Melbourne 10 - 17 Camphill
Melbourne welcomed Camp Hill to Cockshut Lane. A battle of the bottom four with both sides looking for both the points and spoils. Following heavy rain overnight the Saturday conditions were damp with a crosswind running across the main pitch.
Team adjustments saw an entirely changed front row from the previous week with Coyne, Smith and Day taking the reins, with walker ruled out by injury. Stark returned to the row with Hall his partner and the backrow saw a positional switch with Watts moving to open side, Stephenson coming in onto the blind and a welcome start for new recruit Jack Percival at eight (pictured above). In the backline Andy Martin returned to wing with Stringer moved to inside centre to cover the injury to Charlie Livesey.
An immediate knock on following the kick-off saw a scrum awarded to Camp Hill on the 10m line with the green scrum under pressure. A little surprising given the excellent form this set-piece has shown over the opening stage of the season. A quick score in the first ten minutes saw the visitors take an early lead as a couple of mis-tackles allowed their forwards through the defensive line and under the sticks for a simple conversion. MRFC 0 - 7 CHRFC
In a game where the oppositions game plan was the massive boot of their stand-off, combined with the too familiar and common sound of the referee's whistle, there was an obvious impact on the quality of the match. Melbourne struggled to get a grip on the game and were a little flat and limp at times. The best opportunities of the first half came following breaks by Iliffe, who hit the outside 13 channel and Martin on the right flank. Both attacks resulted in the green&golds being only meters to the try line, but poor decision making or execution lost possession of the ball.
Melbourne attempted to build a score, choosing the option to kick for the posts where within range but the strong cross wind only allowed for a conversion factor one in three taking the score to MRFC 3 - 7 CHRFC.
Despite the lacklustre performance their were positives, with the ever present page at the heart of everything good, Holden controlling the game well and the immediate impact of new boy Jack Percival witnessed on a number of occasions with strong ball carries and hard hits.
As the second half got underway there were hopes for an immediate and quick resurgence by the green&golds and the territory and control was much improved but the impressive boot of Camp Hill's fly half always seemed to dig them out of trouble or buy them time and once again it was Camp Hill who took the first score of the second half and established a 3 -14 lead.
Once again a late surge from Melbourne came to the fore as they began to hunt for scores and points - but too little too late. Jack Percival finished off fine work as the greens surged forward through their backline and went the phases in the opposition 22 resulting in the powerful eight breaking two tackles and stretching out for the try line. 10 - 14
With time limited the last thing Melbourne wanted was to give away soft points - this is a matter of interpretation and opinion as ever - with the referee awarding the opposition some puzzling decisions that seemed to pre-date law changes, but you have to play to the whistle and this is a lesson which needs to quickly be learnt, as a central infringement allowed Camp Hill a three point haul taking the score to 10 - 17.
Melbourne continued to press and thought they had secured a second try when Percival once again touched down. Entering the ruck from the flank as the ball had been taken behind the try line, therefore removing the offside line. However, the decision to penalise for offside was awarded rather than the try.
With time running out Melbourne continued to press and key was possession but as had been the case all game focus was limited and the ball was coughed up too easily allowing Camp Hill to take the victory and four points home.
Head Coach Matt Derbyshire said "Today's performance was sub-par and the players are aware. We have to turn-up and deliver better than we did today. As always we can take some positives from the match and I thought Jack Percival and Oliver Page were both outstanding. We are obviously depleted of players and that list is growing but that is in part due to the difference in the demands of the game at a higher standard. We are however showing strength in depth and each game is experience for these players that should aid their development and growth as we go forward"