The two week layoff helped Shipston's injured time to recover and come back stronger against a uncompromising Upton side.What on paper was always going to be a close game, certainly proved the case against two equally matched teams.
Shipston started brightly enough and enjoyed early possession and territory-but both sides defences were on top.The home team thought they had made the break through on 6 minutes when they kicked through and seem to win the chase to touch down-but the official gave the benefit of doubt to the visitors.But on 10 minutes Shipston did take the lead when they kicked for the corner on a penalty to secure the lineout put in.Jack Barnard secured the line out ball and fed Will Seys,who's arc run enabled him to get inches from the line and Harry Barnard was on hand to crash over for a well worked try-Rob James easily added the extra's-7-0.
There then followed half an hour in which neither side managed to make a break through and both defences were on top and some big hits were the order of the day-although Shipston did benefit from Upton coming off worse in these challenges and they soon had all their bench on the pitch.
In stoppage time Upton did manage to get back into the game to go into half time only 7-5 down.
The second half continued much the same as the first half-not a great feast of rugby to thrill the large crowd,but that was broken on 50 minutes by a moment of brilliance by full back Speechley-who repeated his first half kick over the top and chase-but this time clearly won the race to give Shipston a 12-5 lead.
With Upton still only a score from getting something out of the game,Shipston(or the home supporters)couldn't relax-but again the second half followed the same path as the first with both teams cancelling each other out.It grounded on and on with little to keep neither set of supporters entertained and when it looked as Shipston where going to hold on,Tom Corby took matters into his own hands and picking up the ball just inside the Upton half and went on one of his charges smashing and breaking several tackles to score a great individual try.Rob James added the extra's to give Shipston a 19-5 and to everyone's relief,soon after the official blow the final whistle.
A vast improvement on the Southam game,with the line out working well,the scrum holding their own and a 100% improvement in the tackling-may it continue.
My man of the match goes to a new recruit to the first team who battled for 80 minutes in a position he doesn't usual play,so I picked Sam Tredgold.