Witney 4ths 7
Shipston Vets 34
Shipston Vets finally got their season underway with a trip to Witney and should probably have come away with a more emphatic victory. The Old Rams ranks contained four former club captains and welcomed back Duncan Mills and Jeremy Mountford after a couple of seasons in the wilderness. The Shipston forwards had the upper hand form the start with no.8 Pete Gardner prominent. A series of forward drives and good support play allowed the ball to be sent down the back line and winger Lee Williams rounded his man to score in the corner. A strong run by Gardner into the Witney 22, managing to offload to Carl Hamilton in the tackle, who in turn set up skipper Richard Spencer to touch down near the posts. Brian Hobill converted. Hobill, showing a remarkable sidestep, added Shipston's third try soon after for a 17-0 interval lead.
Shipston had the luxury of making three half time changes, the very late Mike Watkins replacing stand in loose head Mills who was able to move to his preferred position in the back row. Scrum half Mountford put in a speculative chip when nothing seemed on only for Williams to race up and clutch the ball out of the air and force his way over for his second try. Witney finally got on the score sheet when Shipston attempted to take a free kick in their own 22 only for it to be charged down with the Witney centre winning the race to the touch down. The Shipston pack were beginning to take control in the scrums allowing hooker Martin Goodman to claim a number of scrums against the head. Sterling defensive work in midfield from Hamilton, Tom Jervis and Chris Ransome never allowed Witney to penetrate. Goodman unselfishly put Spencer in for his second try after a sustained period of pressure on the Witney line. From a Shipston line out on the Witney 5m, Hobill barged his way over for his second and Shipston's sixth and final try.