BRADFORD head coach Dave George saluted the “bit of genius’’ from Melksham fly-half Simon Foster that condemned his side to a first defeat in nine league matches.
Foster’s last-gasp drop goal knocked the home side off the top of the table as Melksham returned to action for the first time in more than a month with victory.
George admitted complacency from the home side had played its part in Melksham taking a 10-0 lead at half time, but he had few complaints about Foster’s winning moment.
“The drop goal into the wind was quite outstanding and he took it superbly well because you wouldn’t have put money on him in that wind,’’ said George.
“The lads were a bit upset afterwards but Melksham are a dogged side and they tackled really well. I felt we could have gone a bit wider at times but it’s always a good derby against them.’’ “It was a very close contest and it shows how close this division is.
“I can see the top four or five changing every week up until the end of the season.’’
With high winds at their backs and on a saturated pitch Melksham made the most of the wind advantage, kicking for territory and putting the early pressure on Bradford.
Attacking in their 22, Foster floated a mis-pass to Dave Dyke out on the wing who ran in the first unconverted try against the stretched defence.
The game settled into a series of attacks from both teams, with Bradford’s Dan Bright missing a penalty.
The visitors maintained their first-half advantage, and kicking to the corners resulting in a drive towards the Bradford line.
From the back of the ensuing ruck, scrum-half Callum Hurn drove over to score the second try for a 10-0 half-time lead.
Bradford got themselves back into it in the second period as number eigh Ed Dawson drove over from the base of a scrum and Bright landed the conversion.
Bradford pounded away time and again but were thwarted by the robust Melksham defence, although Bright tied the scores with a successful penalty.
With time running out, though, Melksham drove into Bradford territory and scrum-half Hurn fired the ball out to Foster to land a superb drop goal in the dying seconds.
Melksham captain Callum Hurn said; “I was very proud of the team performance and how well we played after a four-week lay-off.
“The forwards put in a huge amount of work at the rucks and mauls in tough conditions.
“A strong Bradford side came back at us in the second half; we defended well and took the game with a well-executed drop goal by Simon.
“Taking into account the weather conditions, it was a great team effort and an enjoyable game.’’
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