Cricklade fail to earn the points at struggling Melksham
10:45am Monday 18th February 2013 in Sport
Dorset & Wilts Div 2 North.
Melksham II 17 Cricklade 12.
TITLE challengers Cricklade have lost impetus in recent weeks, but they threatened to run out clear winners at third-from-bottom Melksham until letting the home side score a try under the posts from near their own line with only minutes left on the clock.
Cricklade had started poorly and while the defence held off the Melksham attacks, they could do nothing about a well-taken drop goal.
The Cricklade scrum was working well, but they were slow to support their ball carriers and lost far too much possession at the breakdowns.
There was some very good individual play and Cricklade's attempts to keep the ball alive made for good viewing, although a shade too risky against the home side's mobile pack. The visitors did get a try before half-time when their new left wing took on and beat the full back in a speed test.
Following a roasting from the coaches at the interval, Cricklade started the second half with intent, but continuing slow support led to another turnover which Melksham quickly capitalised upon thanks to a two-man overlap. The try under the posts also led to an easy conversion.
Cricklade belatedly started to ruck far better than previously and recycle more quickly, as their fluent rugby of the early-season games returned.
But due to a Melksham injury the referee decided the scrums should go uncontested, which in view of Cricklade's dominance in this area robbed them of a vital tool.
However, from one of these scrums a move developed that saw most of the Cricklade team handle the ball without flaw before skipper Danny Harris grabbed the glory when he forced his way over the line. Danny Lloyd, returning from a knee ligament injury, slotted it over for the other points.
Having found their old rhythm, Cricklade continued to attack – until disaster struck.
They were once again in the home side's 15 when the referee blew for a penalty.
While a bemused Cricklade asked why, Melksham took a quick tap and the runner covered three-quarters of the pitch, sidestepped the last defender and strolled in under the posts.
From the restart Cricklade, swarmed forward, mauling their way to Melksham's line, but the home side's defence remained steadfast.