Upton-upon-Severn RFC

First XV Match Reports

Malvern RFC II -v- Upton RFC 

Saturday 4th January 2024

Score:  Malvern 17 – 22 Upton

After a month of postponed games due to floodig and the Xmas break Upton resumed league action with  a local top of the table derby v Malvern 2s at Malvern. Both sides had lost only one game each this season with Malvern having lost their game at Upton’s ground back in September. 

On a wet ground in front of a large Malvern crowd the game promised to be a tight affair and that was exactly what it was. The thought was that with heavy ground the game would not one for the spectators looking for flowing rugby however the game ended up being a thrilling match at a much higher standard than that expected for both Malvern and Upton’s lowly league status.

Upton started strongly controlling the ball with good phase play but initially found it difficult to break down the strong Malvern defence. However after 10 minutes multiple phase play eventually led to fly half Rhys Cousins scything his way over on the right for the visitors first try which he calmly converted to make it 7-0.

Malvern slowly got into the game and as Upton began to concede penalties a kick into the corner saw the Malvern side use a clever lineout drive to score. Their conversion was missed to leave it at 5-7. The game remained tight until 5 minutes before the end of the half when Malvern, having gained control of the ball kicked cross field for their flying right winger to catch on the run and scoot nearer the posts for an easier conversion which gave Malvern a 12-7 lead. 

Upton though did not panic and another period of sustained phase play allowed scrum half James Gammond to scoot in from a couple of metres to grab Upton’s second try which this time Cousins missed to make the half time score 12-12.
 

The second half saw Upton possibly dominate the territory a bit more with the slight wind advantage and after Will Heeley made a powerful break up the middle Upton recycled the ball quickly from on Malvern’s 5 metre line to once again put Cousins in. However in a valiant effort to stop him Malvern tackled him high and left the ref no alternative to award a penalty try to allow them to regain the lead at 19-12. 

Once again though Malvern came back. After a poor lineout throw from Rob Heeley on half way Malvern countered and from the Upton 22 once again employed the cross field kick for a near identical catch and score for their right winger . However into the cold wind from far out the conversion fell short. 
 
Once again though Upton did not panic and maintained their structure and with 2 minutes to go edged themselves downfield before Malvern concede a penalty approximately 30 metres out which Cousins slotted to make the final score 17-22. 

Upton -v- Birmingham Exiles

Saturday 2nd December 2023

Score:  Upton 44 – 7 Birmingham Exiles

Upton’s top of the table clash v Birmingham exiles managed to go ahead despite the freezing conditions, but the home side’s performance managed to warm the hearts of the local fans.

Upton having lost their unbeaten run against Warley two weeks previously Exiles now headed the table with Upton dropping to third but the home side were determined to lay down a statement to the rest of the league about their credentials and they did this with a masterly performance.

Exiles had only lost one game to second placed Malvern but Upton outshone them in all departments as they ran in seven tries to one. 

The first half saw three tries with left winger Finch running in some slick hands for the first before Max Macfarlane made a strong break straight from the kick off before Zimbabwean Andrew Putterill stormed through from 40 metres out, bursting through tackles to get Upton’s quick second. 
 

Rhys Cousins was unsuccessful with both conversions but soon extended the lead with a penalty to make it 13-0 . Upton’s ill discipline gave the visitors a sniff with a try and conversion before debutant Will Davis from South Africa touched down from full back, with this time Cousins converting to make the half time score 20-7.

Upton turned on the gas in the second half with 5 more tries but more importantly never letting exiles near their line.

Newly converted prop forward Issac Grimwade powered over from a 5 metre penalty before the second of the Zimbabwean triumphant James Butler took a cross field kick from fly half Matt Marskell which Cousins converted to make it 32-7.
 
With the game now beyond Exiles reach Upton started to throw the ball around and managed two more scores. Birthday boy Pawson finished out wide before Butler finished a strong backs move with Cousins netting his fourth kick of the day to make the final score 44-7.
 

Thank you Simon Lampitt for the brilliant photos.

Stourport RFC -v- Upton RFC

Saturday 11th November 2023

Score:  Stourport RFC 7 – 53 Upton RFC

Upton travelled to bottom side Stourport for the first time in almost 20 years and despite a very early setback came away dominant winners.
 
Upton knew not to take Stourport for granted despite the lowly position but decided to rest a number of key players in certain positions to give others a chance but from the kick off they felt they were against it. With Stourport kicking to the right the Upton players stood and watched as Stourport raced through and gathered the kick off to score a converted try after only 7 seconds.
However despite that setback it was to be Stourport’s only score as Upton dominated the rest of the game.
 
In the forwards there was a level of parity but out wide is where Upton showed their class. 4 tries before half time from  Josh Finch, Jay Pettie, James Gammond  and a second for Finch with one conversion  made the half time score 7-22. The score may have been higher if it hadn’t been for two yellow cards for Tom Powles and Rob Heeley as the away side perhaps put too much effort into their defensive sets. 
 
The second half was all Upton as their superior fitness started to prevail. Elliot Cash was everywhere round the park putting in countless bullocking runs which set up quick phase ball for scrum half James Gammond . Time and again this allowed the backs to finish with pace and 5 second half tries including 3 more for winger Finch to give him 5 for the match plus two for full back George Pawson plus 3 conversions  made the final score Stourport 7-53 Upton 

First XV Match Reports

Droitwich RFC II -v- Upton RFC 

Saturday 21st October 2023

Score:  Droitwich RFC II 12 – 23 Upton RFC

Upton continued their unbeaten start to the season with a tough, hard fought victory over Droitwich.

Once again missing several players Upton continued to blood some of their youngsters with Andrew Putter making his debut from the bench

Upton started strongly dominating possession but failing to break the strong Droitwich defence. After countless hold ups on the line Rhys Cousins slotted a simple penalty and then after 20 minutes George Pawson, in his first game of the season after injury, selfishly bundled his way over from 10 metres out despite having numbers out wide. Cousins missed the 2 points to make it 0-8.

Upton furthered their lead with a second try for Cousins once again after several short bursts were stopped by the home defence. With Cousins struggling with a heel injury Heeley took over the kicking but failed with his first shot.

The half time chat revolved around not conceding penalties as Droitwich were using their dominant driving maul from line outs to pressurise Upton and after an early second half penalty Upton were pinned on their line. Despite some staunch defence Droitwich managed to score their first converted try to reduce the score to 7-13.

Upton began to struggle up front but from a Droitwich scrum on their own 5 metre line they lost possession and after a number of hold ups again Cousins stormed through from 5 metres out to score his second try which Heeley Converted to make it 20-7. Heeley further extended the lead with a penalty only for Droitwich to come back into it again with an unconverted try to make it 12-23. Despite this being the last score, Upton were somewhat hanging on at the end as Droitwich never gave up looking for more scores to try and gain a bonus point.

Upton RFC -v- Kerseley RFC

Saturday 14th October 2023

Score:  Upton RFC 35-10 Kerseley RFC

 

Upton played their second home league match of the season in front of warm skies and a hearty crowd .

Upton’s strength and depth was called upon with several key players missing from the starting line up and players were nervous based on the perceived strength of Kerseley.

However Upton were keen for the start and came out the blocks firing with two early tries both ran in from half way by skipper Matt Dunwell and Ed Cullwick. Rhys Cousins had the easy task of slotting both conversions to make it 14-0.

However this fast start gave a false sense of security to the home side who slowly let their visitors back into the game using their strong pack to dent holes in the Upton defence.

Just before half time after a number of home side penalties Kerseley got their first try but with this unconverted the half time score was 14-5.

Upton knew they had to up their second half performance but this did not come about straight away as again poor defence and discipline allowed Kerseley a second try but fortunately for Upton this was again unconverted to leave it at 14-10.

This really was the kick up the back side Upton needed which led to a dominant second half performance from then on.

Three fully converted tries by Cousins, two from winger Josh Finch and one from scrum half Will Collins led to a bonus point victory to give Upton 6 out of 6 wins this season.

Old Halesonians RFC II -v- Upton RFC

Saturday 30th September 2023

Score:  Old Halesonians RFC II 7-31 Upton RFC

Upton travelled to Old Hales for what looked like a potentially tricky fixture with the home side having lost just one game this season.

The warm up showed the home side to be a young potentially speedy side Upton’s game plan was to keep the game controlled and tight. Having lost the toss Upton were requested to play with the wind in the first half and used this to build an early lead with two long range penalties from full back Jay Pettie.

Upton were playing a well structured first half but it was that last pass that just wouldn’t stick to give them the try they deserved. Coupled with too many penalties the half looked to be drifting to an unsatisfactory total before skipper Matt Dunwell powered in from inside centre after a 5 metre scrum. Pettie failed to convert to leave Upton leading 11-0 at half time.

Upton started in control of the second half and Pettie had a chance to extend the lead with a long range penalty but the stiff breeze pushed it wide. From the resultant 22 yard drop out Max Macfarlane gathered but his pass to Josh Finch on the left wing was intercepted and Old Hales raced in from half way to score a converted try to reduce the arrears to 7-11.

At this point Upton knew they had to take the game by the scruff of the next and this they did.

First Pettie finished off some good hands out wide to power over before young prop Will Clark bagged himself a brace with two powerful and somewhat speedy finishes after fine power plays from the like of Elliot Cash in the second row.

The game was finished off when Rob Heeley, moved to fly half for the final minutes, scythed his way through to finish in the corner.

Unfortunately the wind and position of the tries made all the conversions almost impossible for Pettie so Upton failed to add to their 4 second half tries to leave the final score at 7-31.

Upton RFC -v- Malvern RFC II

Saturday 30th September 2023

Score:  Upton 27-17 Malvern 11

Upton had their first league game of the season, and it was a local derby v Malvern. Upton have not played Malvern at any competitive level for some considerable years so for both teams it was a massive game.

Upton were without key players in captain Matt Dunwell, half back James Gammond as well as a number of first choice forwards and backs. Despite this they were able to give debuts to James Palmer, Matt Marskell and Oli Grinnell and a home debut to Jay Pettie.

The game started brightly for Upton but strong defence from Malvern prevented any scores.

As the first half drew on Malvern had a lineout on halfway and spread the ball wide for their extremely speedy winger to scorch around the cover defence and score from halfway. A missed conversion made it 0-5.

Upton then started to lose the ref and Palmer was sin binned for a high tackle before Marskell was also binned for continued infringements by the home team at the break down. Malvern capitalised on their numerical advantage to score a second try but once again a missed conversion left the half time score at 0-10.

Coach Dan Keyte demanded a response from Upton in the second half and he got it. Upton tightened up their game plan and started to reap the benefits.

As they returned to a full 15, they dominated in the forwards and centre Colk scooted over from one yard to reduce the arrears to 5-10 with a missed conversion.

Upton continued to pile on pressure and Pettie finished off some slick hands to make it 10-10 with Rob Heeley slotting the conversion from wide out to make it 12-10.

Upton then scored again through winger Josh Finch, but this time Heeley couldn’t repeat the wide conversion however Rhys Cousins thought they’d made the game safe with a long-range penalty to make it 20-10.

However, Malvern came back and once again from inside their own half their speedster raced in 50 meters to make it 20-15 with a conversion reducing it to a 3-point game 20-17.

Upton though remained calm and from a rolling maul and subsequent short rucks, Fijian Danny Badham powered over from short range to score Upton’s 4th try to secure the bonus point with Cousins slotting the conversion with the last kick of the game to make the final score 27-17.

Upton -v- Pershore

Saturday 18th July 2023

Score:  Upton 33 – 12 Pershore

Upton finished off their league campaign with a win in front of lively, busy crowd. Upton have struggled massively with injuries and unavailability this season so it was nice to see ex first team captain Matt Dunwell return from a year long injury as well as James Gammond, Jake Lock, George Barrell and Charlie Abbey.

In very muddy conditions the game started at a blistering pace for the home side notching up 3 tries in the first 20 minutes. Barnstorming runs from Abbey and Dunwell coupled with the emerging giant in the second row, Issac Grimwade, dented holes in the Pershore defence. This allowed the speedy Upton backs to outpace their opposite numbers.

Josh Finch finished off on the left wing for one score as well before George Pawson ran in a kick and chase and scrum half Gammond scooted in from the base of a ruck.

Jake Lock converted two out of 3 to make the score 19-0 at half time

The second half saw Upton get an early bonus point 4th try. Pershore tried to play the ball wide from deep inside their own half but impressive outside centre George Pawson pounced on the lose ball to score under the posts for Lock to make the easy conversion. 26-0

Pershore then came back into the game using their powerful forwards to good effect and snuck their first try of the day after being held up a number of times. 26-7

Upton stretched the lead again with a 5th try for when Rhys Cousins finished off some quick hands from veteran prop Gary Penfold which was  converted by Lock again but Pershore had the last score of the day to make the final score 33-12

Upton -v- Old Yardleians

Saturday 25th February 2023

Score:  Upton 31-46 Old Yardleians

 

Upton’s struggles continued as they lost this relegation battle at home to improving Old Yards.

Upton once again struggled to put out a full 15 with veteran front rower Rob Heeley called upon to play stand off.

Upton started the game brightly and Heeley opened the scoring with a penalty to make it 3-0 but Old Yards then capitalised on poor defence and used their strong and young running backs to punch holes in the Upton defence and scored 4 quick  unanswered tries with 2 conversions to take a 3-24 nil lead.

As the half moved to towards and end Upton started to get back into the game and veteran prop Gary Penfold rumbled over from a rolling maul to reduce the deficit before some powerful forward running allowed back rower Elliot Cash to get a second Upton try. Heeley converted both to make the score 17-24. Old Yards though managed to get the last score of the half with a fifth try to make it 17-29 at the break.

Upton’s second half performance was stronger the first and they dominated possession and territory for large swathes of the half. However It was Old Yards that managed to score next, once again capitalising on Upton mistakes to break through to score. This extended the lead firstly to 17-34 and then a seventh try made it 17-39.

Upton though continued to drive forward and from another rolling maul captain Will Clark barrelled over for Upton 3rd converted try by Heeley before a 4th and bonus point try for George Pawson. Heeley kept up his 100% kicking display with a fifth successful kick to make it 31-39.

Then with the last play of the game Heeley attempted a cheeky chip over the Old Yards defence which fell into the arms of Pawson. However once the jinking centre had been hauled down by the Old Yards defence the lack of supporting Upton players meant Old Yards regathered the ball and broke free from just inside their own half to score an eighth and final try which they converted to make the score 31-46.

Upton -v- Chaddesley Corbett

Saturday 22nd October 2022

Score:  Upton 26 – Chaddesley Corbett 43

An injury hit Upton suffered a bruising defeat to strugglers Chaddesley on Saturday 22nd Oct. 
 
With veteran prop Rob Heeley standing in at fly half nothing was going to go well.
 
Chaddesley sensed a victory from the off and steamrolled over Upton in the first 10 minutes racing into a 12-0 lead with two tries. One converted. 

Upton did show glimpses of fight when Max Macfarlane charged through to score. 

The visitors were just up for the game throughout the 80 minutes and scored another two tries before half time to secure their bonus point. Upton showed glimpses of potential with the ball in hand and from a good few phases of play and Josh Finch finished off a backs move to score before half time to make it 14-22. 
 
The second half saw Chaddesley reduced to 14 men when their replacement prop was sent off for a dangerous tap tackle but this didn’t stem their appetite as they crossed for three more tries before the end of the match. 

However, with the game gone Upton started to show some spirit to entertain the crowd and scored two more tries of their own with a first senior score for Issac Grimwade and the scoring was finished off by Charlie Abbey. Jake Lock finished with three out of four conversions.

Upton -v- Pershore

Saturday 15th October 2022

Score: Upton 21 – 34 Pershore

Upton lost out in this local derby in front of a large crowd. 

Pershore are now coached by former Upton coach Stuart Brooks and were obviously up for the game.
However Upton took the lead with a Rhys Cousins penalty before Pershore powered over for a converted try to make it 7-3

Cousins reduced the score with another penalty and then Upton took the lead with a third Cousins penalty. However it was Pershore who took the half time lead when they scored their second try on the stroke of half time to make it 14-9.
 
Upton struggled to get hold of much front foot ball all afternoon and in reality were always chasing the game . Pershore extended their lead to 19-9 before Upton scored their first try when a well worked backs move saw George Pawson think he had scored on the lined only for the ref to deem it held up. However in the ensuing confusion Pershore tried to kick clear only for Tom Powles to block the kick and Will Cullwick to touch down to score. 19-14. Pershore pushed the scoreboard on with a penalty to make it 22-14 but then Upton’s lively scrum half Will Collins ghosted through the defence to leave Rob Heeley with an easy conversion to make it 22-21

Pershore once again extended their lead with another powerful forwards based try to make it 29-21 and then when Upton were reduced to 14 men when skipper Will Clarke was put in the bin for a high tackle they secured the victory with a further forward based driving score to make the final score 34-21.
 

Upton -v- Birmingham Exiles

Saturday 1st October 2022

Score:  Upton 38 – 24 Birmingham Exiles

Upton secured their first home win of the season with a hard fought victory over strugglers Birmingham Exiles. However the game was marred by another season ending injury for thier captain Pat Collins who left the pitch with a nasty broken leg after 30 minutes. This further deepens Upton’s injury crisis having lost James Gammond the previous week to a suspected ACL tear. 
 
However on the plus side Upton youth policy is bearing dividends as once again the squad was bolstered by the emergence of another former junior player in Jake Cope making his home debut on the wing. 
 
The game started brightly for Upton with a score for big second row Elliot Cash of the back of a driving maul however Exiles pinned uPton back with excellent tactically kicking from the Exiles 10 . Mid way through the half Upton were down when Exiles scored after numerous phases of possession and converted to make it 5-7.
Upton were then rocked by Collins’ injury and into the fray came veteran number 8 Matt Bookham for his first game in 3 years. 
 
Upton hoped that patience and fitness would win them the game and just on half time stand in scrum half George Pawson broke free and on the line offloaded to centre Freddie Barrell to score under the posts. Jake Lock converted to make half time 12-7.
 
Exiles had the wind in the second half and reduced the scoreline with a huge drop goal to make it 12-10.
 
Upton then started to find holes in the Exiles defence. Bookham was showing glimpses of his former youth charging round the field with ball in hand and soon Upton extended their lead with a try for George Pawson 17-10. Upton secured the bonus point when Rob Heeley took the ball at first receiver on half way.
Danny Badham made yards with a big carry before offloading back inside to Heeley who raced in from 15 metres. Lock converted to make it 24-10. Upton’s fifth came from Barrell as he darted down the wing to dive in the corner 31-10 and the scoring was finished off by full back Josh Finch who sent up an up and under from his own half and caught the dropping ball and raced in from 30 metres. Lock converted to make it 38-10.  Exiles staged a mini comeback scoring two converted tries in the last 10 minutes to make the final score 38-24

Old Yards -v- Upton

Saturday 24th September 2022

Score:  Old Yards 20 – Upton 37

Upton travelled to South Birmingham for this fixture and came away with a good win.
 
The first 10 minutes was all Old Yards as Upton struggled to match them for intensity. Things were not made easy as they lost James Gammond after 1 minute to a knee injury.
 
Upton were soon 6-0 down to two penalties but then the game changed. Once Upton realised their strength lay out wide they started to exploit the Old Yards defence. 
 
Before half time Upton scored 4 tries for a Bonus point. Jake Lee crossing twice with one each for  Freddie Barrell and Josh Finch. Rob Heeley converted 3 of these to make the half time score 26-6. 
 
Upton started the second half in control and further extended their lead when defending on their line Josh Finch intercepted the ball on his goal line and sprinted 100 metres to score. 
As Upton started to tire Old Yards came back and scored two converted tries to reduce the score to 31-20 but Rob Heeley stepped up with 10 minutes to go and sank two long range penalties to put the score beyond two converted tries for Old Yards and ultimately secure the win for Upton. 

Upton -v- Birmingham & Solihull

Saturday 17th September 2022

Score:  Upton 14 – B&S 27

On Saturday 17th September Upton entertained early league leaders Birmingham and Solihull Bees in Counties 3 Midlands West South.
 
Having lost their first home league game to Bedworth two weeks previously the home side had been buoyed by a last gap win away at Kings Norton.
 
Birmingham and Solihull are a club with huge history. A once professional club who can claim to beating Wasps in 28-24 in 2004 , the club had to pull out of the leagues a few years ago as they struggled to fulfil their fixtures due to falling playing numbers. 
 
Having restarted last season in the lowest league they have now gained promotion to Counties 3 with a youthful squad. The rumours were they played a fast game and this was very evident from the first whistle. The visitors threw the ball around using their pace and power to stun Upton. Within no more than 10 minutes they had scored two converted tries, the first a routine move from a scrum that their left winger finished off and then a powerful run from their impressive number 6. 
 
However if you then stood back and realised that Upton  ‘won’ the next 70 minutes 14-13 it gives you a sense that this game was certainly a tough affair for both teams. 
 
Once Upton recovered from the shock of those two fast tries they started to use their own youthful side to string together some decent phases of possession. With a strong lineout and driving maul Upton used these to set up a number of attacks. They thought they had scored out wide when flanker turned centre Freddie Barrell went in at the corner only to be adjudged to have a foot in touch but soon they were on the scoreboard when after a series of short drives skipper Pat Collins powered over from 5 metres out. Rhys Cousins converted to make it 7-14 after 20 minutes. 
 
Bees soon extended their lead with a penalty and then just before half time extended their lead this time using their burly front row to bulldozer their way over the line from 5 metres out. With the conversion missed the half time score was 7-22.
The second half was a much lower scoring affair as the heat took its toll on both sides. Upton struggled to gain much of their own first phase however their defence amidst countless Bees attacks was immense. However once again the pace of the young Bees three quarter line led to a fourth bonus point try once again for their pacy left winger to found the defence out wide for his second score. 
 
The last 20 minutes though was mainly Upton as they went in search of more scores of their own and with 5 minutes to go after a number of good forward drives from the likes of Elliot Cash the ball was recycled and span wide. Captain Collins took the ball from fly half Gammond before passing to Rob Heeley, Tom Powles and Josh Finch who set young Will Heeley in to finish in the corner for his first senior try. 
 
Cousins converted to make it 14-27.
 
With only a couple of minutes to go Upton were keen to score another try to delight the large crowd that had assembled on the bund.  Unfortunately despite valiant efforts to throw the ball wide a knock on led to the final whistle.