Rams up a gear and move to third place.
A Rampant Rams side stormed away from Clifton with a dazzling second half performance to win the game 43 -16 at Old Bath Road.
Match Report by Cameron Temple
Photos courtesy of Tim Pitfield
After a shaky start the Reading men were able to recover under the leadership of captain Robbie Stapley, who described his team’s performance on the day as “……… a bit sloppy to start and it took us a while to re-group. Then we just played the game at our own tempo rather than panicking and scrambling to get the ball back. We put pressure on them and they started making mistakes and we just stuck to what we wanted to do”
This victory takes Rams to third as they continue their march up the table owing to scintillating form over the past 10 games.
Despite their underdog status Clifton built good pressure from the off, as they went through the phases, winning a penalty within kicking range and taking an early three points.
Shortly after this, with Clifton enjoying progress through their wingers, a series of missed tackles allowed the away sides Harrison to charge towards the oppositions try line resulting in their being awarded a penalty and once again opting to kick for the posts bringing their tally to six.
Not to rest on their laurels, Clifton advanced on the Rams’ defence, as they were determined to build on their early dominance, brought forward by the darting footwork of Levesley, they won yet another penalty, but on this occasion Wells fell short of the posts.
However, they were not left ruing this missed opportunity for long, as Roberts broke and popped the ball off to playmaker Levesley who played a smart pass back inside to Clark who stretched the ball over the line, despite a last ditch tackle attempt from Corrigan, to extend the away sides unlikely lead.
Eventually, the Rams began to compose themselves but were still not quite able to sustain a prolonged attack, until the ever-reliable Rams pack drove forward, with the ball breaking to Cole who ran the ball in at the corner, putting the Reading men on the scoreboard for the first time of the afternoon.
From this moment the game was never really in doubt for the Home side, as they quickly built on their momentum with Souter and Vooght both scoring in similar fashion by intercepting Clifton attacks and pouncing on the opportunities to take the Rams into the break with a 19 – 11 lead.
Once again Clifton began the second half in a dynamic manner as Wells ran onto a well-placed kick and popped the ball off Levesley who was brought down heroically by Conor Corrigan agonizingly close to the home side’s try line.
Despite this, Clifton were not denied their second try of the afternoon for long, as they scored with their next move of the game following an impressive drive from the pack, leaving the Rams with a slender 19 -16 lead.
Not wanting to allow Clifton a route back into the game, Rams attacked immediately following this set back, but unfortunately, in the wake of brilliantly quick hands to put a string of passes together by the Rams’ backs, Corrigan knocked the ball over the try line, denying the Rams the perfect end to the perfect move.
Nonetheless, shortly afterwards, Sunley ran the ball over the Clifton try line in the corner, and after some discussion between the referee and his linesman, the try was awarded, restoring the Rams eight point lead.
From this moment the Rams hit full gear, adding three more tries to bring their tally to seven for the afternoon, notably a vintage 30 yard drive from the Rams pack to win a penalty try and a flashy 40 yard run from Richardson, evading an onslaught of tackles, before selflessly popping the ball off to Vooght for his second try of the afternoon.
Gutsy Clifton had one more go at inflicting damage of their own as they launched the best series of phases of the afternoon from deep within their own 22, only to be denied a much deserved touch-down as the ball was held up on the Rams try line for the last play of the game.
This 5 point win for the Rams moves them to third place in the league at the halfway stage of the season.
For the last game of 2017, 23rd December, the Rams are away to their first return match with London Irish Wild Geese.