After the agony of last week’s exit from the Cup the Rams were looking for a good result on Saturday against Coventry Welsh who sat in a lowly 11th place and for the large home crowd the Shipston boys didn’t disappoint. A result to banish the bad memories from the week before.
The scores started very quickly as the home crowd had barely settled into their first beers when the ball span out wide from the forwards through the centres to find Matt Daniells on the wing who cantered over the line. Robert James, on fine kicking form this week, quickly slotted the conversion and the score was 7-0 before even 5 minutes had elapsed. This was only the beginning, as the big Cov Welsh guys weren’t up to the pace of the Shipston backs and soon Tobi Faulkner sliced through the centres to dot down out wide, again Rob James stepped up but a gust of wind caught the ball sending it wide, 12-0 with only 15 minutes on the clock. Matt Daniels was ready again now for his second, Robbie Faulkner at 10 quickly passed the ball through the hands until it reached Matt out on the wing. It was simple work for him to then elude his last pursuer and run in under the posts, Rob James wasn’t going to miss that kick 19-0 to shippo. Play calmed down again for a bit until the ever dangerous William Gasson – Spider - found himself in space. A beautifully weighted pop from Tom Mylott followed by a darting run and he too was under the posts for the Bonus Point try. As the half came to a close the Rams lead 26-0
The change of ends didn’t really herald much of a change for the Cov Welsh fortunes as Shipston racked up the pressure even more. A driving scrum from the Front Row of Ben Haines, Jack Wyatt and George Minogue saw the ball spin out to winger Leon Daniels, he passed inside to Rob James who was able to smash through and start the 2nd halfs try scoring. Unfortunately he couldn’t convert the kick but that didn’t really matter with the scoreboard now up to 31-0. After the restart the stand-in Shipston manager / Linemans supreme Graham Eastgate decided to bring in a raft of changes. First Harry Clark ran on to the pitch before a nasty foot injury saw Blindside Scott Brandreth come off with what appears to be a broken metatarsal (we all hope he gets well soon!) Regular second rower Leo Brice moved into Scotts backrow position whilst the big carrying 2nd Row Charlie Hollies-Everett came off to protect a pulled hamstring and on came the oldest Shippo forward Andy Hunt. Despite his age Hunty was soon in on the action, a well won a penalty near at the half way line allowed Robbie Faulkner kicked for the corner. From the lineout the Rams setup a Maul but the Cov Welsh forwards stepped off, not commiting to the drive, swiftly and cleverly the Rams dropped the maul into a ruck and Hunty was able to pick the ball at the base and dive over for his first try in years. Rob couldn’t hit the conversion so the score stood at 36-0.
As the 60 minute point ticked over the Cov heads started to drop and Rob James decided he wanted in on some more of the points action. A crashing run saw him receive a fast ball from scrum half Will Hammond and soon Rob was able to dot down under the sticks, he converted his own try soon after score line now at 43-0. Next up to sore was Harry Clark who swiftly ran the ball down the line in his trademark style – a try form him was probably inevitable and with Rob James boot adding the conversion Shippo hit their half century. The next score came again from Spider Gasson as he took a crash ball inside from No8 Aaron Neale, it was simple to then bust through the Cov centres and dot down under the posts for his second of the day, 57-0 and the game was turning into a rout. Things then took a bit of a bad turn for Shippo as a tackle from Tobi Faulkner was judged to be too high and he was shown yellow. The Welsh boys took a running penalty but were tackled in the centre of the park. Replacement Hunty swiftly turned the ball over and Hammond fed Tom Corby, who back to his best, found a tiny gap and stepped through it. As the pitch opened up in front of him he was able to canter in under the sticks, 64-0. The final action of the day occurred just as Tobi Faulkner walked back on to the pitch, in a carbon copy of his own incident his brother Robbie managed to a carryout an indentikit high tackle and ended up seeing yellow himself. Then much like Corbys earlier run this time Harry Clark found himself in space. However thinking the ref had blown the whistle he virtually walked over the line expecting to be pulled back at any moment. He was fine though and the ever reliable boot of Rob James saw another ball fly through the uprights 71-0 was to be the final score.
Credit must be given to the Cov Welsh guys who put the graft in all day but it was the Shippo combination of good handling, well executed drills and outright pace that saw the Rams triumph. Afterwards in the bar a swift collaboration between Eastgate and captain Robbie Faulkner saw the man of the match duties shared between Tom Corby and replacement Andy Hunt.
All in all it was a great day for the club as the 2s playing Evesham 3s on the other pitch had won 33-21. Shipston are away on Saturday to bottom of the league Dunlop and will be looking for a similar score line to boost that ever important point difference.