Rams are made to work hard for victory

Harry Clark scored Shipston's first try against Alcester
Harry Clark scored Shipston's first try against Alcester

Solid defence helped earn Shipston-on-Stour another Midlands Three West South success at Mayo Road.

The Rams beat Alcester 25-14 to keep pace with Pinley and Old Leamingtonians at the top of the table.

The Rams set off at a good pace but the ball was spilled or turned over several times from good positions. Alcester were clinical every time they had possession and scored the first try after benefiting from a knock-on by Shipston.

A penalty from Rob James closed the gap but Shipston gifted another try to Alcester moments later.

The Rams had chances but failed to capitalise on their possession and territory. They missed three opportunities from five-metre line-outs out to nail their set-piece.

James knocked over another penalty before halftime and, after a quick reassessment and some replacements to freshen things up, Shipston came out in the second period rejuvenated.

They were much more clinical with ball in hand and continued to pose Alcester plenty of problems. Tom Mylott and Aaron Neal started to carry the ball and make good yards in the forwards. The call to bring on Will Gasson proved a master stroke as he looked extremely sharp on his return from injury.

The Rams scored their first try when Harry Clark latched on to the end of a sweeping move to go over and get the home side back into the contest at 14-11. That galvanised the Rams and they began to play with much more confidence.

The second of the home side’s tries was scored by the impressive Gasson. After throwing the ball wide it was recycled quickly it was sent back the other way, where Gasson crashed over.

James added the conversion to put the Rams ahead for the first time at 18-14. Alcester threw everything at Shipston, going through several phases and trying to batter down the home defence. But Shipston remained resolute to thwart the visitors.

The final try was scored by replacement Karl Slatter, another who impressed after coming on at halftime. The Rams launched another attack at pace and cut through the Alcester line before the ball was spun wide to the right for Slatter to dive over. James again converted to push Shipston’s lead out to 25-14.