After an intense pre-season Shipston were looking forward to their first game of the new Season but it proved to be a big challenge. Prior to kick off it was decided that the match wouldn't be a full 80 minutes instead it would be a 60 minute match made up of three 20 minute 'thirds' and with rolling substitutes. The plan was to allow both team coaches to test out their teams and come up with different patterns.
Shipston started brightly with lots of energy and virtually ran the match for the first 20 minutes. A lovely little snipe around the fringe of a ruck saw scrum half Sam Cooper score a try and subsequently convert it within the first 5 minutes, the game was setup and it looked to be progressing nicely.
The Shipston forwards attacked in their expected patterns and defended with enthusiasm but it wasn't to last. Mid way through the second period the Stow boys managed to secure the ball properly for the first time and started an attack scoring out wide. For some reason the Shippo boys let their heads drop and started playing to the Stow game plan rather than the Shipston one. This would obviously only have one result and whilst the break at 40 minutes gave the Rams a chance to re-gather the trys from Stow just kept coming.
The final whistle went after 60 minutes with the score line standing at 7 - 20. As a first warm up game it was a decent effort, whilst a win would have been nice, as a friendly this wasn't the most important result. What was important is that the team appeared to have developed a great bond and that the coaches were able to see where the Shipston game needs more work. The next training session on Tuesday (7pm) will be important as the next pre-season game is only a week away.
Thanks go to all the supporters who came down to watch, we hope to see you all again next week at Mayo Road on Thursday 18th August at 19:30 for the game against Alcester.