On a miserable day, Shipston welcomed the travelling Wednesbury to Mayo Road for this Junior Vase encounter, fresh from the disappointment of being unable to field a registered side the previous week. With a few new faces in the team and a fresh perspective after the battling performance against Woodrush, the Rams started the game brightly in the poor conditions, having the lions share of possession and utilizing the forwards to pick from the base of the ruck and make good yards. As comfortable as Shipston looked in possession, the score board remained untroubled until the half hour mark. Having drawn the Wednesbury forwards close to the break down, the Rams switched up their play and spun the ball wide with great pace to set Tom Barry away down the left touchline. After beating a couple of defenders he was supported brilliantly by Sam Cooper, who raced away under the posts for the first score of the game. Rob James added the extras to give Shipston a 7-0 lead.
Their second try followed shortly after, with more good handling and support play, switching the attack from left to right and leaving Wednesbury chasing shadows across the park. Sam Treadgold and Matt Corby linked up on the left hand side and then the ball was spun quickly out to the right touchline, where Ricky Ashby showed great pace to sprint away for the second try of the game, 12-0 Shipston at half time.
The second half began with more success for the home side. The forwards in particular were really beginning to get on top in open play, Jack Coupland, steven baker and Martin Goodman making some great yards and the returning Sam Green from the wilderness, smashing anything that ran anywhere near him. Tommy Barry got the third of the Shipston tries with more good handling work from Rob James creating the gap for him to burst through and touch down, 17-0. There was a momentary laps of concentration from the Rams however, allowing the Wednesbury flanker to run under the posts unopposed from a line out, seemingly gliding through the middle of the maul to canter in under the sticks, 17-7. That seemed the kick up the backside that Shipston required, and they went on to finish the game strongly, scoring their 4th try of the afternoon through Andy Hunt, following another passage of good off loading and support play. Final score 22-7 to Shipston and a welcome return to winning ways.
Man of the match for me was Sam Green, who seemlessly slotted back into the team and was ferocious in defence all afternoon. Credit must go to Wednesbury who showed character throughout the afternoon and also plenty in the club house afterwards, joining in with all the antics and making for a memorable evening. We look forward to a return fixture soon!