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Stratford 2nds 36
Shipston Vets 24
Shipston vets welcomed back a number of old faces for this local derby encounter, where the home side appeared to have an age advantage of about 20 yrs per man. Rob Fox, Brian Smith, John Devine and Pete Organ were making their first starts of the season while both Jon Cowper and Gareth Eastgate were returning to Shipston colours after many seasons out of the game. Neither side was able to dominate in the first quarter as the 'experience' of the visitors was a match for the youth and speed of the young home side. Stratford finally broke the deadlock but then Shipston replied immediately from the restart. Spider Gasson, on for the resting Cowper, claimed the kick and he was supported by Smith then Spencer into the 22. Quick recycling gave no8 Pete Gardner an excellent try near the posts. Stratford no8 Eddie Walton was harshly yellow carded for dangerous play at a lineout. The old Rams took advantage of the numerical advantage when Carl Hamilton scored near the posts from a neat Shipston lineout. Mick Pyne converted both tries for a 14-5 lead.
Stratford edged ahead in the second half when the speed and agility of youth overcame the grit and determination of the visitors. Two tries for Stratford countered by a Pyne penalty kept the game balanced but then two more tries in quick succession threatened to take Stratford out of reach. Brian Hobill got one back for Shipston and then Gardner had a try disallowed that would have levelled the scores. However the home side put the result beyond doubt with virtually the last play of the game.