Reading deserved victory
Missed early chances cost the day
Buckingham 17 Reading 24
Following an excellent midweek 30-20 victory over Daventry in the Lewis Shield Semi Final, the vociferous home crowd of around 200 were expecting another fine performance by Buckingham against a Reading team who had lost their previous 4 league games in a row. The inaugural Ladies Lunch and refurbished clubhouse augured well for the home team before the match. However, on a grey, overcast, but windless afternoon, the form book was well and truly overturned, with Reading pulling off a shock, but fully deserved victory.
Reading kicked off and the opening exchanges during the first quarter were tentative as Buckingham dominated territorially, but early injuries to Tom Taylor and Matt Hawker required replacements by Craig Coxon on the wing and Phil Wright at centre. On 15 minutes, a line out won by Buckingham on Reading’s 22 saw a good catch and drive only to be held up 5 metres out. Reading won the subsequent scrum, but a penalty for a Buckingham offside meant that Buckingham’s first real attacking opportunity had come to nothing.
The first score came after 25 minutes. Reading easily pushed back the home scrum on Buckingham’s 22m line. Good handling by the Reading backs, but a couple of missed tackles resulted in the Reading left wing crossing in the corner. Buckingham 0 Reading 5. Buckingham responded well from the kick off, with a storming run by Phil Wright into the Reading 22, but a knock on and subsequent penalty allowed Reading to clear.
On the half hour, some good Buckingham passing interplay and recycling saw Matt London cross the line under the posts, with Ed Kinman adding the afters. Buckingham 7 Reading 7. Within 5 minutes, Buckingham were further head. A line out on the Reading 22, won by Buckingham, a Jamie Lee 20m break, recycle and try by Phil Wright. Buckingham 12 Reading 7 at half time.
The second half began well for Buckingham, applying good pressure inside the Reading 22. An excellent bouncing Kinman kick to the corner resulted in a 5m line out won by Reading and scrum on the 22 to Reading. The subsequent clearance kick from a scrum found Craig Coxon just inside his own half who jinked his way a full 40m, found Kinman and the forwards, with Jamie Temple going over from short range. Buckingham 17 Reading 7 after 45 minutes.
Within 2 minutes, Reading were back in the game. With the ball lost by Buckingham in their own 22, a cross kick to the right hand corner enabled the Reading right wing to catch and touch down to make the score Buckingham 17 Reading 12. Four minutes later, a missed penalty kick to touch by Buckingham, the ball run back and moved through the hands by the Reading backs and the Reading left wing was over for a second. All square, 17 all.
The subsequent kick off by Buckingham did not go 10. At the scrum restart, Reading pushed Buckingham back, with the ball kicked to the corner. From the ensuing line out on Buckingham’s 5m line, a catch and drive saw Reading held up over the line: scrum 5, Reading put-in. Reading’s dominant scrum easily pushed the Buckingham pack back, driving over for an easy converted try. Buckingham 17 Reading 24 and a 4-try bonus point to Reading after 60 minutes.
That was to be the final score. Reading were pretty comfortable during the last quarter, with Buckingham only having two more real opportunities. After 70 minutes, a 10m break by Joe Chalmers released Jamie Lee who thought he’d crossed the try line only to be flagged for foot in touch some 5m out. Despite Reading having a player yellow carded in the last 5 minutes for a high tackle, Buckingham knocked on 5m out from the Reading line, then gave away a penalty at the subsequent scrum. Reading kicked to touch to conclude the game.
In truth, the collective Buckingham team performance was probably left on the Maids Moreton playing Fields following the hard fought midweek victory, with Buckingham running on empty from 45 minutes. However, there were some good positives for Buckingham, notably Matt London's performance, who was their best player on the day and the losing bonus point. Reading’s scrum was dominant in the game, with their scrum half man of the match. Reading were the better team on the day, thoroughly deserving their win.