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Shipston Start Season Stylish
Saturday 11th September 2010
Shipston on Stour 32 - 5 Kings Norton
An excellent summer of conditioning and a close fought victory over some strong pre season opposition meant  Shipston ran out on to the Mayo Road turf brimming with confidence and eager for their first league match of the 2010/11 season against a much changed Kings Norton side.  In the end the home side ran in four tries in a comfortable 32-5 victory although the stop start game didn’t allow the Rams to provide the rugby spectacle they had hoped for. Choosing to play down the slope and into a gusty cross wind, the virtually full strength Rams were unexpectedly slow to take control of the game.  Shipstons first league points of the season came after 10 minutes from a Toby Jones penalty kicked from in front of the posts.  The penalty came after Shipston attacked from a line out, rucking the ball in the centre of the park before the Kings Norton 7 was sin binned for indiscriminate use of the boot at the break down. Shipston were given an excellent attacking platform straight after as the restart hit straight in to touch.  The scrummage in the centre of the park allowed the backs to have a run at the defence testing for weaknesses with the battering ram centre partnership of Wootton and Corby continuing their form from last season.  Soon after the visitors defence was broken as Wootton swept aside his opposite number on route to the line to score under the posts. The Kings Norton pack again infringed to give Jones a second kickable penalty which he duly converted, one of 5 successful kicks from his 6 attempts which shows that the hours of kicking practice have paid off. Shipston then gave away a series of penalties of their own for infringements around the ruck and maul area.  This gifted the visitors possession and territory as they used the wind to clear their lines.  Any ball Kings did get was quickly closed down by an alert defence with flankers Jervis and Payne and winger Davies particularly effective.  Following a ruck on the Shipston twenty two, prop Savage was left in agony on the ground after a wayward finger gauged his eye in an unsavoury moment of the match.  He was able to continue after treatment, struggling through the pain.  Shortly before half time Shipston spread the ball wide to new winger James Dargan who looked set to score after a 30 metre dash towards the line, but an excellent tackle by the visiting full back stopped him 10 metres short of the line dumping him into touch.  Ben Hopwood rose highest at the resulting line out to steal the ball and give the Rams excellent attacking possession. With Wootton used as a dummy runner, fly half Rance popped a simple pass to Tom Corby who had switched inside and ran an unstoppable, direct line at pace to score under the posts. The second half followed a similar vein to the first with far more scrums and line outs than either side wanted which hampered Shipstons style of play.  Ten minutes into the half the Kings number 7 was unluckily shown a second yellow and sent from the pitch after the visitors had repeatedly slowed the ball at the break down.  This effectively killed off any chance of a comeback from Kings Norton.Fly half Rance used the extra space created by the dismissal to pull off Shipstons best move of the game as he used Wooton as a link man before looping round and feeding outside centre Tom Corby through a gap in the defence.  Corby sprinted the 40 metres up the slope, handing off a covering defender, before tumbling off balance and touching down with a one handed stretch for the line.Kings Norton scored a well worked conciliatory try which tarnished the home sides score sheet as they used their rolling maul to good effect, repeatedly driving the Rams back, before crashing over. Fly half Rance rounded off the scoring as he exploited a gap in the tiring defence with a change of pace to stride over the line.  This gave Shipston a bonus point victory which will be vital in the latter stages of the season under the league’s new points system. Whilst it wasn’t the game the Rams had wanted to play it was the required victory in the season opener and stands them in good stead.  Shipston will seek to build on their success with more players returning to the side as they travel to league new comers Newbold-on-Avon next Saturday.
The Team
1-Rich Savage 2- Andy Hunt3- Tom Beeley - Ash Bonner 5- Ben Hopwood 6 - Sam Payne 7- Mark Jervis 8- Aaron Neale 9- Toby Jones 10- Tom Rance 11- Will  Davies 12- Tom Corby 13- James Wooton 14- James Dargan 15 - James Sale 16 - Tricky Wilson 17-  Graham Eastgate


Honours even at Newbold
Saturday 18th September 2010
Newbold on Avon 21 - 21 Shipston on Stour
Shipston travelled to league newcomers Newbold on Stour, where they were well tested and came away with a hard earned draw, coming back from two tries down. Newbold started the brighter of the two sides beginning with real tempo in front of their boisterous president’s day crowd.  They were soon on the score sheet through their fly half who chipped the defensive line and collected the ball before touching down.  Shipston remained on the back foot for the first 15 minutes struggling to get meaningful possession and going backwards at the scrum.   The rams conceded another try soon after as the home side made the most of their strong start.Shipston eventually came to life and began getting their hands on the ball and moving it around the park although the scrum remained a problem area.  Fly half Rance made a promising break as he exploited a gap, but was dragged down with no one in close support.  More cracks began to appear in the Newbold line and Shipston were able to begin playing their own game.  Newbold were soon penalised in a kickable position for slowing the ball at a ruck and Toby Jones duly slotted the penalty.  Once off the mark Shipston began to shine gaining territory with the boot and rolling maul.  As Newbold were forced into defence their discipline began to slip and penalties started going Shipstons way with the Newbold  7 eventually being shown a yellow card.  A penalty kicked to touch 5 metres from the Newbold line gave the pack opportunity to make their mark on the game.  With Matt Corby providing consistent line out ball and the jumpers functioning well, the pack created a driving maul with young gun loose head prop, Graham Eastgate carrying the ball over the line for his first try for the club.Shipston were on the score sheet again and in the lead before the break, this time through the more conventional channel of centre Tom Corby who blitzed through the defence from 15 metres out and slid under the posts.  Jones added the two points this time to send Shipston into half time with a two point lead.Shipston started the second half at a good pace as they took control of the game.  With the scrum becoming more solid, the back row posse of Jervis, Payne and new signing Dave Askew were able to get around the park even more, all three working tirelessly rucking, mauling and running in support.  Two further infringements by the home side at the ruck reduced them  to 13 men as the referee went to his cards.  Shipston immediately punished them with Toby Jones adding to his kicking tally with two well struck penalties.  A well taken catch by Ben Hopwood at the restart got the Rams back line moving again and allowed Wootton to make inroads as he charged up the pitch. A scrambled defence denied him a scoring chance, but he was able to offload to winger Dargan who had run in support.  A try looked certain, but the final pass went to floor and in to touch stifling a promising move With their sin binned players retuning and some fresh legs Newbold were renewed and the game opened up once again.  This time it was Shipston who were guilty of infringement and twice in quick succession the referee went to his pocket first sin binning Askew and then Hunt who had replaced Mark Jervis.  Two kicked penalties from Newbolds fly half brought the scores even at 21 all. Despite a strong finish by Shipston the deadlock remained to the final whistle and the points were shared.  The strong fight back after going two tries down was a positive from a game which the Rams may feel they should have won.  Next week is a break in league action as Shipston take on Moseley Oak in a cup game.
The Team
1- Graham Eastgate 2- Matt Corby 3- Tom Beeley 4- Ash Bonner 5- Ben Hopwood 6 - Sam Payne 7- Mark Jervis 8- Dave Askew9- Toby Jones 10- Tom Rance 11- Mike Simpson 12- James Wooton 13- Tom Corby 14- James Dargan 15 - Will Davies 16 - John New 17-  Andy Hunt 18 - Liam Roberts


Shipston Shine in Sun
Saturday 2nd October, 2010
Shipston 18 - 17 Old Leamingtonians
On a blustery but fine day at Mayo Road two stalwarts of the Midlands’ game clashed for the 134th time in all competitions. Both teams started with conservative play much like two heavyweight boxers sizing each other up in the early rounds.But it was Shipston who struck first with an unconverted try as James Wood winning his début cap for the Rams ran a line as straight and hard as a linesman’s flag and crashed over the line.Shipston never managed to extend their lead to a comfortable distance as Old Lems scored twice with a strong forwards’ try followed a fast break away.Half time gave both teams a chance to regroup with the match balanced on a knife edge, but with the sun and wind to their backs it was Shipston who started the second half the strongest with several bullocking forward drives up the touchline stemming from Ben ‘birthday boy’ Hopwood’s and Ashley Bonner’s lineout dominance. The tidal wave of pressure final broke a spirited Old Lems defence as Shipston scored twice one from John New and one coming from the fresh faced hooker Matt Corby who crossed the line with ridiculous pace. This sparked Old Lems to rally as they scored two tries in quick succession to produce a very tense finally, however it was Shipston who fashioned 5 minutes of sterness to hold out for the win.
The Team
1- Rich Savage2- Matt Corby3- Aaron Neele4- Ash Bonner5- Ben Hopwood6 - Sam Payne7- Mark Jervis8- John New9- Toby Jones10- Tom Rance11- Liam Roberts12- Dave Askew13- James Woods14- Will Davies15 - James Sale16 - Graham Eastgate17-  Andy Hunt18 - Dan Willis


Shipston Narrowly Defeated at Old Yards
Saturday 9th October 2010
Old Yardleians 24 - 20 Shipston on Stour
 After last season’s fractious cup match between the two sides, Shipston travelled to Old Yardleians with a depleted side, expecting a stern test.  After leading and dominating much of the match the Rams saw their lead eroded and were eventually beaten for the first time this season 24 points to 20.  Shipston started brightly with number eight New making inroads into the defence and allowing the Rams to spend much of the opening 10 minutes camped in the home sides 22.  Gradually Old Yards began to get some composure after the early tests and began to clear their lines.  Shipston kept up the pressure with Aaron Porkington and January Sale running back any lose ball.  Shipston also benefitted from some excellent work by flanker Andy Hunt and second row Ben Hopwood getting their  hands on the ball at the ruck.It was Sale who eventually smashed  the deadlock as he returned a scrappy clearance with an up and under.  Chasing his own kick, he hounded the opposition wing who faltered, spilling the ball and allowing Sale to capitalise.  Sale then showed his pace as he raced to the line narrowly beating the covering defence.
Yardleians came back after the restart, but were unable to get on the score sheet despite a penalty in front of the posts as their fly half struggled to find his form.  Yardleians continued indiscipline allowed the Rams to clear their lines and release the pressure on the defence.  Shipston then scored a  second long range try before half time, this time fly half Rance reading the opposition move like an open book before using his severe pace to cover half the length of the pitch to touch down chased all the way by defenders as solid core of travelling support cheered him on.Shipston continued to apply pressure in the second half as they now kicked off into the prevailing wind.  Toby Jones added a further 6 points with his finely calibrated right boot and Shipston seemed to be heading for victory.  With the change of ends, however , came a change to the Yardleians fly halves form as he used the wind and slight slope to kick deep over the Shipston defence, rolling the ball into touch 5 metres out.  This gave Yards a platform to attack which they had previously lacked and despite stalwart defence from Shipston they were able to drive the ball over from the line out to score.  Two further carbon copy tries were scored and converted giving the home side a single point advantage.  A well struck penalty allowed them to consolidate their  narrow lead.Shipston came back strongly in the last 15 minutes with Yards offering nothing further.  Newcomer James “Woody” Woods was particularly impressive at outside centre as he scythed through the defence on numerous occasions, fed by Sam Payne showing his class as he played out of position.  With the clock as their enemy, Shipston put the home side under intensive pressure in the final 10 minutes continually pressing from 5 metres out. As the defence gave away penalty after penalty the referee eventually went to his cards binning a player after numerous offences in the red zone.  With the last play of the game Ash Bonner stole an opposition line out giving Shipston one last chance of attack.  The ball was spread wide with quick hands creating space, but the referee controversially adjudged the final pass to have been forward and called an end to proceedings leaving Shipston with the sour taste of defeat although a single bonus point softened the blow.The Rams will want to return to winning ways as they take on Brackley in the Senior Vase at Mayo Road on Saturday. Kick off at 14:30.
The Team
1- Rich Savage2- Matt Corby3- Tom Beeley4- Ash Bonner5- Ben Hopwood6 - Andy Hunt7- Mark Jervis8- John New9- Toby Jones10- Tom Rance11- Aaron Porkington12- Sam Payne13- James Woods14- Dan Willis15 - January Sale16 - Graham Eastgate


Shipston Frustrated by Redditch
Saturday 23rd October 2010
Shipston on Stour  12 - 20 Redditch
For the second league game in succession Shipston squandered a lead to come away second best, this time losing to Redditch at home 20 points to 12 despite the return of several key players from injury.Shipston started with their usual gusto, flying out of the blocks and quickly establishing themselves in the opposition 22.  Early scrums and line outs provided plenty of ball for the backs who poured on the pressure.  Wootton returning to the fold after a four week absence looked to have lost none of his attacking brawn, battering through at inside centre before linking up with Woods for the first time in this new centre pairing.  A certain try was prevented as a last ditch tackle dislodged the ball from Woods grasp.  Further attacks were also thwarted before a penalty allowed Redditch to ease the pressure with a kick to touch.Redditch’s first attack of the game showed the potential danger as their speedy centres looked to cut free.  Excellent tracking back from Tom Corby, playing on the wing as he recuperates from a broken hand, prevented a try.  Shipston then unleashed their own speedster Scott Currie making his debut in the number 14 shirt.  Receiving the ball on the half way line he rounded his opposite number and came close to scoring what would have been a superb debut try on his birthday, but dragged down agonisingly short of the line he managed to off load to No.8 Dave Askew who had covered the ground in support and was rewarded with a try in the corner.This looked like a solid platform from which the Shipston would kick on, but an icy deluge mid way through the half put paid to Shipston flair and sent the crowd scurrying for the warmth of the bar.  With the ball now slippery as a wet fish and the pitch deteriorating under foot Shipstons attacking edge was lost as the ball began to spill out of the tackle.  Redditch capitalised and used their pace man at 13 to good effect as he ran a strong line to score and bring the sides even. As the half time whistle blew Shipston still looked the better of the two sides, but their dominance had begun to ebb.  The Rams quickly enforced themselves on the second half as Wood broke after some fluid backs play as he committed the full back one on one he was able to give a simple inside pass to Askew again running in support who completed the move touching down under the posts for his second try for the club.  Toby Jones slotted the conversion to consolidate the lead.  From here Shipstons performance slipped and Redditch came back into the game stronger again scoring a converted try through their outside centre before ading a penalty.  Shipston then lost both their second row.  First Ben Hopwood to injury before Ash Bonner was sent off for indiscipline.  Redditch made the most of the extra man scoring from another well executed backs move to give the an 8 point lead.  Despite being a man down Shipston showed good grit and fought hard to try and get back into the game, finishing the stronger of the two teams.  Tom Corby, as usual, made good ground going forward as he worked hard to get himself on the ball, but despite coming close the Rams were unable to get on the score sheet again failing to salvage even a bonus point.Having twice squandered good leads Shipston will need to improve and show their true potential if they are to begin moving back up the table.  Shipston take on Woodrush in their next league encounter at Mayo Road on 30th October.
The Team
1- Rich Savage2- Matt Corby3- Aaron Porkington4- Ash Bonner5- Ben Hopwood6 - Sam Payne7- Andy Hunt8- Dave Askew9- Toby Jones10- Tom Rance11- Scott Currie12- James Wooton
13- James Woods14- Tom Corby15 - January Sale16 - Graham Eastgate17 - Mark Jerivs18 - Tom Beeley


Spirited Shipston Smiling Again...
Saturday 30th October 2010
Shipston on Stour  36 - 22 Woodrush
Shipston laid to rest the nightmare results of the past two weeks with a fine league victory beating Woodrush at Mayo Road in near perfect playing conditions.  Shipston came from behind to win a well fought and entertaining game of running rugby 36 - 22 taking maximum points from the fixture.The game started badly for Shipston as they conceded two early tries following a Toby Jones kicked penalty and with the score at 12-3 it looked like it was going to be a horror show for the crowd who had turned out on Halloween weekend.  Shipston lost out in the contact area in the early stages, allowing Woodrush far too much time with the ball.  This allowed them to pick the defence apart and score two tries using the overlap they created.  The Rams didn’t let their heads drop, however, instead turning the game around by defending on the front foot and competing harder at the break down.  This had the desired effect as the pressure forced mistakes from the visitors and ensured plenty of good ball.  A line out on the 5 metre following a Tom Rance clearance provided the platform for the start of the comeback.  With hooker Matt Corby putting the ball into the line with metronomic consistency, his team England counterpart Dave Askew was able to take good, clean, set piece ball, athletically out jumping the opposition and ensuring this area of the game didn’t suffer from the loss of Ash Bonner who was watching from the sideline. The pack then set up an unstoppable rolling maul to shepherd stand in Captain Savage over the line for a trademark score.Following this show of strength upfront the Rams were rejuvenated and immediately struck twice more, this time branching out through James Woods, successfully switching his direct running style to a new position on the wing.  His first try came from a passage of fluid Shipston play as the ball was sent left then quickly right to give Woods a dash to the line touching the ball down as he was felled in the corner.  The second came as Woods splintered the defence as he ran onto the ball at pace after Wootton and Corby, teamed up at centre once again, had surged through the midfield before feeding the lofty winger.After the change of ends Shipston continued to run everything at Woodrush, testing them in all areas of the park and playing some bewitching rugby. During the interval Raoul Jervis, sporting a fine example of charity facial hair, replaced Payne at flanker and Aaron Porkington came on for Eastgate at prop after some superb work by both players in the loose. Porkington made an immediate impact as his surprising pace allowed him to scythe through the defence before crashing into the Woodrush full back.  Quick ball from Toby Jones found second row Beeley whose deft handling committed two defenders and set Jones through the gaping hole created.  Scott Currie was the ultimate beneficiary as he was given an easy run in from 30 metres out to score his first try for the club under the posts. The next fine phase of play saw Wood almost get his third, however he was cruelly stopped short and forced to pass to blood replacement Hunt on for injured second row Hopwood, the pass was not to be as the ref called it forwards and a scrum was set.The Rams then wobbled slightly with Woodrush scoring under the posts after a loose ball, following another rapid and jinxing break by scrum half Jones, was fly hacked through by the visiting centre.  Monstrous rush defence by Wootton and the back row provided the stabilising bed rock and possession. Shipstons discipline also faltered and gifted the visitors a further 3 points while an injury to Matt Corby saw him replaced by Hunt at hooker.  The crowd need not have worried, however, as the Rams upped the tempo for the last ten minutes to close out the game with a fifth try to claim the bonus point victory.  Splendid work at the line out by the returning Hopwood,  then provided good ball for fly half Rance to step his way through the defence, commit the last defender before offloading to the ever present Askew who unselfishly handed the ball to Hopwood over the line finishing the move he had started on the half way line.  Jones added the two points with his fifth conversion from 6 attempts.This sealed an excellent team performance from Shipston who now lie third in the table and gave Savage his first win as stand in captain.  A busy weekend of cup action scheduled next week means that the Rams return to league action away at Southam on November 13th.
The Team
1- Rich Savage2- Matt Corby3- Graham Eastgate4- Tom Beeley5- Ben Hopwood6 - Sam Payne7- Dave Askew8- John New9- Toby Jones10- Tom Rance11- Scott Currie12- James Wooton13- Tom Corby14- James Woods15 - January Sale16 - Andy Hunt17 - Raoul Jerivs18 - Aaron Porkington


Scratch Shipston Out of Cup...
Saturday 7th November 2010
Bedford Swifts 20 - 15 Shipston on Stour
More details to come
The Team
1-  Wobbles2- Graham Eastgate3-  Tom Beeley4- Spenny5- Ben Hopwood6 - Rich Savage 7- Sam Payne8- John New9- Toby Jones10- Tom Rance11- Scott Currie12- Matt Corby13- James Woods14- Aaron Porkington15 - January Sale


Shipston Struggle...
Saturday 13th November 2010
Southam 15 - 3 Shipston on Stour
 Shipston travelled to local rivals Southam and slipped to a 15-3 defeat as their woeful away form continued.Shipston started strongly despite missing several key players and spent the opening 10 minutes camped in the Southam half.  Solid defence from the home side kept the Rams at bay before giving away a kickable penalty which Jones put uncharacteristically wide.Despite having the majority of possession and territory Shipston were unable to get on the score board as they ran short of options looking to score from the first phase.  Much of this can be credited to the spirited defence of the home side which was strong throughout the game.Southam responded to the pressure well clearing their lines and attacking when they had the ball.  This eventually payed off with a score in the corner as they spread the ball wide out flanking the Shipston defence to take the lead. Shipstons best period of play came at the end of the first half when they put in 1 minutes of concerted attacking play going through a number of phases.  Again the defence held firm this time giving away a kicked penalty just before the change of ends.The second half continued in a similar vein with Shipston dominating the possession, but giving away penalties and Southam capitalising on any loose ball or possession.  The homesides 2nd try came as The ball was fired out of the back of the Shipston scrum, bypassing no.8 and scrumhalf before being fly hacked through by the Southam 9.  This was collected by the centres who rounded the full back to score under the posts.  Shipston again put in some good effort carrying and protecting the ball towards the end of the game, but it was too little too late and they were unable to cross the line.  In the dying minutes prop Graham Eastgate was forced off with a disocated shoulder to add to the Shipston woes and cap a bad day for teh club.Shipston will need to lift their spirits and performance as the take on unbeaten league leaders Upton on Severn  on 20th November.


Presidents day Performance at Shipston
Saturday 20th November 2010
Shipston on Stour 10 - 13 Upton on Severn
Shipston put in a gritty performance, showing off their true potential against so far unbeaten league leaders Upton on Severn and were unlucky to lose after leading for much of the eighty minutes. The match, which looked like a throwback to the seventies with players on both sides sporting some interesting charity facial hair, provided a real spectacle to entertain the vice presidents day crowd.  In the end the Rams were beaten with the score 10 – 13 at the final whistle. Shipston really stepped up a gear following last weeks disappointment with players 1 -15 putting in excellent performances. None more so than man of the match Aaron Porkington playing at tight head prop who was a rock at scrum time, ran hard with ball in hand and impressed defensively winning some key turnovers. Shipston looked fired up from the outset as they chased down the opposition and ran the ball back hard, playing high tempo rugby.  The crowd soon got behind them spurring them on at scrum time as the front row of Savage, Corby and Porkington put Upton under significant pressure driving their big pack backwards on their own ball.  This gave No.8 New and the back line more time and space in which to operate and resulted in some brilliant offloads from the big back rower to scrum half.  Able to take the ball going forward Rance, Wootton and Tom Corby made the defence work as they ran at their opposite numbers looping off one another’s shoulders. New dad Andy Hunt, with his week old son George in the crowd for the first time, put in a stalwart performance tackling anything that moved, supporting the ball carriers  and causing a nuisance for the opposition at ruck time.  With Upton struggling to keep up with the pace of the game Porkington made a brilliant turn over just in front of the crowd after Will Davies had chased down his opposite man.  Kicking to touch 5 metres from the visitors line the resulting line out was taken cleanly and mauled forward, but quickly disrupted by Upton.  As the ball was scrambled back Porkington made further impact on the game, crashing through 3 defenders, but was held just short.  Shipston didn’t panic and instead went wide through fly half and centres allowing winger Woods to dive over left of the posts to the delight of the crowd.
Shipston went into half time with a 7-3 lead and were looking much the stronger of the two teams with Upton doing well to remain in the game.  After the change of ends the tempo of the game dropped which was unsurprising given the efforts that had been put in throughout the first half.  This suited Upton better and meant that the Rams got pegged back a little.  The visitors were still unable to crack the Shipston defence instead relying on their kicker to bring them back into contention.  The Rams then broke out of their half with another excellent move, this time Rance putting a clever chip over the oncoming defensive line. Corby, Rance and Wootton then poured forward with Corby collecting the ball as it bounced up, charging down field.  Unable to find the support runners he set the ball back well allowing the forwards to go through further phases.  The move was eventually halted as the Upton winger infringed giving Jones a difficult opportunity to kick at goal from a wide position, which he duly slotted.Upton then pulled off a move of their own which saw their pacey outside centre break for the line with only full back Sale to beat.  Sale was initially rounded by the pace man, but recovered well putting in a splendid tap tackle and preventing the try.  Shipston scrambled back in defence and held Upton off before winning a scrum on their 5 metre line, unfortunately Rance’s clearance kick was charged down resulting in a further scrum.  Upton then played a well worked move which saw their no.8 peeling and tying up two defenders before offloading to scrum half who in turn went wide to the winger as the Rams pushed hard in defence.  The converted score put Upton into the lead for the first time with 15 minutes to go.  The visitors then worked calmly to close out the game.  Shipston kept their motivation to the final whistle and put in some patient build up play as they worked themselves up the pitch from their own 22.  The Rams finished the game going through a number of phases looking for the break or penalty which would give them back the lead, but sadly this never came.
Shipston will be disappointed to have come away with a solitary bonus point after such a spirited, well rounded performance, but can be hugely proud of their efforts and will hopefully take this form on to the remainder of the season.


Rams ease past Evesham after Thaw
Saturday 11th December 2010
Shipston on Stour 34 - 15 Evesham
After a 3 week break due to the frosty conditions of early December Shipston returned to action with a convincing win against Evesham.  After starting slowly and going behind Shipston eventually ran out winners with a 34 – 15 bonus point victory over their local opposition, pileing on the points in the last 10 minutes.The lack of training and game time due to the recent icy conditions showed through in the form of general rustiness and a lack of team cohesion in the early stages.  After some good opening play Shipston were turned over on the half way line and allowed the Evesham winger to kick through and fall on the ball under the posts giving the visitors an early 7 point advantage.  A similar move 5 minutes later nearly resulted in a second score before Shipston were up to speed, but the ball was scrambled to touch neutralising the danger.  This was a temporary respite, however, as Evesham worked the ball from the resulting lineout well to create an overlap and score out wide beating the Rams defence far too easily.  Eventually Shipston began got into the game, rediscovering some of their past form and getting passes to hand.  Some excellent work in the backs took the home side up to the twenty two where the Rams patiently kept hold of the ball, recycling it through several phases as forwards and backs rumbled forward in turn.  After several attacks the Evesham defence was stretched and a long pass to the wing and simple offload allowed Richard Wilson, returning from rugby duties with Oxford University, a try in the corner.From this point onwards Shipston played with renewed confidence, happy to hold on to the ball as they found their rhythm.  The scrum which had been initially out of sync began to function as a unit giving a more stable platform for the backs to work off.  Forwards also started to get involved outside of the set piece with more ball carrying including Aaron Porkington having another strong game while flanker Sam Payne won plenty of loose ball and carried well. This allowed fly half Rance and the Corby brothers, partnered at centre, to begin bossing the game whilst wingers Wilson and Davies were at their elusive best with ball in hand.  Matt Corby was particularly effective, skittleing the defence and leaving a trail of broken defenders in his wake as he powered forward.  This opened up space for his younger brother to exploit and feed the wingers who both made the score sheet.  After the change of ends and with the renewed impetus provided by the Mayo Road slope, Shipston were able to begin opening up a significant lead.  Matt Corby scoring twice as he barrelled his was through crowds of defenders.  The try which ended the match as an effective competition was scored by Will Davies finishing an excellent Shipston attack as the ball was recycled several times by the pack before being fed down the line with offloads out of the tackle.  Such was the Shipston dominance that they continued to attack despite being a player down after Jervis was sin binned having been unluckily trapped at the bottom of a ruck.  A temporary wobble followed as Evesham strung a few phases together, but the defence held firm.  With less than 10 minutes to play Shipston closed out the game in style as Rance scored, spotting a gap in the defence and diving under the posts after an Andy Hunt charge down which had provided an excellent attacking position. James Sale added the coup de gras straight from the restart,capitalising on a break from Richard Wilson who did all the hard work, running tight to the touch line to beat defenders before chipping the full back.  The resulting 3 man foot race to the ball was won by Sale beating his team mate by diving on the ball over the try line.  Toby Jones rounded off the scoring with a fine conversion from way out wide regaining his composure having missed from an earlier chance in front of the posts.  Shipston are away to more local rivals next weekend travelling to Harbury before the Christmas break and will want to build on this performance as they get back to training, weather permitting.
1 - Sav2 - Andy Hunt3 - Aaron Porkington4 - Ben Hopwood5 - Tom Beeley6 - Mark Jervis7 - Sam Payne8 - Ash Bonner9 - Toby Jones10 - Tom Rance11 - Tricky Wilson12 - Matt Corby13 - Tom Corby14 - Will Davis15 - James Sale16 - Scott Currie


Shipston Secure Last Second Success
Sunday 2nd January 2011
Shipston on Stour 22 - 18 Earlsdon
After a 5 week break due to snow and festivities, Shipston started the New Year with a Warwickshire cup game against Earlsdon who travelled to the thawed out Mayo Road. In a tightly fought game Shipston left it till the last few seconds to secure the win with a spectacular final flourish having dominated the opening 20 minutes.Shipston were quickly into their stride and despite the 5 week break from matches and training due to the cold spell, seemed to have lost none of their fluidity and reading of the game. Early pressure from the kick off saw the Rams surge up to the visitors 22 as Matt Corby crashed up at inside centre before combining with his younger brother, Tom, who injected his usual pace and direct running to burst open the defensive line for the first time. With one man left to beat Corby passed out to Sale who was unable to keep hold of the try scoring pass, perhaps showing some sign of rustiness from such a long mid season lay off. The early dominance of this centre partnership was a sign of things to come as Earlsdon struggled to keep them in check all game. A second scoring opportunity was foiled soon after as Rich Wilson combined well with flanker Askew down the left wing, some excellent cover tackling by the Earlsdon fullback put man and ball into touch just short of the line. The deadlock was eventually broken with a long range Shipston try from inside their own 10 metre line. Sale pounced on some slow ruck ball turning over the visitors scrum half and released the pacey Dave Askew charging down the right wing. He was eventually dragged down offloading to his back row colleague Mark Jervis who covered a further 20 metres before being downed. Jervis had the skill and foresight to pop the ball off his chest as he hit the ground finding Toby Jones who added a final burst of pace to round the full back and touchdown out wide. A second try was added soon after as steady build up play fed Wilson on the wing who stepped round his opposite number before out pacing the full back to score in the left corner. In fact Shipston could have been 20 points clear in the first half had it not been for errors in the final 10 metres and perhaps some over confidence. Instead opportunities were missed and too much possession kicked backed to the visitors. With increased possession Earlsdon began putting together some scoring chances of their own converting 3 of these as they attacked up the slope, exploiting some slow defence which was perhaps struggling from a Christmas hangover. Shipston did come close to adding further scores as no.8 New and prop Jack Coupland made some bullocking runs, but going into half time the Rams found themselves 5 points behind in a game which they should have virtually wrapped up by the break.The second half became somewhat a war of attrition between the two sides with a huge number of scrums due to unforced errors and only 3 points scored until the 74 minute. Replacement prop Beeley made some early ground running at the opposition backline and Dargan coming on to the right wing showed some promise as he exploited the small amount of ball that he got. With 7 minutes remaining Shipston kicked to touch from a penalty and Ash Bonner took the resulting line out instigating a rolling maul which pounded up to the 5 metre line. This was broken down, but gave an excellent platform and a solid home scrum from the front row of Neal, Hunt and replacement Beeley meant the ball could be spread wide to Wilson. The final pass was behind him, but he tracked back before skirting the defender and touching down in the corner. As the clock ticked down it looked as though Shipston were going to lose by an agonising 3 points, but the Rams were not ready to give up and felt they had something left in the tank. From a penalty within their own half and a minute left on the clock the Rams ran the ball through the backs and up the left wing. Quickly recycled ball from out of the tackle passes and changing the direction of play allowed Matt Corby to give a perfect long pass to Rance who had waited on the left. He in turn fed Dargan who beat the first man and looked to be heading for touch as he was tackled by a second Earlsdon player. He somehow kept the ball in play and got it away to Rance who had run in support. Rance then beat the prop who had tracked back and just had the pace to make it to the try line touching down in the corner with one hand to send the crowd into a New Year frenzy. Wilson, taking over the kicking duties, calmly slotted the difficult conversion to put the icing on the 22-18 victory.Shipston are back to league action at Mayo Road next week with a potentially difficult visit from Newbold on Avon which will require a more determined effort from the team.
The Team
1 - Aaron Porkington2 - Andy Hunt3 - Jack Coupland4 - Ben Hopwood5 - Ash Bonner6 - Mark Jervis7 - Dave Askew8 - Jon New9 - Toby Jones10 - Tom Rance11 - Tricky Wilson12 - Matt Corby
13 - Tom Corby14 - Will Davis15 - James Sale16 - Tom Beeley17 - Sam Payne18 - James Dargan


Shipston Masters of Suspense
Sunday 8th January 2011
Shipston on Stour 20 - 17 Newbold on Avon
Shipston left it late for the second week running in another exhilarating match at Mayo Road. Having been behind for all but the last 10 minutes of the game against 2nd placed Newbold on Avon, with whom they had battled out a draw earlier in the season, the Rams snatched the glory with the final kick of the game winning 20 points to 17.  This was a hard fought match played in excellent spirit between two evenly matched sides, but it was the Rams playing to the final whistle which made the difference in the match.This superb 15 man display was even more impressive considering the changes to the back line after last week’s match winner, fly half Tom Rance, was forced out through illness.  As a result the Corby brother centre partnership was split with Matt Corby taking the reins at outside half.  His marshalling of the backs and distribution of the ball through hand and boot were masterful until 70 minutes, when he was replaced through injury, showcasing his talent as a back.It was left to birthday boy James Sale moving from fullback to the vacated centre position to act as the lynchpin between the Corby brothers, which he did with considerable aplomb.  In his best performance of the season so far, he was constantly in the face of the opposition and under every high ball as well as providing the perfect ying to Tom Corby’s yang with their contrasting size and styles.As occurred in their previous encounter, Newbold began the stronger of the two teams and were on the score board within 10 minutes - an ominous sign.  The well worked try came from quick line out ball and a direct run from the centre, fully exploiting an opening as the new look back line bedded down.  They soon added a further 3 points from a penalty before Shipston found their feet. Richard Wilson gave the Rams superb field position with a penalty kicked to touch, taking the Rams up to the opposition 22 from well within their own half.   This gave the base for the forwards to do their bit, firstly securing the line out through Hopwood, then rumbling forward and providing quick ball which was fired out wide and finished from 20 metres by Wilson back on his wing.Newbold responded with a further try to give themselves a 14 - 7 half time lead, but it was Shipston who had played the strongest rugby.  Perhaps performance of the day, however, was from No.8 Jon New who was a pillar of strength in defence and sublime when the Rams were on the attack.  His opposite number, a powerful ball carrier, was virtually neutralised by New and his back row colleague Payne.  But the highlight from New came in the build up to Shipstons second try shortly after the half time restart. Second row Beeley set up some quick ruck ball in the centre of the park which was then spun wide finding New in the back line.  He took on and committed the defence before delivering a sumptuous offload out of the back of his hand to give Tom Corby all the opportunity he needed to touch down to the right of the posts.Shipston then built on this momentum as they gained parity at the set piece against the big scrumaging visitors.  The front row of Savage, Hunt and Neale held their own at scrum time as well as providing mobility as they popped up all over the park like an additional back row.Despite getting the upper hand in the game a few penalty decisions went against the home side.  Fortunately the visiting goal kicker was having an off day converting only one from three attempts.  Wilson then added a penalty for the Rams from the middle of the park to even the scores and set up a grandstand finish for the second week running.  It was at this point that Corby exited and was replaced at 10 by Will Davies who provided the level head and experience required to close out the game.With 2 minutes to go a penalty kick to touch gave Shipston a lineout 40 metres from the try line.  Recognising their own line out had been struggling all day the Rams re jigged their calls allowing Ash Bonner to get in front of his opposite man and win a vital ball. The subsequent catch and drive caught Newbold out and allowed the Rams vital meterage before the backs were released taking the ball into the centre of the park.   Finding himself isolated with the ball Neale then drove forward taking on the defence which was penalised for illegally slowing the ball.  The resulting kickable opportunity was by no means simple and knowing this was the last move of the match the pressure was on Wilson to convert the opportunity.  He duly stroked over the kick with confidence to round off the game with a perfect kicking record and a personal points tally of 15 to seal the victory.The Rams travel to local rivals Old Leamingtonians next week to continue their strong start to 2011 and consolidate their 3rd place in the league.
The team
1 - Sav2 - Andy Hunt3 - Aaron Porkington4 - Ben Hopwood5 - Tom Beeley6 - Sam Payne7 - Ash Bonner8 - Jon New9 - Toby Jones10 - Matt Corby11 - Tricky Wilson12 - James Sale13 - Tom Corby14 - James Dargan15 - Will Davies16 - Scott Currie17 - Graham Eastgate


Shipston Sale to victory on a Windy Day
Saturday 15th January 2011
Old Leamingtonians 13 - 20 Shipston on Stour
Shipston travelled to The Crofts, home of Old Leamingtonians RFC, on a windy, but dry day looking to record their first away victory of the season and consolidate third place in the league.  At the final whistle both goals had been achieved through a gritty 13 - 20 win, which although the Rams were never behind in, never felt fully secured.The playing surface was in excellent condition despite the recent weather, but it was clear that the strong end to end wind was going to be an important factor in the game, providing a considerable advantage when kicking.  Shipston choose to take this advantage in the first half - a wise move given the change in conditions later in the match – and needed to make early progress on the score board to capitalise.
Some early ground was made as the home side began with a series of infringements allowing Shipston to kick to touch and secure a foot hold in the opposition twenty two.  Despite dominating in the line out through Ben Hopwood and being on the front foot in the scrum all afternoon as Savage, Hunt and Neale put in some sterling work up front, the Rams were unable to convert these early chances.  This was down to some solid OL’s defence and, perhaps, the pressure of needing first half points, but too often Shipstons final passes went to ground or ruck ball was lost.  The deadlock was finally broken by New, having another all action performance, as Hopwood disrupted an OL’s lineout on their 5 metre line.  Quick as a flash New pounced on the loose ball over the line as the home side struggled to control it, giving the Rams the lead.  Jones slotted the conversion in the blustery conditions.Leamingtonians responded quickly, recovering their restart with some wind assistance, before turning over a lineout of their own and punishing the Rams for some sloppy first up defence.  Despite a brief recovery by the defence, OL’s were able to finish the move with a try in the corner, missing the conversion into the wind.  Jones missed a chance to increase the point’s margin with a long range penalty, before Matt Corby was held up over the line after creating a scoring opportunity meaning Shipston went into half time with the slenderest of leads and facing a struggle into the wind.Having largely squandered their time with the wind at their backs, it was imperative for Shipston to come out of the blocks fast in the second half and that is exactly what they did.  A scrum following the lofted restart gave Shipston good possession attacking up the left wing as Jones, Sale and Currie combined.   The ball was then taken through a number of phases with flankers Payne and Bonner doing excellent work clearing quick ball, before OL’s found themselves offside in front of the posts giving 3 points to the Rams via a Jones penalty.  An almost copybook restart allowed the Rams to take further possession. This time the ball was sent wide, finding Will Davies on the wing. Davies showed neat footwork and excellent finishing to find the gap and score from 15 yards out through a crowd of opposition.
The highlight of the game came soon after as OL’s made use of the strong following wind to kick deep into Shipston territory causing the Rams to chase back.  As OL’s got their hands on the return ball centre Matt Corby grabbed a turn over releasing fullback Sale on the Rams own 10 metre line.  With the wind in his face, Sale had the stride to race the 50 metres to the try line, scoring in the corner, before releasing a primeval roar marking his return to form in another high class performance from him.This was the end of the Rams scoring as they battened down the hatches for the final ten minutes with 14 men as first Hunt and then New were sin binned for handling in the ruck.  Leamingtonians might consider themselves fortunate not to have seen yellow cards also as there discipline slipped as they chased the game.  Despite the best efforts of Tom Corby dumping a number of opposition in some shuddering defence, the home side mustered a second try and played to the final whistle which saw them within 10 metres of the Shipston line and trailing by 7 points.This first away victory continues an unbeaten start to 2011 for Shipston who next week face Old Yardleians at Mayo Road.
The Team
1 - Sav2 - Andy Hunt3 - Aaron Porkington4 - Ben Hopwood5 - Tom Beeley6 - Sam Payne7 - Ash Bonner8 - Jon New9 - Toby Jones10 - Tom Rance11 - Scott Currie12 - Matt Corby13 - Tom Corby
14 - Will Davies15 - James Sale16 - Jack Coupland17 - Graham Eastgate


Shipston a Yard Short of Winning...
Saturday 22nd January 2011
Shipston on Stour 12 - 12 Old Yardleians
Shipstons run of winning form came to an end on Saturday as they drew 12-12 with a mediocre performance against mid table Old Yardleians at Mayo Road.After a late inspection the referee decided the ground on the first pitch, although thawing, was still too frozen to be playable.  This forced a change of pitches to the shorter, narrower 3rd team pitch which, with more grass and shelter, was in a more preferable state.  The smaller pitch dimensions , unfortunately, played into the hands of the visitors who had brought a big, heavy pack determined to roll the ball around the park and ruined the Shipston game plan which was to use the pace of the slick backs in the line up.At the outset it looked as though the smaller pitch would not be the hindrance Shipston had expected as Wilson quickly broke free of the defence.  Having covered half the pitch he found support on his inside from James Sale who finished the run in under the posts which Wilson then converted. A second try soon followed after a cross field kick was recovered and carried up to the opposition 10 metre line by flanker and captain Ash Bonner finding himself on the wing.  The ball was quickly rucked and sent down the backs to the left wing where Wilson, this time, finished himself.  From here it looked as though Shipston were in for an easy ride as Corby at outside centre and Wilson combined up the left wing, only to be thwarted by an excellent cover tackle by the full back.Yardleians, to their credit, held on to the coat tales of the game for the majority of the first half, clearing their lines as the short pitch enabled virtual end to end kicking.  Their powerful pack played their part at scrum time, winning turn over and walking the Shipston pack back on occasion – a rare sight this season with the formidable front row of Savage, Hunt and Neale. Just before half time Shipston endured 5 minutes of intensive pressure in their own 5 metre line as the visitors won penalties and reset scrums.  Shipstons dogged defence eventually gave out as a visiting prop crashed over from a ruck so despite playing all the rugby the Rams went into half time with just a 5 point lead.Coming out in the second half it soon became clear that Sale had picked up an ankle injury and was unable to continue.  With only forwards on the bench a reshuffle was required which saw big Jack Coupland coming on at prop and Neale replacing flanker Payne who moved to the wing.  This change up front immediately bolstered the scrum as Coupland inflicted himself upon his opposite number and stopped the sliding scrum.  Shipston continued to dominate the open play with Davies solidly catching and running back every ball the visitors kicked clear.  Dargan made a number of inroads up the wing, but was each time thwarted by last ditch defence or a lack of support.  Eventually Yardleians got back into their game plan and rumbled up the pitch again.  Shipston once more found themselves entrenched in their own 5 metres.  This time the defence held strong and was cleared after hooker, Andy Hunt, made an ankle high tackle on their big, ball carrying captain, scything him down on a charge to the line.  As he fell the ball was dislodged and cleared to touch by Jones.  It wasn’t long before Yards were knocking at the score board again.  This time it was down to the scrum to hold firm as they dug in on repeated occasions before the ball could be cleared.  Sadly it was 3rd time lucky for Yards as they continued to pressurise, eventually forcing their way over with the ball, although at a higher level the decision may have been referred to the 4th official.  For the remaining 10 minutes of the game the result hung in the balance as firstly Yards attacked then Shipston missed a penalty before Wilson, eyeing the goal posts from the half way line of the short pitch, hit a drop goal which fell agonisingly short and would have sealed the game.  But it was not to be this time as the result finished with honours even. The Rams will need to take the heart from this weeks  defensive display as they travel to Redditch next week who, on equal points, lie a single place above Shipston in the league.
The Team
1 - Sav2 - Andy Hunt3 - Aaron Porkington4 - Ben Hopwood5 - Tom Beeley6 - Sam Payne7 - Ash Bonner8 - Jon New9 - Toby Jones10 - Tom Rance11 - Tricky Wilsom12 - James Sale13 - Tom Corby14 - James Dargan15 - Will Davies16 - Jack Coupland17 - Graham Eastgate


Shipston Blow it on a Blustery Day
Saturday 5th February 2011
Woodrush 35 – 25 – Shipston on Stour
It was a tale of what could have been as Shipston turned the first and last quarter dominance into a bad loss. On a windy day Shipston travelled to Woodrush and started well, with the kick off whistle still echoing around the park winger James Woods found a small gap in the Woodrush defence who had rushed up leaving a dog leg gap for the nimble feet to step into. Now in space Woods quickly covered the ground before feeding fullback James Sale who finally feed the opposite winger Will Davies who strolled over to touch down in the corner. Scrumhalf Toby Jones stepped up for the kick but it was never to be as even with the wind assistance the blustery conditions caused the kick to go wide.  Woodrush looked shell shocked and it soon looked like it was going to be Shipstons day as a penalty kick from the boot of Flyhalf Tom Rance found the 5 metre line and a good attacking lineout resulted. Hooker Matt Corby fed the salmon like leap of Openside Ash Bonner who set the driving maul. Woodrush throw men at the breach in a vain attempt to stop the drive but to no avail as the powerful Shipston forwards drove to the line and the ball was grounded by Loosehead Rich Savage at the tail of the well setup platform.Some stern words were obviously had in the Woodrush camp as with no more than 15 minutes on the clock and they were looking down the barrel of a loss! The Woodrush guys obviously listened well to there captain and the manic support from the reserves bench as they soon set up a good attack resulting in a converted try. The Score was standing at 7 to 10 but Shipston still looked strong as blindside Sam Payne won a loose ball which was recycled quickly by number 8 Jon New. With the marriage of the centres Tom Corby and James Wooton working well again the ball went quickly through the phases until it ended up with flyhalf Rance who found a gap to touch down under the posts. The score was a healthy 7 to 17 to the visitors when the whole thing blew up. It started with a well worked Woodrush try 12 points to 17 and then the discipline started to go. A penalty took it to 15 and another to 18. Then  a Woodrush penalty saw their second row get sin binned and Shipston extend there own lead to 18 to 20 before the discipline finally failed and fullback Sale found himself in the bin. Woodrush converted the mistake into points and the half closed with Shipston under pressure and down for the first time at 21 to 20. The second half seemed to all go wrong for the Shipston attack…kicking against the wind did not seem to work yet the same moves kept being made and despite a reshuffle that saw Mark Jervis, on for the injured Matt Corby, did sterling work preventing the Woodrush backs getting the ball but he couldn’t be everywhere and Woodrush soon scored a converted try to stretch there lead to 28 – 20. Shipston still attacked with one particular phase seeing the ball go through the hands perfectly until second row Ben Hopwood just couldn’t stretch for the catch and knocked the ball on. The resultant scrum saw a disputed feed from the Woodrush scrumhalf and soon they were back in possession. The Shipston attack just would not work and although the defence was strong it couldn’t hold out forever and leaked too much. Fine if for a team that is consistently scoring but with the points drought effecting Shipston the Woodrush side were able to stretch the lead to 35 to 20 and things were looking desperate. The last 15 minutes saw concerted attack from the substitute Graham Eastgate pounding hard up the pitch as his weary frame fought for the ball. Again it turned to nought as the final crucial pass was judged forwards, this did not matter as the clearance kick was short and Shipston soon attacked again until new boy Rich Bryan on the wing for Davies found himself clear through and scored on his debut. The final whistle went to bring it to an end, the score standing at 35 to 25. Shipston will need to work on the top two inches of their attack this week at training to ensure they don’t make the same mistakes at next weeks rearranged fixture away to bottom of the league Coventry Welsh.
The Team
1 – Richard Savage2 – Matt Corby3 – Aaron Neal4 – Tom Beeley5 –  Ben Hopwood6 – Sam Payne7 – Ash Bonner8 – Jon New9 – Toby Jones10 – Tom Rance11 – Will Davies12 – James Wooton
13 - Tom Corby14 – James Woods15 – James Sale16 – Mark Jervis17 – Graham Eastgate18 – Rich Bryan


Rams in control at Cov Welsh.
Saturday 12th February 2011
Coventry Welsh 5 – 29 Shipston on Stour
Shipston came away with a 5 point bonus point win in a one sided match at bottom of the league Coventry Welsh.  The bonus point was secured in the final play of the game after the Rams had made hard work of crossing the line in the second half to win 29 points to 5. With a reshuffled team which saw Matt Corby multi tasking playing at centre, but putting the ball into the line out with his usual quality - the Rams started brightly attacking down a slight slope and winning an early penalty on the 10 metre line.  Toby Jones punished this early indiscretion with a finely struck kick to take an early 3 point lead.Shipston were straight back on the front foot from the restart as their superior backs carved through the Welsh exiles at will with Rance frequently beating his man and offloading to Tom Corby who made good ground whenever he got the ball.  Corby’s dynamic runs were well supported by the back three of Sale, Davies and Rich Bryan, making his first team full debut,  who used the space down the flanks to break with pace.  To their credit the home sides defence never gave up and halted some surging Shipston attacks to show that this was not going to be a walk over.  Shipstons first try came after a 45 metre attack was held up on the 5 metre line.  Some quick ball from the ruck was fed wide to Matt Corby at inside centre who sauntered over under the posts with Jones adding the extras.This marked the start of some free running play from Shipston in which they were rarely outside of the attacking 22.  The restarts were taken well by Ash Bonner with support from Graham Eastgate who put in a solid 80 minute front row performance belying his many years.  With plenty of possession the forwards recognised the dominance of the backs over their opposite numbers and got the ball wide whenever possible.  Solid line out work by Spencer and Bonner ensured that when Welsh did clear their lines Shipston quickly regained possession and a solid platform.  After a line out on the 5 metre line and several phases the ball was again sent wide this time finding No. 8 New who finished the move.  Tom Corby added a third in the corner before the end of the half with Jones kicking well to add the extra points giving the Rams a 24 - 0 half time lead.Playing up the slight slope i Shipston took their foot off the pedal for much of the second half allowing Welsh to play the game in Shipstons territory.  Although the game never threatened to run away from the Rams it did mean that they had to work harder than would have been necessary. Flankers Payne and Jervis put in some excellent defensive work to stop any would be Coventry attacks as well as battling hard for loose ball at the ruck often winning or slowing the ball.  Welsh did cross the Shipston line once with a try out wide after a lack lustre chase on a clearance kick allowed their winger to run through the broken defensive line.This was the kick start Shipston needed and for the last 15 minutes the Rams pulled their finger out and went back on the attack.  James Wood, who had picked up an injury in the warm up, had recovered enough to come on to the wing with Andy Hunt who had played through a knee injury coming off.  Sale moved to centre and Matt Corby moved back home into the pack at hooker.   The pack continued to dominate the line out and started to maul the ball whenever they got possession dragging in opposition numbers.  They also bolstered the scrum which had been an area in which the home side had been competitive.  Again the backs began to open up the game with Will Davies being tackled into touch just short of the line as the Welsh defence continued to battle hard with their backs to the wall.  With the final play of the game up stepped Tom Corby who ran an inside line back towards the lineout, crashing and dancing his way through several defenders to reach the line and secure the bonus point victory.In the end Shipston had made hard work of the game, but done just enough to secure the required result.  Next week Shipston host Southam at Mayo Road.
The Team
1 – Graham Eastgate2 – Andy Hunt3 – Tom Beeley4 - Ash Bonner5 –  Richard Spencer6 – Sam Payne7 – Mark Jervis8 – Jon New9 – Toby Jones10 – Tom Rance11 – Will Davies12 – Matt Corby
13 - Tom Corby14 – James Sale15 – Rich Bryan16 – James Woods


Southam Stopped at a Soggy Shipston
Saturday 19th February 2011
Shipston 17 - 9 Southam
After raining most of the night it looked as if Shipstons match against local rival Southam would be called off. Fortunately Shipston men are made of sterner stuff and so team manager Gez Rance and waterboy Robbie Faulkner amongst others were able to drain the standing water enough for the game to be on. The Rams would have a chance to gain revenge after their earlier away defeat to the Dinosaurs. The game started well with Shipston attacking down the slope against the strong Southam defence. It was obvious that the Southam men wouldn’t crack and it was a good 15minutes into the game before a crash ball from the centre brothers of Matt and Tom Corby found its way into the hands of the ever dangerous winger James Woods. Woods cut through the oppositions defence before feeding back to the younger of the brothers, Tom who simply placed the ball between the posts. The ever dependable Toby Jones stepped up to slot the conversion between the posts.Southam were strong and refused to buckle and came back at the Shippo boys through a series of strong attacks based on there big number 12 but they just couldn’t break through the hard tackles of hooker Andy Hunt and lock Richard Spencer who cut down any probe of the Shipston defence. A strong scrum by the prop pair of Richard Savage and Aaron Neal saw the ball feed out to the dashing flyhalf Tom Rance. A man always ready to find and exploit a hole, he saw a little crack appear in the defence and with cruel precision darted through to bring the scores up to 12 to nil although Jones wasn’t able to hit his goal this time. Southam were next up as a moment’s indiscretion by the home side saw the Southam kicker slot a penalty to change the score to 12 to 3 and the game was heating up. A well won turnover by openside Sam Payne saw possession turn back to Shipston and after moving the ball quickly it fell to fullback James Sale to spread across the park to the other winger Richard Bryan. Bryan making a dash for the corner stumbled on the side step and crossed the line upside and backwards, but with true cat like poise he was able to turn himself in mid air and ground the ball to give Shipston their second. Out wide the kick was much more difficult and Jones wasn’t able to add to his tally the score stood at 17 to 3 and things looked good for Shipston as the half came to and end.The second half saw a turn of fortunes, as the Dinosaurs repeatedly attacked hard and strong up the pitch only to be brought down by the Shipston defence. The Shipston men kept on the pressure but could also just not find the gap. Highlights were the massive powerful run by number 8 John New who cruelly was bundled into touch before any gap could open. A stray hand on the floor saw a penalty go against Shipston and Southam had a chance to clear there lines. This then seemed to be the mood of the game as Shipston repeated frustrated themselves with penalties and watched as their lead eroded with two Southam penalties to bring the score up to 17 to 9. Things reached a head at a lineout where captain Ash Bonner brought down the Southam jumper and his maul collapsed just before it formed. A stray Southam hand caught blindside Mark Jervis unaware, breaking his nose and forcing his replacement. Jervis may have gone off but retribution was soon dished out in the form of Graham Eastgate who came on and quickly made a surprisingly athletic and good looking run up the centre but was brought down before it could turn into anything. The ball was swiftly recycled but the defence was to strong and the points were tantalisingly out of reach.Shipstons then made a tactical substitution by taking off Richard Bryan and replacing him on the wing by another brother, Charlie Jones. Making his debut for the Rams the younger Jones soon showed his value with some lightening fast dashes that would have caught many other sides out flat footed. Southam were not to be surprised though and Charlie didn’t get the score he richly deserved, definitely one for the loyal Shipston fans to watch in the future. As the final whistle went the Shipston boys were rightly proud of their performance, Southam never looked like they were going to give up and it made it an exciting game for the spectators. Next week Shipston travel to Harbury to play a rearranged fixture and hope to bring the same quality to that match.
The Team
1- Richard Savage2- Andy Hunt3- Aaron Neal4- Ash Bonner5- Richard Spencer6- Mark Jervis7- Sam Payne8- John New9- Toby Jones10- Tom Rance11- James Woods12- Tom Corby13- Matt Coby14- Rich Bryan15- James Sale16- Graham Eastgate17- Charlie Jones18- Will Davies


Muddied Rams Win Local Showdown.
Saturday 26th February 201
Harbury 5 - 29 Shipston on Stour
Shipston cruised to a 5-29 bonus point victory away at local opposition Harbury to consolidate third place in the league on a sodden pitch with gusty winds.After a disjointed warm up as last minute decisions were made over whether the match could go ahead on the puddle strewn pitch, Shipston started brightly.  Number 8 Jon New made a clean take receiving the kick off and immediately went on the attack with one of his trademark surges, batting off defenders and causing havoc in the centre of the park as the defence struggled to come to terms with his size and power before offloading out of the tackle.  This opening passage was an encouraging sign of things to come as Shipston always looked dangerous with ball in hand.It was Harbury who scored first after 10 minutes, however, as a poor kick from the centre of the park was gathered and run back with interest by their fullback to score on the left.  The conversion was missed.  This early slip up galvanised the Rams who showed their metal with patient build up play and the fluidity of their running and passing despite the greasy conditions. After building momentum and working their way up the pitch Shipstons won a line out on the 10 metre line which provided a platform and good ball. This was sent down the back line who recycled it dragging in defenders to tie up the left flank. Fly half Rance exploited  the resulting wide open space on the right hand side with a clever kick towards the corner with new boy Rich Bryan winning the foot race to the low bouncing ball, collecting it neatly as he dived over the line under pressure from a last ditch tackle.  From here Shipston never really looked back using the 10 minutes before half time to effectively seal victory as they added two further well worked tries through the Corby brother centre partnership.  Outside centre Tom Corby crossed first following some good link play by Neale and Beeley which drove the Rams up to the 22 on the right wing.  From here the rest of the pack ensured the necessary quick ball, before the backs added their touches with Corby going in under the posts.  Jones added the two points.  Not to be outdone elder brother Matt Corby followed soon after, this time the Rams attacking up the right wing through Rich Bryan showing his pace and a strong hand off.  The forwards again worked hard to provide the link play and the quick ball required by Jones and the back line.  This time Rance stepped the first man before offloading out of the tackle for Corby to jaunt over for his first try of the game.  Jones nailed the conversion before almost adding a fourth to secure the bonus point before the break, crossing the line after a smartly taken quick penalty only to be held up. After a shaky start the Rams had come away with a good first half performance and went into the second half confident of closing out the game with a bonus point victory.  Harbury continued to battle hard and came close to scoring on a number of occasions, but Shipstons defence and discipline were excellent.  Having struggled in the slippery conditions and slight slope of the first half, Shipstons pack began to get some parity back at scrum time with the front row of Savage, Hunt and East working hard all game to ensure that set piece ball came back with some control.  All three more than made up for any deficit at scrum time with their play around the park as they scrapped for loose ball tirelessly in the mud, the old head of East making himself a particular nuisance to the opposition.  The back row posse of New, Bonner and Neale matched the efforts of the front three as they provided plenty for the backs to run off and were huge in defence.  At the line outs Shipston dominated with two excellent jumpers in Hopwood and Bonner, the former winning a number of opposition throws and ensuring secure ball when required. With 15 minutes of the second half gone and the try rush having dried up, it looked like Shipston were going to make hard work of the remainder of the match before Rance made an interception in the backline and ran in a try under the posts from the 10 metre line.  Matt Corby then added his second of the game after the pack had stamped their mark on the match with a series of powerfully driven line out mauls taking the Rams to within touching distance of the line.  A penalty on the 5 metre was taken on by the big number 12 who drove in low to the ground, powering through a sea of defenders to touch down.Shipston rounded the game off with 10 minutes of defensive effort as Harbury went through their best phase of the game, limiting the home side to a single score.Next week Shipston travel to runaway league leaders Upton on Severn for what promises to be a far sterner test.
The Team
1- Richard Savage2- Andy Hunt3- Graham Eastgate4- Ben Hopwood5- Tom Beeley6- Aaron Neel7- Ash Bonner8- John New9- Toby Jones10- Tom Rance11- Charlie Jones12- Tom Corby13- Matt Coby14- Rich Bryan15- James Sale16- Will Davies


Battling Rams beaten at Upton.
Saturday 5th March 2011
Upton on Severn 21 - 8 Shipston on Stour
Shipstons hopes of promotion took a significant blow this weekend as they were beaten 21-8 at runaway league leaders Upton-on-Severn despite putting in one of their best defensive performances of the season.Shipston knew what to expect from their encounter earlier in the season, which the Rams narrowly lost , arriving in plenty of time for the 3 pm kick off with a strong side fully prepared to take on the Upton outfit which has lost just once against league opposition this season.  For the first 20 minutes of the match neither team was able to break the deadlock with the Rams attacking off the back of a series of penalties against Upton at the scrum and in open play, before the fortunes were reversed with Shipston penalised as Upton came into the game.  James Sale was sin binned in the centre of the park for not retiring the ten yards after one such decision.  Despite being down a man Shipston continued to hold out as Upton’s fly half and full back kept the rams pinned back in their own 22 with long, ranging kicks to the corner.  Upton eventually sneaked a try as their inside centre scrambled to the line after some good initial defence.  The defensive performances of inside centre James Woods and young winger Charlie Jones were particularly note worth as they kept their opposite men well contained with some bone shuddering tackling giving Upton plenty to think about.Upton stretched their lead adding a penalty from in front of the posts to the unconverted try taking an 8-0 lead.  It was then Upton’s turn to defend as Shipston kicked to the corners where they put their line out domination through Ash Bonner and Ben Hopwood to excellent use.  The pack also showed their physical superiority of their opposite numbers as they drove the line out ball towards the line on a number of occasions only to be thwarted by illegal play as the maul broke down.  Indeed Upton were fortunate not to concede a penalty try as their flanker was sin binned for the 4th consecutive penalty in the red zone.  Despite securing plenty of possession in the final 5 metres Shipston were unable to convert this into points in the critical moments before half time.Shipston continued in the same vein after the break using line outs in good field position to attack through the pack.  Shortening the line out to four gave the back line the added impetus of number eight Jon New as a target runner alongside the tall, full haired figure of Woods, both smashing the ball forward at every opportunity.  It was to be the effectiveness of the driven lineout that brought the break through, however, as Shipstons pack took the ball up to within touching distance of the line with a smoothly controlled maul, before spinning wide to Rance who touched down in the corner to add to his seasons tally.  Shipston were denied a second try, after a carbon copy build up saw Will Davies dive over in the same corner only for the referee to rule it out on the grounds that he had not had a clear sight of the finish.  This decision was perhaps pivotal in the final outcome of the match.  Shipston didn’t dwell on this poor fortune and focused on the task at hand scrumming down 5 metres out.  The resulting play saw Upton offside again giving Jones a simple kick levelling the scores at 8 apiece.
Despite some strong defence busting runs from Sale, Neal, Woods and the Corby brothers this was the end of Shipstons scoring in the match as Upton once again went on the attack.  Shipstons defensive display was the best of the season so far as time and time again they repelled everything Upton could through at them with every member of the team playing their part at the scrum, lineout, ruck and maul.  Shipstons dominated all the set piece with Savage and Eastgate applying real pressure on their opposite numbers. With the Rams having defended at a high octane tempo for much of the half, Rance was eventually sin binned after being trapped at the bottom of a ruck. Upton made good use of the man advantage when, having kicked a penalty, they were able to commit the Rams defence enabling the extra man to skirt round and score in the corner.  As Shipston chased the game in the final few minutes, throwing the ball around looking for spaces, it gave Upton the opportunity for a final try as they capitalised on a dropped pass to give them a score line which flattered the home side and masked the spirited, unflinching performance from Shipston having forced Upton all the way.Shipston are back to Mayo Road next week where they will look to avenge this week’s disappointment against Coventry Welsh in a rearranged fixture seeking a bonus point victory to keep any hope for promotion alive.
The Team
1-Richard Savage2-Matt Corby3-Graham Eastgate4-Ben Hopwood5-Tom Beeley6-Aaron Neel7-Ash Bonner8-John New9-Toby Jones10-Tom Rance11-Charlie Jones12-Tom Corby13-James Wood14-Will Davies15-James Sale16- Andy Hunt17- Mark Jervis18 - Sam Payne


Rams Cut Loose against Exiles.
Saturday 12th March 2011
Shipston on Stour 51 - 3
With perfect rugby conditions and strong support at Mayo Road for the first home game in sometime, Shipston racked up a half century of points against a Coventry Welsh side facing inevitable relegation.  The 51-3 final score line was a fair reflection of the game which was one way traffic for 75 minutes with the opposition putting in little of the fight they had shown at the fixture earlier in the season.Despite the one sidedness of this match it was the Welsh exiles who opened the scoring after 5 minutes  as Shipston gave away a string of early penalties allowing the visiting kicker a shot at goal from in front of the posts .  Despite this Shipston never looked like being troubled by the visitors and from the restart subjected the opposition to a high tempo onslaught of rugby which they were unable to live with.The first half saw Shipstons backs unleash their running rugby, after being subdued for much of the game last Saturday, scoring 6 tries before the break.  First to cross the line was winger Rich Bryan finishing off a flowing move to score in the corner.  Toby Jones added the extras with a well struck conversion from out wide.  Rance was next on the score sheet after the forwards had done good work at the scrum to give him a run at the Coventry centres, powering through them to score. It was the younger of the Jones brothers, Charlie playing on the wing, who featured next with his first try for the Rams.  Taking the restart on the Shipston 10 metre line he used his electric pace to get round the oncoming forwards before stepping inside the covering defender, only  to be caught by the fullback.  As he looked for the offload he powered on and used his strength to brush aside the defence, breaking free to finish strongly in the corner.  This was a fine, individual  1st try for the club and the youngster is a bright prospect for the future of Shipston RFC with surely many more tries to follow. Bryan and Charlie Jones added further scores before the break to seal the bonus point victory early in the game and from here Shipston were really able to cut loose with the visitors putting up little resistance.  With Hopwood and Bonner functioning well to take restarts and line outs cleanly, the Rams were able to run everything back at the visitors.  Perhaps frustrated at the lack of possession and one sidedness of the game the visitors began giving away silly penalties for indiscipline which fuelled the Shipston fires and gave excellent field position.  Scrum half and man of the match Toby Jones rounded off the first half scoring spree as he switched the direction of play, going blind and looping round to combine with his younger sibling to finish with a burst of pace and showing he wasn’t to be outdone.Although the scoring rate slowed in the second half, the match flowed in much the same way with Shipston attacking at will though the backs.  In truth the pack were largely bystanders in most of the second half tries, proving the old adage that the pack decide the outcome and the backs the score line. With the forwards dominating the set piece, first phase ball was fed to the backs who beat their men and finished with aplomb.  That said the back row still worked hard to any break downs with Captain Bonner doing some sterling work in the mauls and New dropping into the backline as a target runner at the shortened line out with Hopwood having been replaced.  Matt Corby and Neal also featured strongly with the former throwing in to the line with laser straight accuracy and falling in to the back line as a second fly half when required. Neal was his usual hard carrying, hard tackling self whenever opportunity arose. Rich Bryan, never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, added a hat trick try with some more excellent finishing to get the second half scoring under way.  Further tries came from the centre partnership of Woods and Corby as they both cantered over under the posts having put in their usual grafting performances with some direct running lines.
The visitors only real threat came through their rolling maul which they used to good effect in the centre of the park, but the Rams pack more than had the measure of this as the absorbed any pressure before splintering the core of the maul with some solid driving.Although a hugely one sided match,  the scale of the victory came down to the Rams near flawless display and discipline and follows on from last week’s hard working loss.  Next week’s game away to Redditch will undoubtedly be a sterner test for the Mayo Roaders.
The Team
1-Richard Savage2-Matt Corby3-Graham Eastgate4-Ben Hopwood5-Tom Beeley6-Aaron Neel7-Ash Bonner8-John New9-Toby Jones10-Tom Rance11-Charlie Jones12-Tom Corby13-James Wood14-Rich Bryan15-James Sale16- Andy Hunt17- Sam Payne

So Close Shipston!
Wednesday 16th March 2011
Spartans 19 - 17 Shipston
Shipston went down to Spartans in their Warwickshire Cup Quarter Final last Wednesday after a fantastic display that almost caused an upset in a thrilling game under the lights at Leamington RFC. With numerous players missing through work commitments and with Spartans pushing for promotion in the league above, you could've been forgiven for thinking that this would be a one-sided affair. However Shipston played some excellent running rugby throughout the eighty minutes and pushed their higher profile opposition all the way in a dramatic mid-week clash.
It was Shipston who started off the brighter and were the firsts on the scoreboard early on in the piece. After sustained possession and territory William Davies finished off a well worked move, making a dart from the back of a ruck to burrow his way to the line after some strong running from Aaron Neal and the centre partnership of James Wood and Tom Corby, busting holes up the middle of the park. Shipston could feel themselves slightly aggrieved 10 minutes later when a superb catch and drive from a lineout, 15 metres from the Spartans try-line, saw the forwards power over, only for the referee to adjudge the seasoned Graham Eastgate not to have grounded the ball over the line, a decision that insensed the veteran.With a strong forward pack Spartans began to dominate the set-piece and slowly started to crawl their way back into the game. After a series of penalties through Shipston ill-discipline, they worked the ball through the phases and scored twice before the interval. Sustained pressure and territory eventually paved through a resolute Shipston defensive display and the sides went in at half time with Spartans leading 12-5.The second half started with Shipston backs against the wall as Spartans ran through phase after phase, continually dominating the set-piece and chewing up the yards on the way to an inevitable score. However a fantastic break from Andy Hunt and a series off off-loads and interplay between the backs and forwards alike saw Richard Bryan score in the corner to round off a well worked move. Matt Corby slotted the conversion from the touchline to draw the scores level to 12 apiece.Spartans did get the third try that their territory and possession deserved and came from sustained pressure revolving around their dominant set-piece. With quick ball from a ruck, the ball was spread wide to the right where their big winger crashed over the line to restore the seven point lead.With time running out and a passionate set of travelling supporters, Spartans had looked to have seen off their lower ranked opposition, but The Rams found another gear yet again and started to up their game. With Matt Corby pulling all the strings at fly-half, Shipston scored a third try with seconds left to play. Tom Corby, showing good pace and awareness, went over to bring Shipston back within two points, after the squat Mark Jervis made hard yards down the right. From the re-start Shipston went on the attack one last time in a bid to pull off a memorable victory. They made great ground through James Wood but were left agonisingly short after a chip through was gathered from the Spartans fullback who hoofed the ball into touch to scenes of jubilation from the Spartans team and supporters.


Rams Rambunctious at Redditch.
Saturday 19th March
Redditch 17 - 38 Shipston
On a gloriously sunny afternoon Shipston travelled to Redditch where a dry, well conditioned pitch provided the perfect surface for the Rams running game as they came away with 38-17 victory over there competition for third place.  Despite playing the superior rugby Shipston made heavy work of the game, looking lackadaisical at times, before finishing strongly.
It was Redditch who crossed the try line first just 5 minutes into the game cancelling out a Jones penalty after Rance had come close to scoring, held up a metre short.  The Redditch 12 chipped the defensive line as the scrum broke and with the ball somehow staying in play, collected to score out wide.The Rams responded well adding a further 3 points through the boot of Toby Jones after Rance had burst through for a second time, chipping ahead, but again denied this time by the full back.  James Dargan scored the first of Shipstons 5 tries as he was fed the ball travelling at pace on the right wing barging through his opposite number to score in the corner.  Further tries soon followed as the Rams began to get the better of the home side and use the available space with Woods and Tom Corby making plenty of yards in the centre.  The most impressive burst came from Charlie Jones, playing on the wing, as he received a Redditch clearance before running inside, fending off numerous tackles as he crossed the pitch and then made significant yardage up field before being brought down.  Further first half tries came from Toby Jones who ran an excellent supporting line, popping up just when required to finish a sweeping backs move.Although the Shipston pack was unable to make much headway in the scrum as they faced a considerably heavy pack, they more than made up for this at the lineout and with their speed around the park.  Captain Bonner, playing at open side flanker, was particularly conspicuous making tackles around the fringes and running in support with his freshly coiffed, blond highlights glistening in the sunshine.  His opposite number, clearly finding him too much of a handful, was sin binned with 10 minutes to the break freeing up yet more space for the Shipston back line. Bonner was rewarded with a try for his efforts soon after. Matt Corby and Aaron Neale put in their usual hardworking performances, popping up across the park to take the ball on, making ground or providing a linking pass.  Despite having built a significant lead before the break Shipston failed to make the game safe or earn the bonus point until the final 15 minutes.  Redditch, back to their full complement, were able to get their driving game together using their big forwards to good effect off the lineout and picking and driving at the ruck.  Despite some strong defence from the Rams the home side added two tries as Shipston failed to clear their lines and made some sloppy errors.  This brought Redditch right back into the game and nearly sent them ahead as they were denied a try in the centre of the park.  Shipston held their nerve, however, and a strong scrum on the 5 metre line provided the platform they needed to break out, clearing their lines and chasing down the kick.  As the forwards drove the ball up the left side of the pitch a back line lined up and fed James Woods who ran in and touched down unimpeded.Some good work off the restart saw Shipston break again with Dargan held up just short of a second try, but the ball was kept alive and recycled quickly allowing Rance to get on the score sheet at the third attempt. Jones added a penalty from in front of the posts to round off what was a comfortable victory in the end. The bonus point victory secures 3rd place in the league and puts Shipston 11 points clear of 4th pace Redditch with 3 games to go.  The Rams are in Worcestershire again next weekend as they take on 5th placed Evesham.


Rams Slip Up at Evesham
Saturday 26th March
Evesham 16 - 15 Shipston
More details to come...


Rams Rally...
Saturday 9th April
Shipston 46 - 35 Harbury
Shipston hosted Harbury on a sun drenched Mayo Road turf with the match serving up a feast of 11 tries for the vice presidents day crowd who made the most of the fine weather after enjoying the club hospitality.  Despite being three tries behind the visitors at one stage Shipston came back to record an entertaining 46-35 win to the delight of the spectators which sees them secure 3rd place with an unassailable points difference over Evesham whilst Harbury are consigned to relegation despite a hard fought performance.Shipston made hard work of the first half succumbing to three soft tries early in the game as the Harbury wing first took a golden opportunity as the ball. kept in field after a kick to touch. fell into his hands for an easy run in, before the visiting backs constructed two more tries with good offloading and direct running.  It took the Rams 25 minutes to find their feet and work their way up the park, eventually kicking to touch for a 5 metre lineout.  From here a well rehearsed line out move straight off the training park saw Matt Corby crash through under the posts after a looping run off the back of the line to open Shipstons account.  A second try for the Rams followed soon after as the backs made good use of quick ball to send Charlie Jones over on the left wing to bring the Rams back into contention.Having worked hard to get back into the game the concentration of the homeside slipped once again allowing Harbury to score twice more giving the visitors the potential of a bonus point victory they desperately needed to stand any chance of avoiding relegation.   James Woods added a third try for Shipston before the brak as he shrugged off the defence powering through from 15 metres out.  Harbury responded again witha penalty kick on the stroke of half time giving the a commanding 32 points to 19 lead.Coming down the slope in the second half Shipston need to summon all their energies in the heat to overcome this deficit and turn the match around.  The come back was started within 10 minutes of the restart as Shipston secured good line out possession through Ben Hopwood feeding the backs to allow Tom Corby to power through at short range.  Having found his form he quickly added to his tally in more emphatic style, this time running down the wing before cutting inside and outpacing the fullback to cap a 50 metre, Ashtonesque run  with a dive under the posts, bringing the crowd back to life and giving the rams a single point advantage at 33-32.  With the addition of fresh legs in the form of Jervis and Payne Shipston now began to exert themselves on the game, before it swung back to Harbury as they added three points with a well struck effort from their goal kicker.  Shipston then added a penalty of their own to regain the lead through Richard Wilson stepping up with the pressure on to knock the ball over from the 10 metre line. Toby Jones extended the lead from shorter range to give Shipston some breathing space.Harbury then put together one last concerted effort, driving the ball up the pitch before giving away a penalty.  With the visitors now flagging in the heat and with a raft of changes due to injury, Woods added the coup de gras reading and intercepting a long miss pass at pace to dash in under the posts to a great roar from the home support.  Toby Jones added the final two points to round off an excellent kicking display missing just one kick from 7 attempts.
Shipston are away to Kings Norton for their last match of the season where, despite being safely in 3rd place, they will look to cap the season with another victory.


Shippo Aces beats Kings....
Saturday 16th April
Kings Norton 19 - 39 Shipston on Stour
Shipston rounded off a long and successful season in style with a 39-20 win on the road to Kings Norton to make it 13 wins and 2 draws out of 22 games.  Although there was nothing to be won or lost on the fixture the team were determined to end on a high note and give backline stalwarts James Sale and James Wood a victory in what is possibly their last game for the club.
The game started brightly for the Rams with the pack showing some early dominance in the set piece and securing plenty of possession in the opposition half.  As Kings Norton gave away some silly penalties Toby Jones fired Shipston ahead with a well struck penalty punishing the home side’s indiscretions.  The lead was extended soon after as the ever reliable and seasons leading try scorer Tom Corby was sent through under the posts after some steady build up play, Jones again adding the extras. Kings Norton then raised their game in front of their presidents day crowd and after kicking to touch 10 metres from the Shipston line, set up a rolling maul from the line out to rumble over.  A copy book build up and move 5 minutes later saw the home side take the lead in the match as their kicker knocked over the extras.Shipston attacked again with fly half Rance crossing the line after some patient build up play, for what looked like a certain try only for it to be deemed as held up over the line. They did, however, claw three points back before the break with a penalty via the metronomic boot of Jones to leave them trailing by a point with work do in the second half. The Rams responded from the restart for the second half with second row Hopwood taking the kick off well under pressure from the defence.  With the ball set back Rance found Charlie Jones coming off his wing and running a line through the centres.  He used his pace and power to bust open the defence on Shipstons own 22 before carrying a further 20 metres handing off opposition as he went. As he was eventually scragged he delivered a long pass into the hands of Tom Corby who had tracked the run in support to finish from 30 metres out for an excellent try.The restart resulted in a further try down the left wing, this time for Will Davies who had replaced Richard Wilson only moments before. After building from the 10 metre line some inter passing down the wing between Wood, Sale, Corby and Davies after another strong run by Charlie Jones saw the ball grubbered through and over the line with Davies winning the foot race with his fresh legs to score.Despite now being well behind Kings Norton hadn’t given up the game and again came back.  Having defended determinedly on their own try line for 5 minutes Shipston eventually cracked as a Kings forward wriggled through to score a converted try.  Shipston then set about putting the game to sleep.  The Shipston pack were now in the ascendency as the front row of Savage, Hunt and Neal set about demolishing the opposition set piece ensuring the backs had plenty of ball coming back to them whatever the put in at the scrum.  Corby and Wood got in on the demolition job as they up ended Kings big 12 in the centre of the park with a monstrous hit, signalling to both sides the intent to close out the game and that this was the end of the match as a competition.  From here on in the game was one way traffic with some swift and clinical handling by the backs which saw Davies over for a second try.Perhaps fittingly it was Sale who crossed the line for the final time this season after some good work by the loose forwards of Bonner, New and Jervis had turned the ball over and provided some useful link play when required.  Jones added the final two points to cap a near perfect kicking display, which included some difficult kicks from the touch line. Shipston look forward to a well earned rest before preparations for next season get underway, after another fantastic year which sees them finish in a well deserved 3rd place in the Midlands 3 West (South) league.  Much thanks must go to the coaching staff of Gez Rance and Graham Eastgate as well as the club and spectators who have provided excellent support both home and away all season and who it is hoped have been entertained by the quality of rugby on display.
Shipston on Stour Rugby Football Club
Season 2010 -2011

Midlands 3 West (South) -


Team

P

W

D

L

F

A

Diff

B Pts

Pts

Adjust

Upton-on-Severn

22

20

0

2

620

202

418

10

90

0

Newbold on Avon

22

17

1

4

539

264

275

10

80

0

Shipston on Stour

22

13

2

7

535

357

178

13

64

-5

Evesham

22

12

1

9

383

381

2

4

54

0

Old Leamingtonians

22

11

0

11

426

404

22

13

52

-5

Redditch

22

10

0

12

300

431

-131

7

47

0

Woodrush

22

9

0

13

387

384

3

10

46

0

Kings Norton

22

9

0

13

363

437

-74

9

45

0

Old Yardleians

22

8

1

13

323

351

-28

11

45

0

Southam

22

10

0

12

300

390

-90

3

43

0

Harbury

22

5

1

16

429

515

-86

15

37

0

Coventry Welsh

22

5

0

17

179

668

-489

1

21

0