Returning Shipston-on-Stour 3rds treated to bumper crowd
THERE was a bumper crowd at Mayo Road on Friday night to see Shipston 3rds play their first game in three years.
Swelled by bus loads of Cheltenham racegoers, the crowd watched a thoroughly entertaining game under the lights, with a well-drilled Harbury outfit running out 17-12 winners.
The initiative of appealing to ex-players, veterans, former colts, mini and junior coaches and newbies to the game paid off as the mass ranks of Shipston players spilled over into two changing rooms.
Team manager Martin Goodman stopped counting at 35 names, the only number greater than this was the advancing age of some of the players coming out of retirement.
Not surprisingly, Harbury started the stronger and were able to take advantage as many of the Shipston players were still learning each other’s names.
A period of Shipston pressure went unrewarded and in no time Harbury scored three tries and a single conversion, giving them a 17-0 lead at half-time.
However, Shipston’s tough tackling and growing dominance in the set-piece started to pay dividends and the more settled team in the second half saw them pull back with two well-worked tries.
Chairman Andrew Powell said: “All in all it was a fantastic game, the result completely overshadowed by the number of players on the pitch and the fun in the clubhouse afterwards. The next game is already being planned.”
Barkers Butts Extras 7
Shipston-on-Stour 2nds 17
SHIPSTON 2nds got the better of Barkers Butts Extras in a hotly-contested Warwickshire League Division One fixture on Saturday.
The Rams started strongly, competing well in the scrums and dominating the line-outs courtesy of accurate throws from captain Sam Treadgold as well as great work in the air from George Willcock.
Shipston scored two early tries from stand-in centre Charlie Hutchings and full-back Chris Cummy, both capitalising on opposition mistakes and some nice hands in the backline.
For the remainder of the first half and the majority of the second, the game became a real arm wrestle as Barkers fought their way back in securing a try of their own to pull the score back to 12-7 with 30 minutes remaining.
With time running out and the game very much in the balance, the untried half-back pairing of Henry Hopkins and Sam James started to find the right Shipston game plan and started to hit the touchlines deep in the Barkers half.
No sooner had Hopkins slipped over whilst attempting a penalty from the 22, Shipston were awarded another effort as the Barkers forwards failed to release a ball on the ground.
This time James opted to nudge the ball into the corner and from the ensuing five-man line-out, Willcock secured great possession and the Shipston pack drove the ball over the line in a textbook planned move, with Andy Powell dropping over the try line for the final score of the match.
Willcock was named man-of-the-match for his all-action performance.
Old Yardleians U17s 0
Shipston-on-Stour U17s 38
SHIPSTON’s young players took every chance that came their way, as they ran-in seven unanswered tries to record a comfortable 38-0 win over Old Yardleians on Sunday.
The match provided an opportunity to blood a number of the club’s talented U16s in preparation for their step-up to Colts rugby next season.
Old Yards stuck to their game plan, drove round the fringes and dominated the early scrums, but the tenacious Shipston side tackled the opposition to a standstill and capitalised on the inevitable mistakes.
Playing champagne rugby, Shipston scored an impressive seven tries to record an emphatic 38-0 success.