Shipston traveled to basement team Pershore on Saturday, looking for a much needed victory to create some extra breathing room between themselves and the 2 sides currently occupying the relegation spots. It was not an ideal start to the day, with late withdrawals from the team causing captain George Waywell to reshuffle the pack and welcome William 'Spider' Gasson into the team.
Playing against a strong wind in the first half, the Rams had all of the early possession without creating anything of note, perhaps guilty of trying to play too much rugby in the wrong areas of the pitch. It was to cost them when, against the run of play, Pershore manufactured an overlap on the right hand side of the field and duly obliged in punishing Shipston for their wasteful possession and territory. With an early set back, Shipston looked to pick up the pace of the game and run the hefty Pershore forwards around the field. On a number of occasions they switched the direction of attack and caught the Pershore forwards floundering in the wide positions. The mis-matches paid off, and the Rams scored 2 tries against the wind to take a half time lead of 10-5. Dan Taylor used his pace and strength effectively to score on his first game back from university.
With the wind at their backs in the second period, Shipston came firing out of the blocks and were soon on the front foot after a huge tackle from George Waywell at the kick off forced a turnover and got the Rams going. 3 tries were scored in a blistering first 5 minutes after the restart, with some excellent offloading and support lines laying the foundations for this golden period. Andy Hunt, Dan Taylor and Spider Gasson all went over in quick succession and left the home side with a mountain to climb if they were to take anything out of the game. To their credit, Pershore stuck to the task and did get 1 try back, their number 8 crashing over from a scrum on the Shipston 5 meter line to bring the score back to 27-10. This seemed to spur the Rams into action again and there were a further 3 tries in the second half to give Shipston a comfortable and much needed 46-10 win away from home. Dan Taylor (2), Spider Gasson (2) and Andrew Hunt all crossed the whitewash for tries (there were more but I cannot recall them - maybe too many bangs on the head!) There were some excellent performances throughout, George Waywell led by example, Dan Taylor was powerful on his return to the side and veterans Adam Renardson, Alex Ray and Martin Goodman were all very good with ball in hand. The MOM has to be awarded to William 'Spider' Gasson however, who was quite outstanding all game. He tackled and carried the ball very well, but it was perhaps his support lines that were the most impressive, giving Shipston real momentum in attack.
Next week sees the arrival of Woodrush to Mayo Road and it is another game that Shipston will be looking to win in their bid to cement their position in the league for next season.