Like many of the Shipston faithful who made the 48 mile trip to Lebury,hopes of another performance as last weeks against Harbury would have done nicely thank you.It would have helped of course to have fielded the same team-but with injures,cry offs and work commitments it meant there was an unbelievable 8 or 9 changes of personnel.It wouldn't be fare to the players that turned out and 'wanted' to play for Shipston to call it a weakened team,but it turned out in the end that lack of match fitness,inexperience and some playing out of position took its toll against a beatable Ledbury side.
Saying that Shipston battled in a free scoring first half and what they lacked at the scrum and line outs they more than made up for in commitment around the park.
Shipston even took the lead after 19 minutes when Harry Barnard crashed over near the posts which Rob James converted.Ledbury hit back with their own converted try to make it 7-7.
The game then went back and forth with Ledburys turn to score to make it 14-7 on the half hour.The game then turned when the referee grew tired of warning Ledbury of infringements at the break down and produced his yellow card.With Ledbury down to 14 Shipston drew level when Josh Bird joined the attack to score which again Rob James converted.
On 41 minutes Ledbury took the lead through a penalty to make it 17-14-but they didn't learn their lesson and received another yellow card.And with them down to 13 Seb Miller darted over for James to convert to make it 17-21 at half time.
The second half started well for Shipston as once again Josh Bird burst through to score for James to add the extra's,17-28 to Shipston!
From the resulting kick off a Shipston player was taken out in the air,the culprit who already had a yellow to his name,was given a red card.With a 11 point lead and playing against 14-how could Shipston lose?
But Ledbury to their credit hit back and as Shipston tired on the home teams big sapping pitch they scored 4 unanswered tries to give them a 39-28 lead and although Shipston enjoyed the last 5 minutes camped in Ledburys 22,couldn't get over the try line.Final score 39-28.
On the plus side,it was pleasing to see 2nd team players 'blooded' and the way Shipston battled to the final whistle was a credit.
My Man of the Match-easy:Graham Eastgate-his commitment and fitness is an example to us all!