Sat 21
Cheltenham North
1st XV


By Gary Bonsor
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Best performance of the season saved for when needed most!

The Ram's made the long trip to Bishop's Cleeve to face Cheltenham North who this season have an impressive home record and have beaten both Dunlop and Bedworth on their Stoke Orchard Road ground-but not for the first time this season Shipston faced a much bigger heavier pack.
On a sunny dry day Shipston welcomed back several player's missing from last week-but right from kick off Cheltenham North showed why they were so strong at home.It only took 2 minutes before they crossed the line when they won a penalty and spun the ball wide down the left to take a 5-0 lead.
3 minutes later things got worse for the ram's when CN's big forwards burst through the middle to score a converted try.12-0.
But the visitor's clawed their way back into the game when Robbie Faulkner picked up a loose ball in the middle of the park and managed to feed Justin Saker to out pace the home defence for a break away try with Robbie Faulkner to add the extra's 12-7.
There then followed a period of play where Shipston fell foul of several strange refereeing decisions.
CN took advantage of this and increased their lead with a penalty on 15 minutes to make the score 15-7.
And on 20 minutes in became 18-7 with another penalty when Shipston grew more and more frustrated with being penalized almost at every opportunity.
On the half hour Shipston's luck got worse when Justin Saker charged down the left and chipped over the advancing defence only to be taken out-again missed for CN to run the ball back to increase their lead to 23-7.
Frustration mounted resulting in captain Matt Corby receiving a yellow card for questioning one strange decision too many-but held on with 14 men to half time to turn round 23-7 down.
The second half didn't see Shipston eat into the home sides lead and although they battled for every ball,it seemed that CN's aggressive bullying tactic's were to win the day and as the clock approached the 65 minute mark it looked as Shipston were doomed to lose another away game.But the class of Robbie Faulkner came to the fore when be burst through beating several cover tackles to force himself over,and adding the conversion to narrow the score to 23-14.
With only 10 minutes remained thought of any chance of a losing bonus point or an unlikely victory looked remote-but the ram's had other idea's and cheered on by their band of supporter's,lead by Mrs James,the impossible happened.
Cheltenham North's pack tired in the heat and Shipston started to win more ball and pressure the home sides line.On 75 minutes the ball was fed to Charlie Speechley who continued his fine form by weaving through,and again Robbie Faulkner kicked the conversion-23-21.
With a few minutes remaining CN thought they would hold out by keeping the ball in the Shipston's half-but the visitor's dug deep.Although pinned deep in their own 22,they secured the ball and with one last play and with nothing to lose turned down a clearance kick and ran the ball out of defence with Rob James,Tom Corby,Josh Bird all playing their part-finally fed the ball to Charlie Speechley who pressed his turbo button to out sprint the defence to score in the corner to snatch victory with the last play of the game.23-26.
A truly dramatic end and deserved victory and the fight and spirit showed by all was a credit to Shipston RFC.
Man of the Match has to be all 15 and the bench-every player played their part and the never say die attitude has virtually secured Midland 3 West(South)rugby for another season.
Just to round up the other games in the league-the 2 team's below us,first Manor Park,they were on the end of a hiding,92-8 at Ledbury and Upton's game at Woodrush is down as 'HWO' which I believe means Home Walk Over!!

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Match details

Match date

Sat 21, Mar 2015




Midlands 3 West (South)