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Injury-hit Upton struggle at Shipston
3:00pm Wednesday 5th March 2014 in Sport
UPTON-upon-Severn Rugby Club’s lack of recent action showed in a 40-18 defeat at improving Shipston-on-Stour in Midlands Three West (South).
They completed only their third game since Christmas and the inability to train due to flooding in the town showed as fitness, in particular, led to the loss.
Missing six forwards, Upton drafted in reserves Daz Cahill, Jason Smart and Nathan Tomkins as well as dragging Matt Bookham out of retirement on the flank.
Upton started down the hill and soon led from a Dan Keyte penalty but poor tackling, which haunted them all day, cost them when the hosts waltzed through to score.
However, the visitors soon regained the lead when Bookham made a darting break from 40 metres out and was tackled just short.
His experience saw him offload to player-coach Stu Brooks, who scored out wide, although Keyte could not convert.
But Shipston once again found Upton’s tackling wanting and scored three further first-half tries to secure a bonus point.
The Old Street side kept battling down the slope and, after initial surges from replacement George Ainge, Brooks was held up but Smart picked up to score a second unconverted try, making the half-time score 28-13.
Upton knew the second period would be difficult going uphill but they defended well for 20 minutes, limiting Shipston to no more scores.
However, after the Worcestershire side lost Brooks and Smart to injury, they played with their backs against the wall although Tomkins, on his first-team debut, tackled bravely from the back of the scrum.
Shipston sucked in Upton's defenders before spinning the ball wide and the winger broke through weak tackling to put the game out of their reach.
Upton kept going, though, and, when Brooks returned for the injured Dan Aldersey, the forwards began a five-minute 30-metre pick-and-go game which finally resulted in a penalty on the line.
Scrum-half James Gammond took a quick tap and fed number eight Max Macfarlane, who took two over the line to score.
However, the last word was left to the visitors as, with the last touch of the game, they scored a sixth try.
Upton gave a courageous defensive effort against a much stronger side.