Shipston Vets 19
Barkers Butts 3s 20
Shipston Vets came agonisingly close to knocking Barkers off the top of Warwickshire league 4 on saturday at Mayo Rd. Shipston were by far the better of the two sides in the first half and led 14-7 at the break. The first try came from an excellent catch and drive at a Shipston lineout just inside the Barkers' 22. Hooker Fox found Spencer with a pinpoint throw and the pack drove on to the line with Duncan Mills claiming the touch down. With two tries in the last two games that amazingly doubles Mills' career try count. John Devine converted. The visitors equalised when a break down just inside the Shipston half was won by Barkers and quick hands saw the centre race away to score under the posts. Another lineout in the Barkers' 22 saw Fox and Spencer combine again. This time the backs were given the ball and flyhalf Carl Hamilton drew the defence to allow inside centre Dave Graham a virtual unopposed stroll over the line. Devine once again added the extras. Fox had to be replaced and Shipston's main attacking platform at the lineout was reduced to rubbish.
Barkers reduced the deficit early in the second half with a penalty. The visitors took the lead 17-14 with a second try but the home side hit straight back when Lee Williams went over in the corner, Devine falling just short with the all important extras. With the penalty count rising the Vets were in danger of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and so it proved. Shipston were penalised around their own 10m line and the visiting centre coolly slotted over to retake the lead. Shipston were unable to gain significant ground in the last 5 minutes and Barkers hung on for the win and top spot in the league.