Shipston put the disappointment of the previous week behind them as they secured a bonus point win at home to Bromyard on Saturday, leaving them second in the division as they head into the Christmas break. There was a welcome return to the side for Will Seys, Robbie Faulkner and Harry Jackson, with Jack McMullen getting his first start of the campaign since his return from America. It was a game in which the Rams were desperate to perform well in in order to finish the first half of the campaign on a high and get some impetus back into their season after the previous weeks humbling at Alcester.
Shipston started well and were soon on the front foot with the forwards working hard to get over the gain-line and allow the backs the time and space to get the ball through the hands. The sticky conditions were not conducive to free-flowing rugby, but despite that, both sides had a real go with ball in hand and made for some entertaining passages of play nevertheless. The two sides fairly cancelled eachother out in the opening exchanges but Shipston began to gain the upperhand as the half wore on. With Bromyard pinned deep into their own half, they were unable to clear successfully and fullback, Sam Cooper launched a counter attack for the Rams. After a number of phases with the forwards carrying hard and gaining ground, the ball was spread wide to the right through the hands and Harry Jackson was held up inches from the line. Will Seys picked quickly from the base of the ruck and showed good strength to go powering over the line for the first try of the afternoon. The successful conversion from Robbie Faulkner gave the hosts a 7-0 lead.
With confidence now high, the second Shipston try was soon to follow after some more good work from the forwards. Some excellent carrying from the likes of Charlie Hollies-Everett and Aaron Neal allowed Robbie Faulkner the space to go through a gap and break clear of the covering defence. With just the fullback to beat, Faulkner was able to draw him in and offload to his brother Tobi to scamper under the posts for the Rams' second try. Another successful conversion made the score 14-0 and that was how it stayed until half time.
The second half followed much the same pattern as the first, with both sides fighting hard for any loose ball and working tirelessly in defence to put some pressure on. Shipston were celebrating their third try before too long and Dan Taylor scored on his return to the side from university. The ball was spread wide to the left wing and Taylor showed great speed and power to crash his way through a number of would-be tacklers and touch down in the corner. A third successful conversion from Faulkner gave the Rams a 21-0 lead with plenty of time left on the clock to chase the bonus-point securing fourth try.
Much to Bromyard's credit, they stuck to the task extremely well and never once looked like they would make it easy for the hosts. They battled relentlessly at every breakdown and showed great heart in their own push for points. It was beginning to look like Shipston would run out of time, but from a lineout deep into the Bromyard twenty-two, the ball was spun to the left and Tobi Faulkner was able to break through a tackle and go over in the corner for his second and Shipston's fourth try of the match. Another conversion from Faulkner made the score 28-0 to the Rams and that was how the match ended.
It was a good performance from Shipston and a great way to bounce back from defeat the week before. Bromyard were extremely game and worked very hard all afternoon and it was a pleasure to host them, we certainly look forward to the return fixture later in the season. MOTM this week will go to Robbie Faulkner, who was flawless from the kicking tee and controlled the game from fly-half very well.
Shipston now head into the Christmas break and won't be in action again until the 7th January, where they will head over to Ledbury in the search for another victory to keep their promotion hopes alive.