Shipston extended their unbeaten run of matches to 13 on Saturday and in doing so, earned the 5-point victory that secured joint top spot in the standings along with Pinley RFC (their hosts this coming Saturday). Old Yardelians were the visitors to Mayo Road this week and they arrived with a sizeable set of forwards, looking to cause an upset of their own and fight their way our of the relegation scrap that they're currently invested in. Huge credit must go to the visitors as they fought back strongly from going a try down in the opening 2 minutes from Shipston wing Matt Daniells, belying their league position and playing some good rugby, especially in the opening twenty minutes, to make it hard work for the Rams as they were camped in their own twenty-two.
The Shipston defence held firm though and after holding off the Old Yards onslaught for the first quarter, began to open the game up and never really looked in any trouble from there on in. They spun the ball wide and with real pace at times and Old Yards struggled to live with the intensity of the game. The Rams had scored 4 tries and secured the bonus point before half time, going in at the break with a lead of 22-5.
After a slight lapse in concentration from the re-start, where Shipston allowed Yards to gather the ball from a knock-on and waltz under the posts unchallenged to score their second try, they tightened up and didn't really give their visitors a sniff for the rest of the game. The midlfield of Tom Corby and Harry Jackson were proving to be dominant and there was some intelligent kicking and running lines from Tobi Faulkner at full back and the two wingers of Matt Daniells and Sam Cooper.
The forwards were too strong and mobile for the Yards pack too and they moved them around the park, making it difficult for them to compete at many of the breakdowns. Ben Summers had a solid game at tight head and the back row of Aaron Neal, Alex Hammond and George Wilcock were lively all afternoon.
In the end the Rams ran out comfortable winners with a final score of 46-12, but Old Yardelians must be commended on their attitude and the way they fought from the first whistle to the last. Shipston played some exciting rugby at times but will be well aware that sterner tasks await them in the coming weeks, starting with a tough away trip to fellow league leaders Pinley on Saturday.
MOTM this week was awarded to Tom Corby for his excellent game in the midfield, running hard lines and supporting well throughout the game.