne’s 22.
From the resulting lineout, Rasen set up a superb forward drive and powered over the line for Fred Norton to score an unconverted try.
This piece of action should have demonstrated to them how to play into the wind in the second half.
They were clearly stronger than Melbourne in the maul, while Melbourne wanted to play a looser rucking game, controlled by their outside-half who was their best player.
The visitors started the second half brightly and dominated with plenty of direct, strong running.
This needed to be backed up with ensuring they retained possession, while allowing their big forwards to control the ball.
With the windy conditions, as soon as Melbourne acquired possession, one kick would undo all of Rasen’s good work and put them on the defensive.
Against the run of play, a Melbourne prop scored a converted try to start the fightback.
Melbourne then dominated the next 10 minutes, and from a lineout in the Rasen 22, the ball was moved to the Melbourne backs and their centre was allowed a straight run through the defence for a converted try.
Rasen then received a yellow card for one of their centres, and from the resulting five-metre scrum, the dangerous Melbourne outside-half scored in the left-hand corner and converted his own try.
From the restart Melbourne recycled the ball and released their left winger who ran 50 metres to score what proved the winning converted try.
Rasen were left frustrated and aggrieved as they had dominated territory and possession and created had many second-half chances to add to their score.
However, Melbourne tackled very well, especially in the second half and Rasen failed to use their maul dominance to deny and wear down Melbourne who are not one of the league’s leading sides by accident and are a very capable outfit.
Rasen can take some consolation to come away with three league points, only one less than their opponents.
Rasen: T. Howard, F. Norton, B. Curtis, R. Woolliams, A. Roberts, N. Harvey, T. Scoffin, D. Starling, W. Fenwick, M. Starling, B. Berrisford, J. Mclaughlin, B. Young, H. Wallis, B. Stirling, W. Looker, A. Treadgold, C. Dufton, M. Berger.