Spalding RFC skipper Hary Sharman’s warning that Town were in for a hard game at Melbourne came true despite their 21-14 win on Saturday.
A failure to pick up an extra bonus point means Spalding will be hard-pressed to catch leaders Belgrave in the last round of league matches in Midlands Two East (North) this weekend.
With a strong wind blowing down the pitch at Cockshut Lane, Spalding number eight Harry Brown broke from the base of a scrum just inside his team’s half and ran 40 metres before being stopped short of the try line.
There was more attacking intent from Brown when he linked up with full back Ed Booth to take play into Melbourne’s 22-metre area.
From the resulting lineout, scrum half Rob Lucas jinxed his way clear but was stopped about ten metres short of the try line.
Melbourne then scored from a penalty after Spalding were judged to have held on after a tackle and the home side were 3-0 up after 25 minutes.
Spalding did take the lead a few minutes later when Josh Finch won the ball at the back of a lineout, passed to Harry Brown who linked up with second row Tom Duerden and he touched down under the posts.
A conversion from James West gave Spalding a 7-3 lead before Melbourne brought the score within a point with another penalty before half-time.
In the second half, a break down the right wing for Spalding saw the ball come inside to Wes Cope who used his strength to outpace the Melbourne defence before cutting inside, only to be held up a metre short of the try line.
Town’s forwards then recycled the ball and it eventually found Ben Williams who went over in the corner to make it 14-6 after West converted again.
Melbourne scored another penalty after a Spalding scrum infringement but in the closing stages of the match, Duerden scored his second try of the game when Spalding chose to use a penalty to scrum five metres out.
After winning the ball, Lucas flicked it to Duerden wo used his strength to beat the Melbourne defence and score a try.
There was time for another Melbourne try that wasn’t converted, leaving Town to fix their thoughts on a trip to third-placed Ashbourne on Saturday.
Spalding RFC: Andy Hoyles (captain), Pete Waudby, Wes Cope, Alex Ioannou, Tom Duerden, Ben Williams, Josh Finch, Harry Brown, Rob Lucas, James West, Hamish Munro, George Brown, Richie Craig, Harry Harrison, Ed Booth, Matty Newman, Tim Waltham, Huw Sharman.