STRATFORD under-12s continued their excellent start to the season with a comprehensive victory in their annual floodlit derby with Shipston.
With a smaller squad, Shipston stuck to their task valiantly, carrying on despite the loss of key players to injury, but victory for the boys in black and white was never in doubt.
Jago Vialan and Joel Morris led the way, sucking in defenders with their powerful carrying but there was skill aplenty too.
Joel Hewett bamboozled the defence first with a beautifully sold dummy and then in an excellent back-and-forth exchange of passing in the centre with Charles Squires.
Captain Aidan Blann showed deft hands in addition to his assured running style and alongside Leo Petch never missed a tackle.
Charlie Whorrod and Oliver Feaver proved irrepressible as ever, uncatchable when given a shred of space.
Artie Dobson provided quick ball in his first outing as scrum-half and alongside Matthew Belcher never gave Shipston an easy ride when ball was not theirs.
Perhaps most pleasing of all was the progress shown by James Cottam and by Henry Frost. Both tall and powerful, each has grown into their stature this season and carried, tackled and rucked with purpose and tenacity.
The depth of this year’s squad is impressive as proved by results so far. Stiffer tests to come will require the full squad to play with their heads up. For now, however, each of Stratford’s players can hold their head up high.
Sharks 8-0 Shipston (Belcher, Hewett, Feaver (2), Dobson, Blann, Whorrod (2), Vialan). Stripes 7-0 Shipston (Fotheringhame, Hewett (2), Mullaly, Squires (2), Vialan)
Squad: Matthew Belcher, Charlie Billings, Aidan Blann, James Cottam, Artie Dobson, Oliver Feaver. Stan Fotheringhame, Henry Frost, Joel Hewett, Harri Liggins, Joel Morris, Jamie Mullaly, Leo Petch, Charles Squires, Jago Vialan, Charlie Whorrod