Upton lose at league leaders
Inexperienced side fight hard but to no avail
Upton went to league leaders Shipston without almost half the team that beat Rugby St Andrews the previous week. With skipper Max Macfarlane awaiting the birth of his first child and then James Gammond, Matt Glading, Chris Thomas, Dan Aldersey, Dave Humphries, Will Cullwick all missing from last week plus Rich Clive and Harry Stokes still unavailable the riverside club gave a debut to Ross Whitehead in the back row as well as only a second start for Noah Morris on the wing.
However despite the result Upton put in a stellar performance and in truth should have come away with at least a losing bonus point if not more.
Playing on a smaller than usual pitch Upton’s energy was first class as they defended bravely what Shipston threw at them. But the home side took the lead after 10 minutes when they chipped over the Upton back line from 20 metres out and won the race to touch down. 5-0.
Upton though realised that they had the match of the home side up front and used this to their advantage. From a penalty on half way Rob Heeley put the ball into touch 5 metres out and from the resultant catch and drive line out Heeley was at the back of the maul to touch down. With both conversions missed the score was level at 5-5.
The game stayed very level for the rest of the half. Firstly Shipston edged in front with a penalty and then Heeley sunk a penalty off his own to make the half time score 8-8.
The second half though saw Shipston’s experience start to take hold. Using powerful runners the home side dominated possession and territory but still Upton’s defence held firm. The home kicked a penalty with 20 minutes left to make it 11-8 but it wasn’t until 10 minutes from the end of the game that they got their second try when after Upton ran out of defenders they scored in the corner. 16-8.
As Upton tried to get another score to reduce the arrears and maybe snatch a losing bonus point or more Shipston stole the ball and powered downfield and after Upton again bravely defended they ran out of defenders for Shipston to score in the same corner. This time the conversion was made to make the final score 23-8.