Saturday 11th September 2010
Sutton Coldfield 3rds 33 - 12 Shipston on Stour 3rds
Shipston 3rds travelled to Sutton Coldfield on Saturday to play the first League fixture in what will prove to be a very competitive Warwickshire League this season. The game started well enough for the Rams with a score nearly coming from early pressure but a mistake led to Sutton scoring under the posts – this sadly became the pattern for the rest of the first half with plenty of good rugby from Shipston only to be thwarted by early season mistakes that led to 2 more scores. Too many bodies committed to rucks and mauls left inevitable gaps for opportunistic play to be exploited by large Sutton forwards.
The second half started with great intent from Shipston with a team try scored by Chris Forman, but sadly a further defensive mistake led to a score that put the game beyond the reach of the Rams but credit goes to the side for continuing to batter away at the opposition and this resulted in the club chairman making a welcome return to the side with a rampaging bull of a try to the corner. The game closed out 33 – 12 in Suttons favour but there was plenty to be positive about in this first encounter of the season
Saturday 18th September 2010
Shipston 3rds 12pts- Wellesbourne 58pts
Not a good day at the office for Shipston 3rds on Saturday with the home team having a difficult afternoon containing the youthful Wellesbourne side. Control was never really forthcoming up front from Shipston where although ball was used effectively on occasions Wellesbourne secured enough possession to take the points with their lively backs - special note to the elusive scrum half and full back/ wingers who enjoyed an afternoon scampering around with plenty of space to work in.
Good team scores did come from Lee Williams and Muddy Waters that gave the Rams their points and a special mention for new old comer to the thirds Tom Jarvis who had an outstanding match in both attack and defence and will prove to be a great asset to the side provided he stays in one piece.
Saturday 2nd October
Old Laurentians 3rds 17 - 20 Shipston on Stour 3rds
The Shipston 3rds recommenced their league campaign with a trip to Old Laurentaians on Saturday in what all knew would be a tough fixture, and the home side did not disappoint. The game started with The Rams pressuring at all areas, the forwards proved to be competitive and the backs in lively mood. The first score came from a dynamic scrum that saw the Rams pack in rampant mood as they drove the Old Laurentains back over the line for a push over try scored by Andy Powell in a perfectly organised manoeuvre. Sadly it was at the cost of redoubtable scrummager Club Chairman Mark Ashworth who retired with a strained calf muscle after the effort -but satisfied with a job well done. The game continued with Shipston in the ascendancy with a penalty from Brian Hobill but Laurentians struck back with a score of their own. However The Rams responded in fine style with an excellent team try finished off by Chris Forman.
The back row continued to maraud as a unit around the park and the backs tackled ferociously. The score was 17-7 in the Rams favour at half time and a close game was always on the cards. Old Laurentains applied pressure but Shipston remained calm throughout - which proved to be telling as the home side became frustrated and came under harsh inspection from the referee who was not afraid to stamp his authority on the game. The match finished 20-17 in Shipston’s favour and an excellent all round team performance.
Shipston 3rds 22pts Newbold on Avon 3rds 24pts
The Rams welcomed Newbold 3rds to Mayo Road on Saturday for a Warwickshire League fixture in what proved to be a close and enthralling game. The home side started in excellent fashion with two tries in quick succession from the irrepressible Carl Hamilton at Full back as he shrugged off Newbold defenders to score two similar tries with well timed runs into the line and a resultant 14-0 lead. However Newbold found their rhythm and replied with a score of their own to close the deficit to 17-7 at half time.
This was further reduced by a penalty, but Shipston showed sparkling form with a well deserved try by Nick Briggs who finished off a flowing move that involved all of the team and a commanding lead of 12 points with 10 minutes to go. However with several key players missing in the pack this week the forwards started to tire and Newbold capitalised with 2 scores that took them into a 2 point lead with seconds to go. The Rams valiantly tried to redress the balance with a whole hearted effort on the opposition line but this week it was to be to no avail and a narrow loss was the final result.
Saturday 16th October 2010
Spartans Midlands 28 - 39 Shipston on Stour 3s
A trip to Spartans was the 3rd XV destination for Saturday and it saw a curate’s egg of a performance from the Rams. The side stated well pressuring at all areas of the game `that seemed to show that a big score would be on the cards. The pack were dominant in the loose and set pieces and the backs were cutting some decent lines in attack. This resulted in a try for Tim Brendon making a healthy return to action with a trade mark charge for the line and an inevitable score. Carl Hamilton again demonstrated great running skills in scoring under the posts and with Brian Hobill with his kicking boots on it was 20-0 at half time.
It therefore was a game that the Rams should have had complete control of, but to the Spartans credit, and true to their name, they never gave up and whenever possible they sniffed out an opportunity to score due to poor defensive duties from the normally reliable Shipston side. In the second half special mention needs to be made of a flowing team try finished off with much satisfaction by Rob Fox to his obvious delight, and an excellent muscular try from Andy Powell assisted by the rest of the pack. Brian Hobill not to be outdone by Foxy scored with a close range diving effort from 2 metres out bringing the score to 39-28 in the Rams favour.
Saturday 7th November 2010
Shipston 3rds 43 - 0 Dunlop 3rds
Saturday saw a break from league action and a chance to welcome new rivals in Dunlop to Mayo road. The game was delayed by 15 minutes to allow the gathering of players but it still left the side potentially starting with just 12. Fortunately Boggy was on hand to answer the call and was rock solid in his scrummaging duties, Andy Hunt stepped up to plate and made his mark on the game but the best was saved for an innocent bystander, Jon Eaton, who had come to watch the match with club sponsor Phil Salt and had already enjoyed an invigorating Guinness when the immortal words were asked “have you got your kit”? Fortunately for the Rams he had, and his Army pedigree proved him to be an able replacement for Spenny who was booked for higher duties that Saturday.
The game began with Shipston in determined mood not to underestimate a more youthful looking Dunlop side and an early score resulted for the impressive new signing James Sturla from full back as he finished off an excellently worked backs move with a try. This was soon followed by another, and with Brian Hobill at fly half dominating proceedings he also saw his name on the score sheet. Half time saw Shipston 19-0 up and a resolve not to allow Dunlop a foothold in the proceedings consequently the pack took charge and controlled all aspects of possession which saw forward tries for Martin Goodman, making a welcome return to 3rd team duties, after good work from the back row. A try from Andy Hunt resulted after tremendous support play that involved most members of the side and John Eaton’s afternoon was rewarded as he finished off another move in the corner.
The afternoon was wrapped up in fine style by James Sturla adding his third try of the afternoon and rounding off an excellent team performance against a Dunlop side who to their credit kept battling to the very end.
Saturday 13th November
Shipston 3rds 52 pts Evesham 3rds 12pts
Evesham 3rds visited Mayo road on Saturday and replaced the absentee Leamington 3rds who were unable to fulfil their League duties. The opposition looked youthful but quite capable as was shown with some zealous tackling but The rams weathers the storm and took an early 12 point lead with tries from Martin Goodman and direct running from Dave Graham back at centre. The opposition replied with an assault on the Shipston line that got them into the game but just as quickly out of it as Evesham convinced themselves that The Rams were a spent force. Foxy thought otherwise, and whilst he detained several of the opposition forwards Shipston scored in the corner through the ever improving James Sturla from full back. The game was still evenly poised when Nick Briggs produced a try saving moment that saw him sprint the length of the field to haul down the opposition break away centre with a magnificent tackle. With the half time score at 21-12 in the Rams favour there was determination to put the visitors to the sword.
This was achieved without the services of the Chairman Mark Ashworth who was sin binned just before half time for over eagerness in the ruck or was it Martin Goodman? On his return he more than made up for it by scoring the next try after good support work. By now Shipston were very much in the ascendancy and further scores came from Dave Graham, James Sturla, Brian Hobill and young Rich Bryan who looks to be a promising player for the future at Shipston. With Brian Hobill donning his kicking boots the Rams recorded a satisfying 52-12 victory- sterner tests await.
Saturday 11th December 2010
Shipston 3rds 21 - 43 Old Yardleians 3rds
A rearranged fixture was required when Leamington 3rds could not field a league side late on Friday night - The skipper not expecting a chance of a game stood down his warriors from the 3rds only to change the instructions 5 minutes later as Old Yards were keen to visit Mayo road. Unfortunately the Christmas shopping alternative claimed several key players as the team reassembled for an excellent challenge against experienced opposition. The Old Yards had not lost this season and possessed a winger that used speed and strength to great effect coming out with a 5 try tally for the afternoon. Indeed in many ways he was the difference between the two sides as The Rams were competitive elsewhere once they had recovered from a lethargic start.
Carl Hamilton proved to be a handful as he scored 2 tries that used all his skill and determination and Martin Goodman released from domestic duties crossed the line in the second half after a forward surge. The game was played in excellent spirit and ably refereed by Rob Hawkins who answered the call at the last minute to officiate, congratulations to Old Yards for stepping in at the last moment - The Rams will look forward to a return fixture
Saturday 8th January 2011
Shipston 3rds 8 - 10 Earlsdon 3rds
League duties recommenced with a visit from Earlsdon 3rds - a side that the Rams had beaten earlier in the season. Unfortunately it was a week end when the Rams back line were not available consequently players were out of position in crucial areas of the team. To make up for this Shipston fielded a strong pack with Mark Ashworth, Richard Spencer and Nick Holdsworth all playing important roles. The game started with all of the pressure coming from the Shipston 8 and was rewarded when Tim Brendon applied the coup de gras with a fine try following a forward spell of domination. The conversion from out wide was missed and this proved to be crucial. The first half continued with The Rams applying massive pressure - indeed after a particularly strong forward surge that saw a trundling maul advance 45 metres down the pitch when the ball was released and sadly a mistake was made the Earlsdon backs gleefully counterattacked and the opposition wing scored under the posts to take the score to 7-5 in the visitors favour at half time
The second half continued with The Rams applying most of the pressure from the forwards but to Earlsdon’s credit they tackled ferociously and kept the Shipston pack at bay even though the Chairman crossed the line and scored what would have been the winning try - luck had deserted the Rams as the referee was undecided if the ball had been grounded. The team continued to give a huge effort throughout and came off the pitch feeling disappointed that the effort produced a 2 point loss. Things will get better!
Saturday 15th January 2011
Brackley 2nds 0 pts Shipston 3rds 15pts
A large, keen squad of 20 players visited Brackley on Saturday after Nuneaton Old Eds failed to honour their league fixture. The game was played on a muddy surface that made playing conditions very difficult. Despite abberations from kick offs The Rams got stuck into their younger opponents with relish and the forwards warmed to the task of dismantling their opponents, the pack was on fine form with all contributing a steady flow of sensible possession that saw Shipston exploiting opportunities whenever they arose. On one occasion the pack and backs combined in a sweeping move that went the length of the pitch and had the crowd on the touch line applauding in approval, but the first score came to the robust Mark Ashworth following a fine forward drive. This was followed by Tim Brendon showing great determination to turn the pressure into points just before half time.
With 10 points on the board the second half was going to be a close affair and with touchline skipper Paul Horton urging the replacements to play out of their skins they did not disappoint and the same standard of forward endeavour was applied in the second half. The pack continued the policy of keeping hold of the ball and when the backs were able to get into the game they too did not let their teammates down and did not give possession away. A score on the wing from Tom Jarvis secured the win for the Rams but perhaps most pleasing for all concerned was the fact that the opposition were denied the chance to score - a thoroughly muddy but extremely satisfied squad of 3rds from Shipston won the day.
Saturday 5th February 2011
Shipston 3rds 21pts 11 pts Old Laurentians
Saturday saw League action for the thirds at Mayo Road as the home side welcomed visitors Old Laurentians. Fixtures against the side from Rugby are always competitive “honest” games and this proved to be no different. The early action saw The Rams establishing a muscular superiority up front with the forwards relishing the challenge of playing the conditions sensibly and pinning the Old Laurents’s down in their half. Taking advantage of the possession that was being afforded Shipston, Brian Hobill danced his way over for a try that he converted to add to a penalty that gave Shipston an nearly 10 point lead. This was increased much to the delight of all the forwards when Foxy worked his way over for a try well assisted by his pack colleagues.. The score at half time was crucial at 18-0 as the fear was would it be enough to hold onto with the wind roaring into the Shipston team.
Blood replacements were the order of the day as Andy Powell and Dave Graham both succumbed to head injuries that required attention. Fortunately The Rams had a more than able replacement in Sam Russell as he warmed to the task of taking the game to an increasingly more lively visitors side that were getting the bit between their teeth as they worked out how to interpret the referee in a more positive manner. Both gashed heads were repaired with blue turbans and Powell and Graham returned to the fray to continue their positive contributions. This was just as well as Foxy had previously being leading the charge for more glory when he was hauled down inches fron the line with cries of where is Dave when you need him. Sadly the redoubtable Foxy was unable to continue the game having incurred elbow and lung injuries. The game finished 21-11 in Shipston’s favour and full credit to a most enjoyable and competitive game from worthy opponents.
Saturday 12th February 2011
Redditch 3rds 12pts Shipston 3rds 17 pts
A large flat pitch over at Redditch was the 3rd team destination on Saturday and with several key positional places in the pack a hard afternoon was going to be guaranteed. However the 3rds decided that the best way of dealing with an experienced Redditch team was to take the game to the opposition and capitalise on scoring opportunities as they arose. With Pete Organ making his debut for the thirds he looked lively in the opening minutes as he galloped away on the wing making useful ground, this was capitalised on by the backs as they supported and combined well when Dave Graham dived over to finish a move that saw some of the best of the Shipston threequarters. With Brian Hobill having his kicking boots on conversions and penalties were on the cards so following a further try from James Sturla The Rams closed out the half totally in control at 17-0 up.
However any notion that this was to be a comfortable victory were soon dispelled as Redditch mounted a series of attacks unfortunately they chose to attack through the midfield which was a mistake as Forman, Hobill and Graham were is fine tackling mood making progress for the Redditch backs impossible. Indeed when they did break through they found the excellent James Sturla at full back in a stubborn frame of mind as he thumped into the opposition at every opportunity and stopped promising attacks in their tracks. Despite these endeavours the opposition came back into the game through a curious try that the referee took pot luck on, and a further try after forward pressure took the score to 17-12.. The Rams wanted the win and saw off the game comfortably with special mention going to those playing through injury and out of postion but accquitting themselves well. Messers Foxy, Coxy and Williams.
Saturday 19th February 2011
Shipston 3rds 11pts Sutton Coldfield 3rds 7pts
Mayo road saw the visit of league leaders Sutton Coldfield on Saturday. Shipston were bereft of several key players that were either on skiing duties, first team duty or injured so the approach to the game was cautious. However the skipper need not have worried as the restructured 3rds rose magnificently to the occasion, and right from the kick off the pack surged into the opposition to put right the early loss in the season. With newcomer Ollie Newbury to the fore the pack established the platform for Dave Graham showing great determination to score in the corner, this was followed by a penalty from Nick Briggs that took The Rams into a early lead that should have lasted longer but an interception by the Sutton backs gave the visitors a 7 point gift and an 8-7 score line at half time.
The determination in the side not to be beaten was shown by the pressure exerted in all facets of the game from the backrow who tackled ferociously throughout to the backs who to a man outplayed their opposite numbers, who were guilty of overcomplicating their efforts with passes that didn’t go to hand and were picked on by the scavenging Shipston players. All 15 are worthy of mention in what proved to be an excellent hard fought victory with young George Cowper taking the honours for man of the match with an excellent performance.
Saturday 26th February 2011
Shipston 3rds 29 - 5 Old Leamingtonians 3rds
The Rams welcomed old rivals Old Lems to a very wet and muddy Mayo road on Saturday and with Old Lems bolstered by a large squad of 2nds who found themselves let down by Wellesbourne earlier in the day - captain Lester had good reason to feel confident of a strong challenge. However the 3rds have made a habit of starting strongly and were bolstered with the addition of a couple of old warhorses to the action Pete Gardner and Jimmy Organ. Both were hugely competitive throughout and indeed Jimmy Organ was responsible for setting up the Rams first try with a strong tackle on his opposite number that saw him the first to react to send George Cowper scampering away to score his first try of the afternoon. So buoyed by enthusiasm by this Jimmy Organ then added a score of his own. The forwards by now had got a head of steam up and with Andy Powell deputising all too well at prop alongside Olli Newbury and a sun burnt Chairman Mark ashworth a steady stream of possession and territory meant Charlie Cox could scamper over in the corner. Old Lems rallied well and used their strong centre effectively to score just before half time to make the score 17-5.
The Rams though were in determined mood and with Brian Hobill marshalling the backs well with superb Territorial kicking the young George Cowper took full advantage of his team mates giving him opportunities that he added a further 2 tries to give the youngster a fine 3 try haul. Special mention must be made also of young Tom O Donnell who performed extremely well in the second row for his debut. With the game reduced to a mud wrestling match in the finish some of the older payers were glad of the final whistle and the prospect of a hot shower particularly veteran Keith Hoskin who resembled the Shipston Bog monster of 3 seasons ago but all were delighted with their performance and a 29-5 win.
Shipston 3rds 44 pts Leamington 3rds 7pts
A further league re-arranged home fixture for Shipston 3rds saw Leamington as the visitors to a very muddy Mayo road. Indeed it was a distinct possibility that the conditions would make an open game an impossibility but this was not the case as both sides attacked at every opportunity. The Leamington pack started with some alacrity and the first few minutes were spent with Shipston holding firm under early pressure., normal service was resumed however when George Cowper rounded off a move with a score that Brian Hobill converted. This was followed by a determined run on the wing by Mark Ashworth who saw the try line and the presence of defenders as an excellent challenge and barrelled his way over. Further scores came from Carl Hamilton making a welcome return and twinkle toes Hobill who danced his way over for a well made try – those toes were put to good use when he succeeded with a neatly taken drop goal later in the game.
The second half started with a rearrangement of the team as Tim Brendon had to retire with a broken hand but the game continued with Shipston defying the conditions to put together some great team handling moves that involved all, and scores came from Dave Graham, George Cowper and the Duracell battery performance of Chris Forman who is always on hand to link in with a move – the last score though of the game came from Leamington’s speedy full back who negotiated the tearrain to his adavantage as he stayed on the higher, drier griound to round the Rams defence that was wading in treacle to catch up with him.
Kenilworth 3rds 5 pts Shipston 3rds 52 pts
A trip away from the mudbath of Shipston to Kenilworth was The Rams task this Saturday and the team took full advantage of the dry conditions to exercise their backs skills. The game started with Shipston testing the resolve of the Kenilworth back line and soon exploited the lack of pace out wide with a try from George Cowper this was soon followed by Tom Jarvis spotting the misalignment of the oppostion centres and galloping through the inviting gap.for a further score. The pack set about providing a steady stream of of possession with first class service from the lineout and a new back row combination of Russell,Spencer and Forman who did not take long to settle into a productive unit.
The pattern of the game was dominated by some excellent mid field tackling particularly from Dave Graham who stifled the dangerous Kenilworth centre with thunderous hits his example inspired the rest of the team to follow suit and was a feature of Shipstons performance. Tries flowed throughout with Carl Hamilton, Dave Graham and George Cowper helping themselves to a brace each, but the try of the day was reserved for Nasty Nick who travelled 40 metres for a rare try from the second row which greatly upset his new partner Neil Griffiths who was keen to do the same. A thoroughly satisfying victory for the Rams.
Shipston 3rds 17 pts Harbury 2nds 3 pts
Shipston knew that this was going to be a difficult encounter after losing earlier in the season to the younger outfit from near neighbours Harbury. However The Rams have been in a rich vein of form so they approached the game with a steely confidence that was epitomised with their trade mark pressurised start which eventually lead to a try from the dangerous Carl Hamilton in the centre. The 7 point lead though was all that Shipston were going to get for most of the game as Harbury defended the midfield with real determination.
Throughout the tussle though the Rams forwards stuck to their task and proved more adept at securing the loose ball, and out mauled their younger opponents at every opportunity - indeed with Martin Goodman taking on the role of the quiet assassin in the loose and Chris Forman making life for all members of the opposition as difficult as possible a Shipston victory was never in doubt. This was despite the fact that the score was 7-3 in The Rams favour until 5 minutes from the end when the backs eventually found a way through the Harbury defence that saw a fine move finished off by the alert Dave Graham in the corner. This was followed by a magnificent forward effort that saw the back row combining skillfully to see Andy Powell dive over for a well deserved score despite feeling slightly the worse for wear after his Cheltenham exertions. Another satisfying victory for the Shipston 3rds.
Newbold on Avon 3rds 22 pts Shipston on Stour 3rds 7pts
A top of the table clash was the order of the day at Newbold on Saturday with the home side already winners of the league it was a question whether The Rams could beat the only side that they have not defeated in their league. Unfortunately the Shipston side lost their midfield due to unavailability and this required a change to the set up of the team that saw Sam Russell stepping into Carl Hamilton’s shoes and the ever dependable Tom Jarvis into Dave Grahams. With a strong pack to hand hopes were high in the Shipston camp. Indeed throughout the game the forwards didn’t give an inch and territorially were the match for their opponents throughout the game.
However the unexpected always happens to upset the best laid plans and two interception tries from floated passes by the dangerous Newbold centre sealed the Rams fate as a 14 point deficit proved too much of a hill to climb. With the score at 17-0 in Newbold’s favour at half time the best The Rams could achieve was to win the second half this was done through a typically robust try by Brian Hobill that was converted by Keith Hoskin. The commitment was there in bucket loads but the opposition deserved their win and to be top of the League - congratulations to them for an excellent season.
Shipston on Stour 3rds 55 pts Huddersfield YMCA Vets 0 pts
A sunny Mayo Road was the setting for a visit from raucous and highly entertaining tourists from Huddersfield on Saturday for the last game of the season. It was also the last games for a trio of long serving 50 + year olds at Shipston as skipper Paul Horton, human dynamo Chris Forman and the master of the dark arts Daryl Hunter all called time on their rugby careers. However this did not stop the Rams giving a suitable send off for the triumvirate in fine style. Playing in the centre with son James Horton was always going to be a temptation too much to resist and the combination soon released the elusive Carl Hamilton for an early score in the corner. Indeed the filial connection was further enhanced when the Chairman's son Tom Ashworth enjoyed a storming debut for the thirds as he scored a try in the second half supported to the line under the watchful eye of father Mark. The running of the backs was always going to be too much for Huddersfield to handle as Mike Hallam enjoyed his afternoon at full back that resulted in scores for both himself and James Horton.
The second half began with Keith Hoskin making the most of his substitution of Paul Horton with a welcome introduction to the game from Charlie Cox at scrum half that had most of the Huddersfield side attached to the ball as he received it. However in true 3rds style he shrugged off this minor inconvenience and danced his way over for two tries that gave a glimpse of past glories. It was good to see Muddy Waters getting in on the action with a try in the second half as he supported a break made by the now dominant back line. Of course any game cannot be won unless the forwards do their work in the tackle area and in the loose and once again new skipper Tim Brendon didn't disappoint with several bone crunching tackles that had the opposition gasping literally. Any loose ball was seized upon by the marauding Richard Spencer, cunning Martin Goodman, wily Rob Fox who delighted the crowd with a try as he ably supported the runaway backs, versatile Andy Powell, the new master of dark arts Andy Cox making a cameo performance at the end of the day and a repaired Richard Wixey - with players such as these in the side for years to come the 3rds at Shipston will continue to remain a formidable force in the Warwickshire area. With the game well and truly won it was a fitting climax to the long careers of Horton, Forman and Hunter as they happily trooped off to the clubhouse with memories of past campaigns to bore all and sundry who would care to listen!!
3rd Team Captain (Retired)