Saturday 21st April
Shipston on Stour 27 - 24 Kings Norton
Shipston rounded off their last Midlands West 3 league campaign with a hard fought victory over Kings Norton in front of a Mayo Road crowd who had turned out on mass to celebrate and support the promotion of Shipston 1st and 2nd teams this year. This was Shipstons 10th consecutive win and means they have now beaten every team in the league this season as they secured yet another bonus point with a 27-24 victory. Shipston attacked down the slope in the first half and were quickly on the score bored with a Jones penalty from in front of the posts. Shipston then made good ground up the right wing as Will Davies bamboozled his opposite number with some nimble foot work to open up some space before being tackled to touch. Shipston already had control of possession and territory through a dominant set piece and this was converted into further points as Bryan came off his wing to combine with Davies who managed to hold onto a difficult pass and touch down just inside the corner flag with a fine finish. Jones added the extras with his best kick of the afternoon.From the restart Jon New was again magnificent as he took the ball calmly under pressure and carried it back to the oncoming defence. A brilliant kick on a tight angle from Rich Bryan advanced Shipston 45 metres up to the visitors 5 metre line giving the Rams perfect field position.The forwards pressured the resulting line out and managed to disrupt it enough for Kings to snatch a poor clearing kick to give Shipston the put in. The attacking line out was then cleanly taken by Ash Bonner and driven on by the forwards who were held just short. A simple pass out of the collapsed maul to big Jack Coupland saw him put his head down to rumble over under a mass of defenders to score his first try of the season.From here Shipston eased off and indiscipline saw them marched back repeatedly giving up good ground and providing the visitors with some much needed territory. Sloppy defence allowed Kings to capitalise as they scored two converted tries to bring them well back into contention before Shipston reacted.A better chase off the restart got Shipston back into the opposition 22 and Rance capitalised as he chipped the defence and hacked the ball past the fullback to score a great individual try just as the visitors looked to be getting back into the game. The bonus point score came soon after as Kings Norton tried to maul a line out 15 metres from their line. As they tried to roll the ball for a second time second row Beeley put in rib crunching tackle on the tight head prop and won a penalty as the visitors were deemed to have obstructed one another. Shipstons pack chose to take the scrum with the prop still wincing and the front row of Coupland, Corby and Savage capitalised by driving the visitors back just short of their line. Once on the back foot Kings were powerless to stop Tom Corby from carving through a gap and crashing over after the ball was spun wide.As half time came the sky darkened and a wintery shower was unleashed which spoiled what had been an entertaining game as the ball became virtually unplayable in the greasy conditions. This played into the hands of the visitors who were more content playing a tight forwards game. They gradually got themselves back into the match and scored a third try before the Rams strung together their best attack of the half. James Wooton surged on to the ball off the back of the line out skittleing defenders and breaking the gain line. As he twisted to make the offload he landed awkwardly and it became immediately clear that he had seriously injured his knee – a sorry end to what has been a fine season for the colossal centre. We wish him a speedy recovery.Shipston continued to toil for the final twenty minutes, but were unable to make any significant line breaks as the ground conditions worsened and the visitors upped their defensive game. When Kings were in possession Shipston were their usual steely selves with Neale and Barnard still putting in some fearsome tackles and fighting for any scrap of possession. In the end the finish was a tense affair, but Shipston held on till the whistle to secure victory in their final game in Midlands West 3 to give end of season stats of played 20 won 17 and lost 3 in Matt Corby’s first season at the helm. Next season looks set to be tough year for the Rams with some stiff competition as they step up a level to Midlands West 2, but the players and coaching staff will relish the opportunity to test themselves against new opposition.The final words go in huge thanks to the coaching team, physio , club and supporters who have kept the team going ,providing fantastic support throughout this long, but enjoyable season. Thank you also to all of the 40 plus players that have represented the 1st team this season in particular those who have now hung up their boots.
Saturday 31st March 2012
Shipston on Stour 61 - 7 Evesham
Shipston 1st XV turned on the style to entertain the presidents day crowd with a resounding 61– 7 win at Mayo Road against Evesham as the club put on a fine day with a festival atmosphere for the members and their families. The pitch, baked hard following the recent fine weather, suited Shipstons expansive game as they ran out looking to impress at home following last week’s triumph, but left both teams feeling the effects after the match. Shipston put the visitors under pressure from the kick off as a knock on allowed the Shipston pack to put the squeeze on the opposition eight. The resulting play lead to a penalty which was confidently drilled over by Jones. It wasn’t long before tries followed with Corby crossing the white wash twice from fluid backs play. Evesham then came back into the game capitalising on Shipston errors and their back row making things difficult for the home side securing plenty of turnover, belying their position close to the bottom of the league. Rance’s blushes were saved by Sale who showed great pace to track back and make a covering tackle after an interception by the Evesham 14, following a clean break by the home side. This gave the Rams the opportunity to create on the counter attack as the back row of Hunt, New and Neale began to exert their influence at the break down while Rance redeemed himself with some thumping kicks out of hand finding long range touches to take the game back to the Worcestershire men.The Rams regrouped midway through the half and redoubled their efforts as centre James Wotton, who was excellent all afternoon, smashed through the centre carrying three players to the line to touch down. Jones added a further penalty as Shipstons pack continued to dominate.fter the break Shipston simplified their game and upped the tempo to take the match well beyond the visitors who continued to put in some crunching tackles. However, this wasn’t enough to hinder the Rams whose support running and link play was superb with the front five of Savage, Corby, Coupland, Beeley and Bonner not only putting in a solid shift in the set piece, but popping up all over the park and involved in much of the play. Indeed Savage and Corby went on to feature on the score sheet with a brace of tries for Savage from open play securing the bonus point while Beeley and Bonner conspired to waste a golden opportunity with the try line at their mercy.Corby and Wootton added to the score after some exceptional work from Wootton chasing a kick and tackling the full back, before single handedly counter rucking Evesham off the ball. No.8 New and Bonner ,as ever, made sure the restarts were secured allowing Shipston to get straight back on the attack through wingers Bird and Davies who cut great angles to get in on the action. A few moments of indiscipline early in the second half gave Evesham an attacking platform in Shipston territory, with Renardson marking his fair well appearance for the Rams with (surprisingly) his first yellow card in all his time with the club after just minutes on the pitch! The visitors made good use of their possession first rolling a maul close to the line for their prop to dive over only to be held up by Captain Corby, before recycling possession for the scrum half to snipe over under the posts for a solitary try to the irritation of the Rams defence. After this normal service resumed with all the play made by the Rams as Renardson returned to the action before Bonner spent 10 minutes in the bin. Coupland was replaced by Eastgate who immediately made his presence felt winning some useful ball as he wrestled in the heart of a maul. Perhaps try of the afternoon came with Shipston now throwing the ball around with some crowd pleasing rugby as full back Sale, maintaining his rich vein of form following last week’s victory, combined with substitute winger Bryan to race down the touch line. As he was tackled he made a clever off load out of the back of the hand finding Tom Corby running on his inside shoulder and giving him a clear run in to match his first half try tally. Jones added to his seasons points haul with a near flawless kicking display.All in all this was a good all round performance from Shipston and showed why they currently sit at the top of the league, although Evesham should perhaps feel unlucky to be sitting second bottom after putting in two good performances against the Rams this season. Shipston now have a two week break before returning to Mayo Road for the final game of the season against Kings Norton on the 21st April when they can extend their unbeaten run into double figures.
Saturday 24th March 2012
Earlsdon 25 - 29 Shipston on Stour
Shipston secured promotion from Midlands West 3 south division in the most sensational style with a bonus point victory on the road to previously unbeaten league leaders Earlsdon. Trailing 22-0 at half time after the Earlsdon backline had ripped through the Rams defence, Shipston showed huge tenacity and dogged spirit to snatch victory eventually winning 29 points to 25 with an all round team performance which will live long in the memory of those that played and enjoyed the spectacle on a sweltering spring day. The victory not only secured promotion with two games left in the season, but sees Shipstons sitting at the top of the table, albeit temporarily. Shipston started brightly enough after receiving the kick off with the pack dominating in the early exchanges. The lineout functioned smoothly despite missing key jumper Ash Bonner, as flankers Jack Barnard and Andy Hunt consistently leapt clear of their opposition providing a solid platform to set up driven line outs which the Earlsdon pack struggled to cope with. Playing the game in the Earlsdon 22 Shipston had a couple of early penalty attempts which were missed relieving pressure on the home side.After 20 minutes of punishing forwards play in the baking sun from Shipston were unable to register a score, Earlsdon began to get into the game and released their pacey backline, their main threat all season, scoring from their own 22 after some neat inter passing. From the following restart Shipston failed to put any pressure on the catcher and once again the speed of Earlsdon’s attack cut through Shipstons defence quickly doubling the deficit. A penalty added to the mounting score line. Earlsdon’s 3rd score came off the back of a scrum with a sharply executed well rehearsed backs move which Shipston were powerless to defend. As the first half closed out it began looking like Shipston were going to be routed as Earlsdon continually found space to run and attack. Sharp defence from the back three of Sale, Bird and Bryan as well as a knock on were all that kept Earlsdon out. This was epitomised as the Earlsdon eight found space and coursed through from 50 metres out, only to be chased and cut down by Sale 10 metres short allowing Shipston to realign. An Earlsdon scrum provided an attacking platform from which the eight picked and drove again, but this time Barnard scythed him down and sprung back to his feet latching onto the ball and winning a penalty to release the pressure and see out the half without further score.After a frank half time team talk Shipston came out ready to play and immediately set about remedying the situation. Again Barnard was instrumental, chasing the restart and winning a turn over penalty. Rance’s kick to the corner was judged perfectly giving Shipston an attacking lineout which was disrupted, but tidied up by second row Beeley before the ball was sent wide to Tom Corby whose instinctive finishing saw him brush aside his opposite number to score. Corby added his second in similar fashion soon after, this time from a solid Shipston scrum which saw Wooton crash through in the centres before linking with his centre partner who was able to finish from distance. Jones added the extras to both tries. With this second score and realising there were less than 10 points in it, Shipston were rejuvenated and began to throw everything at Earlsdon. Alex Ray, carrying an ankle injury, continued to charge forward with ball in hand and hit rucks with gusto as he made his presence felt across the field. The front row of Savage, Corby and Coupland continued to exert their dominance at the scrum providing possession for the backs to take the game to the opposition. When Earlsdon did have possession Shipston were equally determined in defence with replacement winger Davies making a crucial tackle on his opposite man, before Wooton was sin binned as he closed down the Earlsdon wing after a loose kick. Despite being a man short Shipston continued to dominate possession. Aaron Neale filled in at inside centre and read the play perfectly as Earlsdon looked to go wide, intercepting a pass and taking play up to the Earlsdon 22. A penalty as Earlsdon played the ball illegally on the floor gave Shipston another attacking lineout which was again disrupted, but calmly controlled to send Neale over for a well deserved try.Earlsdon struck back with their only score of the half with a penalty to extend their lead as Shipstons rush defence lead by Wooton, Rance and Hunt smashed the home side back at every opportunity. As the relentless pace of the game began to show, fresh legs in the form of flanker Sam Payne and seasoned campaigner Graham Eastgate injected new drive into the Shipston pack and ensured the tempo didn’t falter.With 10 minutes to go a surging run up the centre of the park by big Jack Coupland broke the gain line as he crashed forward with defenders hanging off him before offloading to the quick hands of captain Matt Corby. Again the ball was sent wide, this time finding prop Savage in the back line whose explosive turn off pace opened up the defence for Jack Barnard to touch down in the corner with a determined finish.With the clock running down and still 3 points behind Shipston needed something special as they continued to push forward and it was full back James Sale who provided it. Straightening his line of running to take a short pass off Rance he showed strength to brush off the defence before accelerating to glide in under the posts from 20 metres out, celebrating in fine style as the sun drenched crowd exploded in celebration.The home side came back with some late pressure winning a kickable penalty as Shipston were stretched to the limits, but behind by four they needed a try to save the game. As Shipston clung on with gritty defence the Earlsdon pack knocked on as they picked and drove at the line which was enough for the referee to call time with Shipstons warriors out on their feet at the final whistle.This was the pinnacle of two seasons hard work by a team and coaching staff which has built itself steadily and now has a real depth of talent regularly putting in exhilarating performances. The victory will be savoured in the coming weeks. With the pressure of the Rams will look to show off their repertoire and play some expansive rugby on the harder ground in their last two remaining league games at home to Evesham and Kings Norton.
Saturday 3rd March 2012
Southam 25 - 33 Shipston on Stour
There's a distinct frisson of excitementin the air these days down at Mayo Road with the Rams sitting in second position in Midlands 3 West and with a good 12 point lead on 3rd place Old Leamingtonians the long dreamed of word is being spoken of in hushed tones. However the guys at Shipston know the vagaries of sport, they knew that before they could dare to dream they first had to travel away to local club Southam. They knew this would be no easy achievement Southam have been a bit of a bannana skin for the Rams in the past not having beat the Dinosaurs at their home for at least 4 years.Things started well for Shipston as a good attacking platform from the Shipston lineout drew the Southam players into a tight maul, the ball then spun out wide to the ever dangerous James Wooton who touched down to start the scoring. Matt Corby stepped up to take the place kick andunlike last weeks kick he just could not find his range so the kick went wide.Southam soon struck back though as a Shipston infringement saw the Southam kick place a good penalty right into the teeth of the gale blowing down the length of the pitch. Shipston continued to struggle for a while as even with the wind at there backs they were unable to play the game they wanted and wasted to many good opportunities. However things went their way as Another lineout on the Southam 5m line saw a beautifully set maul push the Southam pack backwards.With little chance of stopping the drive, Southam could only slip backwards until the Shipston prop Rich Savage collapsed over the line for their second try.Southam were not going to take this lieing down and with a huge amount of support were soon within the Shipston 22, a scuffle broke out and yellow cards were shown to a Southam player and the shipston second row Alex Ray. The subsequent penalty was well taken by Southam so the scores were standing at 6 to 10. Shipston fought back as soon as they could and won a penalty to bring the scores up to 6 to 13 but they were in danger of being beaten again as the were forced to absorb attack after attack. With the Shipston pack missing a man number 8 John New stepped into the second row, but this left a man down and when there strong 8th man picked up the ball and went blind flanker Andy Hunt was stuck against a two on one with the Southam winger and fullback. A race down the line was to no avail and Southam scored to bring things dangerously close. Shipston were next to strike with a well taken Tom Corby classic strike through the centres although Southam almost immediately replied to with a carbon copy try down the blindside before the big man Alex Ray could get back on to the pitch. Almost immediately his enforced rest paid dividends as he was able to bundle over the line and claim his own score. Halftime arrived with Shipston clinging to a a narrow lead of 18 to 23 points. The change of ends saw a change of fortunes for Shipston as although the scores did not come as readily they settled more into there own pattern of play and seemed much more comfortable and assured with the ball in hand. A huge run through the centres from flyhalf Tom Rance saw him carry out his trademark chip and gather to touchdown and bring the scores up to a healthy 18 to 28. Some great running by second row Ash Bonner and openside Jack Barnard saw the ball approach the Southam 5m line. A big shout from blindside Hunt drew the opposition in the scrumhalf Jones to feed New who stepped over the line to get the scores up to 18 to 33. With 20 minutes to go it was time to bring on some fresh legs as Scott Currie came on for winger Will Davies and Sam Payne for Hunt. Southam continued to pile the pressure but it was soon becoming obvious that it wasn’t to be there day. However with a last gasp they battered the Shipston forwards back to there own 5m line. The shipston Front row of Coupland Corby and Savage battled and battled but the ref had seen enough and after a number of reset scrum finally decided a Shipston wing forward had broken too early. His hand raised as ran under the posts to award a conselatory penalty try. The kick sailed over and the final whistle blew 25 to 33 shipston had finally broken the Southam curse and beaten the Dinosaurs away from home.Things are really heating up now as they face league new boys Pinley at Mayo Road this Saturday with a dream in the hearts and only one goal in their minds.
Saturday 25th February 2012
Shipston on Stour 105 - 0 Redditch
The fine rugby conditions and sunshine at Mayo Road seemed to add some extra spring to the step of a rampantly inform Shipston side who racked up a 105 – 0 win over Redditch on Saturday. Some ruthless finishing from the Rams back division set down a marker for the remainder of the season as Shipston look to secure promotion.Despite missing two key members , it quickly became clear that the Shipston backs had far too much fire power for the visitors as stand in fly half made use of the pace out wide and some bullocking forwards play with excellent distribution of the ball. In fact it took less than 5 minutes for the Redditch defence to be unlocked as quick ball from the forwards sent Bird racing through for the first score. From here on in Shipston never looked back and a flurry of tries saw the Rams secure a four try bonus point in under 15 minutes after some clinical finishing.The Shipston forwards, clearly relishing the open game, provided Corby with plenty of first phase running options to carry Shipston over the gain line time and time again to the benefit of the backs who ran some scintillating lines with the space and quick ball provided. Second row Alex Ray made some particularly devastating inroads into the opposition as he charged round the pitch making ground with every carry. No.8 Jon New was imperious at the restarts each time claiming and presenting the ball under pressure to unleash another penetrating Rams attack. Redditch played their part in the game with some good last ditch tackling to thwart further tries, but the pace, handling and support play from Shipston were irresistible in the dry conditions. With the score at 67-0 at half time Shipston made use of their bench to rest Neal who picked up a foot injury while wingers Bryan and Bird, both having crossed the line twice before the break, gave way to Davies and Wilson.The changes did little to disrupt Shipstons fluidity, although the start of the second half saw Redditch’s best passage of play with some sustained attacking in the Shipston 22. Any pressure was, quickly dissipated by the Rams as they snuffed out any attacks with some disciplined defence giving away limited penalties all game.As the second half wore on Shipstons fitness shone through as the tempo barely dropped working up the Mayo Road slope, with props Savage and Coupland getting in on the action with numerous barracking carries. Flankers Bonner and Barnard showed some deft handling skills off the back of a lineout on the 10 metre line combining well as Bonner took on the defence, offloading out of the tackle to find Barnard who had run an incisive line to score under the posts.ittingly it was the game’s top try scorer, Charlie Jones, whose fourth try was the final play of the match and took the score past the 100 mark. Shipstons other scorers included Tom Corby, Toby Jones, Aaron Neal, James Sale and Richard Wilson while kicking duties were shared by Corby, Jones, Wilson and Bryan who all contributed to the points total with the boot.Next week Shipston travel to local rivals Southam which looks set to be an altogether sterner test, but one that the Rams will look forward to on the back of this victory.
Saturday 14th January 2012
Shipston on Stour 22 v 12 Old Leamingtonians
The setting was made after an unpredictable away loss to old coventrians the week before that gave this weeks fixture a story line that both sides deserved after the seasons performances to date. Old Leamingtonians coming into the fixture with back to back wins and a bag full of confidence and the home side off a training paddock that helped thrash out last weeks errors. The week began with the sad news from Hong Kong with the passing of a previous Shipston player, Phil Titmus, who was respected with a minutes silence by both teams prior to kick off.With the home team galvanised by the sad news it was Old Leamingtonians who started with the majority of possession and set up camp in the Shipston 22. After several passages of play the home team were able to clear there lines and play the game in a more neutral area. A line out awarded to the shipston forwards gave an attacking platform that outside centre Tom Corby thrived on. His clever running line taking the Old Leamingtonians centre inside and out before beating him for pace to score to the left of the uprights. Richard Wilson's skiing commitments meant scrum half Toby jones took on the kicking mantle and on this occasion he pushed the ball wide.From the re-start the game settled into its rhythm with the leamington side dominating the possession and setting up camp on the home sides try line for long periods. after a yellow card was shown to ex captain Alex Ray the away pack looked to convert the pressure and did so in the form of a penalty try which in essence failed to take the shipston spirit. This was duly converted.The predictability of the Old Leamingtonians attack made life a little easier for the organised shipston defence leaving the referee no choice but to penalise an attack that in honestly failed to deliver. Time and time again Bonnor, Neal and Barnard made huge tackles halting attacks and turning play over. On one such occasion the ball was kicked long by the home fly half, Tom Rance who fed the ball to the bustling and classy James Wootton from the resulting lineout who ran through the opposing back line and back row only to be snagged a few metres from the line. He managed to offload to his supporting centre, Corby, who touched down for his second of the game Jones converted. The home side lost shape slighty and a resulting charged down kick from the base of a ruck allowed the away team to draw level going into half time.The second half started with a change in fortunes and with changes made to the away side shipston were able to take the play to the opposing try line before jones scored a individual try extending the lead. Credit to OL's as they pulled together more and more forward dominated attacks all of which however were unsuccessful, this seemed to take the spirit of the away team and with the ball being fed to the back division the Shipston side scored the all important fourth and final try with Richard Bryan finishing a great team try.The match finished at 22-12 to shipston who recorded an important double over the clubs greatest rivals for the second promotion spot behind the league leaders.Shipston entertain Atherstone in the Warwickshire Shield next Sunday afternoon at Mayo Road.
Saturday 19th November 2011
Pinley 15 - 32 Shipston
Shipston kept the ball rolling on their quest for promotion this weekend with a good win away against league new comer Pinley. The Shipston team were missing some key players with scrum half Jones out with a broken thumb and inside centre Wooton away on Leicester Tigers duty, however there replacements played admirably with captain Matt Corby joining his brother Tom in the centres and Will Davies filling Jones shoes at scrum half..In a game Shipston could well have lost in previous seasons the Rams came out firing the Shipston men firast tackle caused the Pinley men to spill the ball and from the resulting scrum saw a strong attack up the flank.. A Shippo knock on resulted in a Pinley scrum but Andy Hunt stepping in for Corby at hooker won the Pinley ball against the head and a pick and drive saw number 8 John New crash over the line for a beautifully taken try to start the scores, the conversion was missed the conversion was missed but that wasn’t it from shippo by a long way. The backs were next on the score board as from the kick off From the kick off shipston secured good ball for Tom Rance to clear his line for a line out on pinleys 22. A training ground move and drive before releasing the ball allowed Rance to orchestrate the backs and looping his centres and wing sprinted clear on the wing to score the second of the day. Pinley at this point decided to get into the game and punished some Shipston indiscipline first with a well struck penalty, Shipston however did not learn and Pinley narrowly missed another but this was punishment enough for the Shipston men. A crash ball from big second row Al Ray was swiftly recycled by flanker Aaron Neele and the ball fed through the hands of Josh Bird before the dangerous Corby brother worked their magic and younger of the pair Tom fed to flyhalf Rance who touched down for his second. In a game of fluid motion it flowed back to New once more with a well driven ball smashing through the Pinley defence, the halftime score stood a healthy at 3 to 20.Shipston knew that they had switched off in the second half of other games and were concerned about not doing this again. This was never likely to happen with Davis at Scrumhalf though...a classic dummy at the base of a ruck saw the defence wrong footed and Davis slipped around the fringe for a 20 metre run in and a beautifully taken individual try 3 to 25... Shipston seemed to have shaken off there second half demons but now it was Pinleys turn to strike. They fed there strong wing who shook off a tackle from Wilson and scored in the corner to bring the scores up to 8 to 25. Pinley again struck and in an almost carbon copy of the previous try the same big man smashed down the wing shrugging off Shipston tackles and scored to bring the things closer, the conversion this time sailed through and the scores were brought up to 15 to 25. The Shippo pack were ready to answer that question now though as a line out saw props Richard Savage and Graham Eastgate maul the ball close to the Pinley line. Replacement flanker Payne fed the ball wide to the new player George Cowper who himself fed back to the flyhalf Rance. It was just a few steps then for Rance to feed Wilson for his the final try of the day at 15 to 30. Wilson this time hit the conversion and the end score stood at 15 to 32 a strong Shipston win. Shipston will now look forward to a rest weekend next week before playing the biggest game of the season at home against league leaders Earlsdon at Mayo road on 3rd December kick off at 2pm.
Saturday 5th November 2011
Rushden & Higham RUFC 30 - 20 Shipston
Shipston tumbled out of the RFU Senior Vase losing to Rushden and Higham by 30 points to 20 after leading for much of the match. With much of the regular first team out injured or sick, Shipstons extensive squad was called on with a number of players stepping up and putting in solid performances following a long bus trip to the Northampton side which involved a break down and a change of coaches which meant the Rams arrived just 15 minutes before kick off.Despite this Shipston started brightly quickly getting on the score sheet through Richard Wilson who stepped his way through the defence out wide. The home side responded with two penalties to get back in the game, before Shipston added a further try this time through full back Will Davies. The move had started with 2nd row Richard Spencer chasing the kick off and rising highest to reclaim the restart tapping back to captain Corby whose burrowing drive took the Rams up to the 22 before the ball was spread wide to his brother Tom inching closer to the line. With the ball held up and slowed down Toby Jones choose a slow ball of the ruck to prop Beeley to recycle the ball before going wide through the backs to find Davies who crossed out wide. Wilson then added his second, this time using his pace to run in from 40 metres out to open up a substantial margin.A fine take from the restart from prop and man of the match Ben Haines set another Shipston move under way with Scott Currie cutting through the defence at pace and setting the ball back to keep the ball alive. Currie then finished the move off in the corner only to be denied by a foot in touch. Rushden added another 3 points before the break to keep themselves in the game, after a hard, well timed tackle from George Bird , taking up the centre berth alongside his brother Josh, was harshly judged to have been late . Mark Jervis, sporting some dubious Movember growth, was back to his terrier like self as he returned to the fold of 1st team action partnered alongside Barnard and Hunt in the back row who provided a defensive wall with their tackling. With the change of end came a renewed Rushden side who began to put some moves together themselves as well as continuing in what was a solid defence covering Shipstons big running centre partnership. They were also well aided by some quizzical decisions at scrum time which began to count against Shipston. The tight Rams defence was eventually breached by the Rusden inside centre who scored from 5 metres out wrong footing the defence. Shipston again responded with Ben Haines instrumental as he took the ball on, finding space with his surprising turn of speed before feeding Currie who had a run scintillating line to slice open the defence making up for his early disallowed try with a fine score.With 10 minutes to go Rushden were only a point behind and still in the game thanks to their accurate kicking, despite having been thoroughly outplayed. Two defensive slips gave the home side a 10 point margin which the Rams were unable to recover from.This was valiant effort from a side pulled together for a game which at one stage Shipston looked like they were going to have to forfeit, with a number of players really fronting up when needed. With the cup lost Shipston will now concentrate on the battle for league promotion with only league games remaining.
Saturday 29th October 2011
Woodrush 6 - 15 Shipston
After racking up huge winning scores in previous weeks Shipston came up against a very different challenge away to a feisty Woodrush team – a fixture that the Rams have not won in four seasons. With some key personnel missing this game demonstrated the importance of having a large squad of quality players to choose from and why Shipston should prosper this season. Despite the changes the Rams ground out a 15-6 win in a physical encounter which showed they have the capability to be real contenders to top this league. The score line was almost irrelevant, with a Shipston win vital for continuity and maintaining pressure on the league leaders.From the opening minutes it was clear that this would be a tight game with the packs evenly matched and both back lines packing a punch in defence as well as genuine pace. After an initial foray into Shipston territory it was Woodrush who struck first with a straight forward penalty - their captain opting for the early points having seen the strength of the Shipston defence.The Shipston retort was swift with the back row of Barnard, Renardson and Payne putting early pressure on the Woodrush ten which soon began paying off as passes were spilled or kicks sliced. Barnard was particularly impressive in his first league start for the Rams, covering acres of pitch and scything down runners with text book tackling. A penalty and lineout gave Shipston the platform and ball for Matt Corby, playing at fly half, to unleash the back line who have been so potent all season. Tom Corby, playing at inside centre, was well matched by his opposite number, but had the strength to offload out of the tackle keeping the move alive. Quick hands through the backs found Will Davies on the wing who picked his way through the defence scoring in the corner. Toby Jones knocked over the tricky conversion to put Shipston back in command.Woodrush added a further penalty following Shipston indiscipline, but much of the remainder of the half was spent with Shipston camped in the Woodrush ten metre line with the front row of Savage, Hunt and Neale more than holding their own up front. A blood bin injury to Payne, whose broken nose from last weeks encounter gave out as he drove the ball on at the heart of a Shipston maul, saw Rance brought into the fold at fly half with Corby moving back to his usual position of hooker. This added dynamism to both the line out and back division allowing Davies and then Charlie Jones to come close. Indeed Shipston may have been more than one point ahead had it not been for a number of penalties which time after time released the pressure on Woodrush who struggled to clear their lines. As half time beckoned Woodrush ran a penalty from the half way line almost catching the Rams unaware, but great defence out wide by Jones, Bird and Davies saw the scores remain 6-7 at half time.With the change of ends Shipston gained the advantage of a slight end to end breeze which Rance made full use of putting in some deft kicks to the corner and providing Shipston with field position from which to attack. A driven lineout by the forwards came close to crossing the whitewash with the ball under the arm of Neale, before the ball was spread wide with Woodrush eventually conceding a penalty to give Shipston a four point lead and a little breathing space. Woodrush might have responded with a try of their own as their eight found some space in the Shipston 22, but a magnificent defensive effort from Tom Corby sprinting across the field not only stopped him in his tracks, but turned the ball over as the player became isolated.As the game moved into the final 20 minutes a try either way could have decided the outcome and it was Shipston who took their chance. A scrum 10 metres out provided the catalyst. Number 8 Renardson showed his faith in the Shipston pack to hold firm by making a bold call to pick and drive up the blindside off the back of the set piece. In a well worked move he committed the defence before passing to Jones who neatly fed the flying Josh Bird to dive over in the corner for a clinically taken try. Charlie Jones almost added another soon after as he chased down a hack through and crossed the line only to be called back for a knock on. Shipston ate up the remaining minutes kicking to the corner and stowing the ball safely in the hands of the pack.This was a solid display by Shipston with the style of victory showing that they have the metal to front up in tight games which will be essential in the latter stages of the season if they are to claim promotion. Shipston are on the road again next week travelling to Rushden & Higham for the 3rd round of the Senior Vase.
Saturday 22nd October 2011
Redditch 0 - 75 Shipston
With autumn taking a true grip over the Midlands and some tough fixtures in the pipeline second placed Shipston took to the road for the third time this season hoping to close the gap on top placed Earlsdon. Injuries and squad rotation meant a few changes so after a strong training week and encouraging words from senior players Shipston took to the field in confident style and after 19 minutes of tussle Richard Wilson opened the scoring account with a try down the left flank which proved to galvanise and reward the Shipston front eight spurring them into action furthermore. The front row of Savage, Eastgate and captain Matt Corby led from the front in the battle against a front row whilst conceding a large weight difference, nonetheless a platform was set and the mobility of the Shipston pack paid dividends. Shortly after the first try had been converted Tom Corby led a typical charge to put further daylight between the teams with Wilson converting, which became a common theme throughout the afternoon. The engine room of Ray and Spencer were excellent all afternoon dominating the lineout and working hard around the park setting up clean ball for Jones at scrum half and his backs. Edging towards half time James Wootton took a hard line into the heart of the Redditch team, unsurprisingly coming out on top scoring under the posts. Not wanting to be outdone right wing Josh Bird finished off another period of phase play to close the Shipston account at half time at 33-0.The halftime break did nothing to dampen the scoring instead simply refreshed some already salivating players wanting more and more points. Man of the match Aaron Neal typified this spirit and was outstanding all afternoon securing ball and leading the defensive charge meaning the team achieved goals set during the training week. He was able to reward his efforts with a great individual try and the floodgates began to open with Jones joining the score sheet on two occasions as well as full back Bryan who ran with balance and bossed the game from the back all afternoon.Sadly the afternoon’s events were dampened by an injury to club stalwart Les Digweed returning to the first fifteen after two seasons away from the game. Digweed in typical fashion was stuck in the middle of a collapsing maul and suffered a broken leg and dislocated ankle. I am however pleased to report the operation he undertook was a success and he will join us on the touch lines very soon. To the credit of Redditch RFC the game was moved to another pitch and the scoring resumed with Corby and Wootton adding to their tallies for the afternoon this time with Sam "the face" Payne taking the mantle with his "McCaw like" defence and work ethic.The game finished at 75-0 with much credit going to the hard working pack leaving a platform for the back line to thrive on. Shipston are on the road again in the upcoming fixture against Woodrush RFC and welcome any travelling support.
Saturday 15th October 2011
Shipston on Stour 54 - 25 Northampton Casuals
Shipston progress to the 3rd round of the Midlands Senior Vase after securing a solid 54-25 victory over Northampton Casuals. A much changed side from last weeks league victory demonstrated the depth in the current squad and put together some exciting passages of play.Winger Richard Wilson opened the scoring only 5 minutes in with a well taken try in the corner after some good tight play by the pack had secured useful ball on the opposition 22. The visitors struck back shortly afterwards with two penalties after making ground through Shipston errors and indiscipline at the break down.ny lead was short lived, however, as the back line made good use of some quick ball provided by the pack and restarts to score two quick tries through scrum half Toby Jones and Tom Corby, lining up alongside his brother in the centres. Indeed the Corby brothers caused problems for their opposite numbers all afternoon with their combination of direct running, power and pace allowing them to bust through tackles or skirt the defence on a number of occasions. Only some handling errors prevented further tries as the backs set about tearing the defence apart with some good support running from Neale, Ray and Hunt. The pack provided a solid platform, holding firm at scrum time and operating well at the line out with hooker Digweed easily picking out jumpers Bonner and Renardson in the air. Bonner also competed well on opposition lineout ball stealing possession at key moments while Renardson was ever present scavenging ball and making tackles all over the park.Having looked off the pace for the first 25 minutes, the visitors began to work their way back into the game through their sizeable pack which was clearly their best asset. After catching and driving a lineout Casuals eventually mauled the ball over the line after some, initially, good defence from the Rams gave way under sustained pressure. This set the tone for the remainder of the half as the visiting pack tried to recreate the driven lineout, but Shipstons defence held out with some effective work at the ruck and maul by second row Alex Ray driving the opposition runners back yards at the fringes and turning defence into attack. With a turn over won on their own 22 Shipston fly half Davies moved the ball wide with flowing hands working the ball down the pitch. This sudden counter attack got behind the Casual defence and following further quick ruck ball Bonner was able to find a gap to squeeze through close to the posts to score.Full back Rich Bryan worked well with his wingers to ensure the half was closed out with no further opposition score, putting in some ranging, touch finding kicks to keep the visitors pinned back.Following the change of ends Shipston made changes to personnel with Matt Corby moving to fly half and Charlie Jones slotting in alongside Tom Corby in the centres. Jones made an immediate impact as Shipston recovered the restart and used his pace and clever foot work to scamper in under the posts. Casuals then scored against the run of play after the Rams failed to deal with a clearance kick which bounced kindly for the visiting centre who sprinted 40 metres to the line. Further Rams tries followed soon after as Toby Jones jinked through the defence before picking out the supporting run of Bonner who added his second. Toby Jones then added two further tries of his own as he linked up with brother Charlie to complete a fine hat trick. Richard Wilson added to the score line with a near flawless display as he took on place kicking duties for the afternoon.The final 20 minutes was spent with the Rams largely on the back foot as they began to struggle at scrum time with the pack breaking up on a number of occasions. Despite sustained pressure close to the line the Rams defence stood firm repelling a number of attacks off the scrum, before the ball was spread wide for a try in the corner. A second phase of sustained pressure from a 5 metre scrum saw Ray sent to the bin for the last 2 minutes as he disrupted the Casuals drive, but the pack were able to hold out without further score.
Shipston return to league action next week travelling away to Redditch.
Saturday 1st October 2011
Old Leamingtonians 19 - 26 Shipston
Whilst the rest of the country were enjoying the hottest October on record Shipston proved they can play well in all weathers as all three teams had impressive wins home and away. The first team were away to local rivals Old Leamingtonians a team that had won both of there previous games and were looking to keep there trend as they faced the confident Shipston team. It started well for Shipston as a series of well worked phases saw the ball move from the hard charging Shipston centres of James Wooton and Tom Corby and fed out to the ever nimble Richard Bryan who danced around the Old Leamington defence and scored just short the centre leaving a difficult conversion attempt for wing Richard Wilson who struck the ball smoothly and added the additional 2 points. The restart was taken well but the hard charging Ash Bonner playing back in his old second row position snagged the Old Leamington player and in a perfect display of All Black style ‘jackling’ was able to secure a turnover ball for the Shipston scrum half Toby Jones to fed the ball out wide to solid flyhalf Tom Rance.ld Leamington stuck next with a well taken penalty kick, but the strong shipston pack were not going to take scores against them lightly and were soon providing a strong platform for Rance to again feed the ball out wide. This time it fell to Wilson to add his own score in the corner after a very impressive series of play saw slow ball from props Savage and Eastgate covered by the backrow of Neal and Ranardson. A powerful crash ball from the ever impressive Alex Ray, back in the second row after a few years break, saw the ball find its way to Wilson for his score. A nervous moment soon occurred as Shipston Captain Matt Corby caught a stray stud into his eye and went down injured but the strength of the man showed through as he brushed aside the cut and continued his laser straight line throws into the lineout.The Old Leams pressure was to continue with a further penalty but Shipston refused to break as the half came to an end. The Second half saw a well taken Old Leamingtonian try and conversion bring the scores closer, but replacement winger Charlie Jones soon scored one of his trade mark tries to strecth the Shipston lead. With the heat beating down on the players and their reserves of energy being drained it was time to bring on the reserves as prop Eastgate was replaced by back row Neal who in turn was replaced at blindside by Andy Hunt. Old Leams were not out of it though as they neared the Shipston try line the normally faultless number 8 John New was caught with a hand in the ruck and saw yellow so the smart Old Leams captain opted for a scrum. The extra man saw the scrum wheel leaving the blind side open for a well taken try. Shipston lead was being cut but winger Josh Bird was ready. At the restarted replacement openside Sam Payne was clattered off the ball but the loose ball was picked by Hunt who smoothly feed Neal for one of his trade mark charges. Fast recycling by captain Corby and prop Savage saw the ball find Bird who closed the game with a well taken try that wilson again converted. The final score was 19 - 26 and saw Shipston climb to second in the league just a few point as short of the top slot...a place the Rams will be looking to claim next week as the face the Old Yardleians at Mayo road.
Saturday 17th September 2011
Shipston 32 - 22 Old Coventrians
Shipston bounced back from last weekend’s disappointing defeat to Kings Norton on the opening day of the league season with a hard fought 32-22, bonus point win over Old Coventrians who travelled to Mayo Road for the Rams first home game of the new campaign.Old Coventrians arrived at Mayo Road, following relegation last season, with a strong side showing both strength up front and pace out wide and provided a real challenge for the Rams. It was Old Cov’s who struck first through a penalty kick , after the usually reliable Jones had narrowly missed with an early attempt at goal for the home side.The lead was short lived, however, as Shipston took advantage of a lineout on the 5 metre line following some excellent loose play by Bonner to win a turn over which Rance had kicked to the corner. A well rehearsed line out move saw the forwards come close, before the ball was recycled to the backs and delivered to Tom Corby who finished last season where he left off, cutting an incisive line through the defence to score under the posts. Jones converted. Shipston then entered a period of domination with the loose forwards of New, Renardson – welcomed back to the side after a year out injured - and Neale following Bonners lead competing hard at the rucks. The back line played their part in gaining possession as Wootton and Rance wrapped up their opposite numbers, closing down any space with each attack from the visitors. Corby was his usual fiery self in defence with one particularly shuddering tackle, putting his opposite man in his place to the delight of the crowd. Wood , Davies and Bryan coordinated well as a back three to ensure that any attacks beating the first up defence were quickly snuffed out , while scrum half Jones was always on hand to run the ball out of danger or provide a calming clearance to touch. With ball in hand Wootton was equally effective offering himself as a crash ball at any opportunity. As Shipston attacked the opposition 22 he was able to offload out of the tackle finding Rich Bryan joining the line from full back who freed James Wood in the corner to take the lead. Old Cov’s were soon back in the game, however, this time spreading the ball wide following a mauled line out as Shipston failed to deal with the restart which had gifted the visitors territory. The game ebbed and flowed further before half time as Tom Corby scored a copy book of his first try with Bryan adding the extras, before Old Cov’s rallied and drove over for a converted try on the stroke of half time to leave the scores at 17 a piece at the interval. ith the change of ends came a renewed Shipston surge as they attacked up the Mayo Road slope. Some excellent work at the lineout by the evergreen second rower Richard Spencer provided good ball which the Shipston pack drove in field and over the line with hooker ,and new captain, Matt Corby at the heart of the maul touching down following the eight man effort. With the pack buoyed, Shipston began to dominate at the scrum as props Savage and the experienced Eastgate gave their opposite numbers a torrid time in the set piece winning a number of Shipston penalties. Shipston soon extended their lead with the ”manx maestro” James Wood adding to his tally following some slick backs play with Rich Bryan again providing the final pass.With 20 minutes remaining the visitors pressed hard, closing the points gap with a converted chip and chase, solo try from their winger. As conditions changed following an icy down pour, Shipston were under sustained pressure and looked in danger of capitulating before they were able to break out of their own 22, firstly through Wootton, and then through Bryan running from deep before linking with the hard running Wood. With 5 minutes remaining and with the flow of possession slowed by the opposition, Rance put the game to sleep with a well struck drop goal which took the Rams two scores clear allowing the home side to close out the game in relative comfort. The victory showcased much of the hard work that the squad and coaching staff have put in over the past two months of pre season training and can be seen as a benchmark in a season which shows plenty of promise with a real depth of talent within the club. Shipston will look to push on from this win when they travel to Old Leamingtonians on 1st October.