Shipston hit top of league at Manor Park's expense
MANOR Park scored the first and last points of this try-laden encounter.
But a tidal wave of sublime counter-attacking tries saw hosts Shipston race to a comfortable victory.
gave his side an early lead as he extended his run of matches with at least one successful penalties kicked to six.
Shipston hit back to take the lead with a try against the run of play but it was Manor Park who went in at the interval ahead after second-row-for-the-day Chris Goode
drove over from close range.
But the south Warwickshire hosts rallied after the break to score six unanswered tries, ruthlessly punishing missed tackles with a combination of excellent running lines, well-timed offloads and support play.
Park heads did not drop and they would have the final scoring action of the match when an inevitable try was denied by a knock on which resulted in a penalty try.
It was Shipston’s fifth victory in six games and saw them roar to the top of Midlands 3 West South and end a sequence of four games against Manor Park without a victory.
For the defeated men in red and black there were plenty of positives to salvage. The work of Joe Reynolds
and man-of-the-match Gaz Hammond was industrious and powerful and the amount of try-scoring chances created gave heart.
But a leaky defence that shipped six second-half tries is now the second worst in the division, with only bottom club Old Wheatleyans – humbled at home 12-64 by Old Coventrians – having conceded more.
Upton’s bonus points gained in their defeat to Ledbury saw them move a place above Manor Park into ninth. The two sides meet in a fortnight’s time as captain Chris Goode
’s men enter a critical spell in their season.
With a nine-point buffer over second-bottom Bromyard, Park host Upton, travel to Alcester before facing Bromyard in mid-February.
A free weekend lies ahead to assist with an ever-growing injury list which saw Park forced into fielding captain and prop Chris Goode
in the second row and a bench averaging nearly 40 years of age – including the youngest replacement Gary Lakin
, summoned to first-team action after arriving at head quarters to fix the oven on Saturday morning!
Despite these struggles, Park managed to field two teams on Saturday afternoon and while results did not go their way, the club is slowly rebuilding after a worrying end to 2017.
Next up is the second team’s trip to AEI Rugby on Saturday with players advised to contact Podge Everard regarding availability, training is on Tuesday night at Nuneaton Academy from 7.45pm.