Reading finished the season with their fourth bonus point win in a row in an open and entertaining game against local rivals High Wycombe. Reading achieved the double over their Bucks’ opponents by scoring five tries to three, in stark contrast to the away game when only nine points were scored.
The Reading scrummage which has looked very solid in recent weeks was again to the fore giving their backs a good supply of ball and disrupting the Wycombe possession. As early as the first ten minutes this dominance told as from a solid scrum No 8 Ashley Chapman who had a storming game, made a clean break and a good pass by Bowers put full back James Mitchell in for a try.
Wycombe who were offloading well came back into the game and their outside half jinked through the Reading lines for a good individual try which he converted to give his team the lead.
Reading slowly got on top using Chapman, Ryan Smith and Charlie Davies to punch holes in the Wycombe defence and regained the lead when the Wycombe defence were unable to stop a Davies break from halfway. He slipped the ball to Dorliac close to the line who ran in for a try which Bowers converted.
Reading quickly extended their lead when after multiple phases they moved the ball wide to winger Chris Greig who beat his man to score near the posts for Bowers to convert and give Reading a 19-7 half time lead.
Wycombe started the second half with a well worked converted try down the narrow side from a short penalty. But Reading hit back almost at once and again their scrum dominance told when they disrupted a Wycombe scrum close to the line and worked the ball out to Will Proctor-Searle who scored an unconverted try in the corner.
Wycombe then reduced the Reading lead with a penalty but Bowers immediately responded for Reading to make the score 27-17. Reading were on top at this stage but were knocked back when a promising passing move was intercepted by one of the Wycombe centres for a breakaway try which was converted to make the score 27-24.
This led to a nervous ten minutes for the hosts but eventually their forward dominance told as they drove a line out close to the Wycombe line which Wycombe brought down and the referee had no hesitation in giving a penalty try.
This was a good Reading win on the basis of another strong forward display. The front row of Pallett. King and Nichol achieved dominance at scrum time. James Mitchell and Greig in the backs always posed threats and skipper Charlie Davies with an all action performance led by example.
An upbeat Ben Wills, the Reading coach. congratulated his team on another good performance and saw the end of season run as a good base to take off from for next season.
Scorers: Tries: James Mitchell, Alex Dorliac, Chris Greig, Will Proctor-Searle, Penalty
Cons: Sam Bowers (2) Pen: Bowers (1)
READING: James Mitchell; Will Proctor-Searle, Alex Dorliac, Grant Spears, Chris Greig; Alex Murray-Smith, Sam Bowers; Josh Pallett, Steve King, Josh Nicol, Ryan Smith, Steve Orwin, Fraser Koefman, Charlie Davies, Ashley Chapman. Replacements: Sam Taylor, Seb Assefuah, Ben Mitchell
Updated 13:15 - 31 Aug 2018 by Clare Swadling