FAIRFORD got the New Year off to a perfect start with powerful bonus-point win against Melksham.

Dorset & wilts Div Two North

Fairford 38

Melksham 5

Any pre-match nerves were settled early on with the Fairford tight five gaining a noticeable advantage and stifling Melksham possession. When Melksham did have the ball, they often chose to kick it away rather than running at the organised home defence.

Fairford were ahead within five minutes. Good carries from Tom Lovett and Neil Bee brought Fairford close to the line. Excellent support allowed Fairford to keep the ball for several phases and once within sight of the whitewash, hooker and man-of-the-match Simon Waite drove over.

Despite a clear foothold on the game, Fairford then allowed Melksham to get back in the contest. when the opposition winger chased down a kick to score.

Fairford's scrum had started to make a noticeable impression on Melksham and this brought them their second try. Driving from five metres out, No.8 Chris Tanner was left to beat the last defender and score his first try of the afternoon.

From then on the home side rarely looked back. Field position was well controlled by fly half Tom Robinson, who made several darting runs despite being on the end of some tough tackles.

Fairford were able to make yards at will and when skipper Rich Lewis received the ball five metres out, he made light of the struggling Melksham defenders to give his side a 17-5 half-time lead.

Fairford were relentless after the break, emptying the bench to compound Melksham's misery and they were soon able to secure the bonus-point try.

With options left and right, scrum half Colin Bullock went for the direct approach, popping the ball left to prop Ben Hunt who crashed through several defenders before scoring.

Fairford continued to hammer the opposition up front allowing Tanner to cap a fine display by adding a try which was almost identical to his earlier effort.

The final try of the afternoon was one of the best of the season with centre Paul Allen and Bullock combining on the right with some sublime handling skills.

Allen then dummied the full back to splash down Fairford's sixth try of the day.