Wallace double and late kick earns Oakham away victory

Melton 27 Oakham 30 - action from Midlands Two East (North) match
Melton 27 Oakham 30 - action from Midlands Two East (North) match

Oakham did the double over local rivals Melton Mowbray on Saturday thanks to the steady nerve of fly half Mark Matthews who struck a kick in the 75th minute to win the match 30-27.

Oakham also beat Melton 18-7 at home in November.

The Oaks started the match playing against the wind and up the Melton slope, hoping their fitness would pay against a large home pack.

However, they got off to the worst possible start when they conceded a try in the second minute.

Melton captain Matt Brooks went over the line after a catch and drive lineout close to Oakham’s line had done the damage.

Oakham responded by using their backs to attack and Matthews set up centre Henry Conen who ran a straight line at pace for a well-taken try which was converted in the tricky wind.

Matthews then extended the lead with a well-struck penalty to make it 10-5.

Melton responded with a try from winger Marcus Badham but Oakham kicked into an extra gear.

After winning a penalty in the scrum, Oakham kicked for a lineout, which they drove over the line for Andrew Wallace to touch down.

Flanker Wallace scored his second of the game ten minutes later, capitalising on an overlap on the wing for another try. The conversion increased the lead to 22 – 10.

Oakham secured a bonus point for scoring four tries before half time when Tom Burton went over for a score designed on the training paddock.

Just before half time, Melton fly-half Chris Rose kicked a penalty to reduce the arrears to 13-27.

Oakham head coach Tom Armstrong said: “The first half was perhaps some of the best rugby we have played this season, playing to the structure that we wanted.

“We would normally have tried to play it wide because they have such a big pack but because of the conditions we had to take it on up front, and in the loose we played much better than them.

“Scoring a driving maul against them was really pleasing as well.

“The fourth try was the most pleasing because it is what we have been working on in training all week.”

However, after the break the Melton pack powered their side back into the tie.

Oakham were camped in their own 22 under severe pressure, before conceding a penalty try, converted by Rose to cut the lead to seven.

With Melton in full stride, Oakham went down to 14 men and the home side took advantage to score through their full back.

Rose’s conversion levelled the scores at 27-27 but his opposite number was to have the final say.

Melton were caught offside 30 metres from their own line and, with five minutes left on the clock, Matthews stepped up to slot the kick, judging the strong crosswind to perfection to claim the win.

The victory continues Oakham’s winning run of four games with Nottingham Casuals up next at home.