Shipston entertained league leaders, Rugby St Andrews on Saturday and were defeated 17-0 by the pace setters at a very wet and windy Mayo Road. The conditions underfoot were extremely wet and boggy and this hampered the lighter Rams' side as they struggled to make any real momentum against an extremely well drilled St Andrews defence. The visitors bigger and heavier forwards allowed them to prevent Shipston from gaining too much territory, although the Rams did get the better of the Rugby pack in the scrum throughout much of the first half.
Playing into a strong gale in the first period, Shipston were unable to put boot to ball in the face of the fierce wind, so were forced to try and work their way up the field with ball in hand. Their effort kept them in the tie at the break, with St Andrews holding a 10-0 lead at half time following a converted try and penalty.
Hopes were high going into the second half that the strong wind at their back might allow Shipston deep into the St Andrews half and give them a better platform to attack from. However a string on needless penalties were given away every time they managed to work themselves into an attacking position and this gave the visitors the chance to clear their lines and get some breathing space. The half was a titanic battle and looked like being scoreless until St Andrews were awarded a penalty try when the ball was kicked from the number 8's hands from a scrum. This gave a final scoreline of 17-0 to Rugby St Andrews, cementing their position at the top of the division. Shipton slip down to 4th in the table but have a game in hand over those around them and will be looking to put themselves back into contention when they travel to Upton next Saturday (24th).
All in all it was somewhat of a frustrating day for the home side, who's effort and attitude couldn't be faulted throughout the entire 80 minutes, however a lack of creativity and composure in the vital areas of the field proved costly. MOTM this week is Alex Hammond, who was imperious in both attack and defence, setting the standard for all those around him to follow.