Shipston battled their way to a brilliant last gasp victory against Old Leamingtonians at Mayo Road, built on the back of some strong and resolute defence. The game started poorly for the home side after they gifted OL's a penalty in front of the sticks with barely a minute on the clock and they spent the next 15 minutes camped in their own twenty-two, forced into some frantic scrambling defence and last ditch cover tackling. They held firm and slowly started to work their way into the game and after a period of prolonged pressure themselves, earned a penalty of their own, which was duly knocked over by Robert James to level the game up at 3-3. The remainder of the first period was just as tight but OL's were to go into the break with a 3 point lead after kicking over a long range penalty near the end of the half, 6-3 to OL's at the break.
Having endured a tough time of it in the set-piece during the first half, Shipston's forwards came into their own down the hill and started to run the heavier OL's pack around the park. Some fine battling work and a number of turnovers in the Ram's favour eventually led to the awarding of another penalty, which James again knocked over to level up for a second time. A further Shipston penalty was kicked to give them a 9-6 lead and it looked like staying this way until the final whistle, as again both defences held firm in the face of a barrage of attacks from either side. OL's looked to have nicked the win, when with 5 minutes to go they scampered over in the corner, making the most of an overlap due to a scuffle that was taking place. The conversion was made and OL's took a 13-9 lead into the last 3 minutes of the game. Shipston showed great character and heart to force their way into the OL's twenty-two and were awarded a penalty of their own on the right side of the field. Skipper George Waywell elected to kick the ball to touch and take the lineout. The ball was thrown to the jumper at 4 and a textbook driving maul forced Shipston over the line with the last play of the game, Matt Corby the last man up to claim the winning try. James slotted the conversion from the touchline to put the icing on the cake and celebrations began as the referee blew the final whistle to bring to an end a bruising encounter between the two sides, final score 16-13 to Shipston.
It's tough to pick a MOM after what was a fantastic team effort. Robert James and Sean Hampson both had excellent games in the back-line, but I'm going to award the honour to the entire forward pack. They fought tirelessly all game against a much bigger and heavier OL's pack and ensured the backs had good clean ball throughout.