Unbeaten Run Ends
The unbeaten Dragon’s Teeth took the short trip over the road to Reading RFC last Saturday, hoping to extend their unbeaten league season
Missing a few through injury, but seeing the return of JJ Bell to the back line. It was evident that the Teeth were up against a strong and organised Reading 2nd team.
Early penalties were exchanged with Reading taking the lead after a good attack was thwarted by a scrambled blue defence. The young Reading lock saw yellow after an altercation at a breakdown, however, the Teeth were unable to capitalise on the numerical advantage.
Reading’s centres ran straight and hard, sucking in blue defenders to unleash their powerful winger who scored two tries in quick succession. The Teeth, however, remained in touch due to some inaccurate place kicking from the Reading fly half. The Teeth pack stood toe-to-toe with their green rivals, fighting manfully to hold onto the bombardment of forward and back runners being thrown at them. As the half drew in the Teeth spent more time in opposition territory, finally managing to piece together some phases and looking more and more like the side that had gone undefeated in the previous four outings.
Despite this pressure, the uncharacteristic and unenforced errors again let Reading in, staging a length of the field counter attack only thwarted by the ever impressive Matt Edwards playing out of position at 13. Playing on an already injured ankle, Edwards departed, with Harry Chapman replacing him in the centre. Another green score took us into halftime with Reading leading 15-3 but still very much in touch.
Sadly it was not to be, despite an improved second-half effort with more periods of sustained pressure the Teeth didn’t really come close to crossing the green line. JJ Bell ran manfully from full back, on his long-awaited return from injury. The forwards continued to apply pressure and did not take a backward step.
With more injuries coming – Hodgson to a dislocated shoulder that led to his withdrawal from the game and Noye with a fractured rib – the task grew harder with the strong Reading winger completing his hat-trick. A further score from Reading took the score to 25-3, at which point the Teeth lost their talismanic captain to a late tackle which saw the Reading second row receive his second yellow card and his marching orders.
A switch around in the back line and the introduction of Richardson to the game, the Teeth did not give up. Increasing the pace and trying to grab a consolation try, but as with the previous attempts, these again were halted by a strong and organised Reading defensive line. The final whistle came with Reading deciding to kick a penalty dead. 25-3.
Time for reflection – a bad day at the office, a high error count and a disappointing result. The unbeaten run was ended. It has been a fantastic start to the season but we always expected to come across good sides. This Reading 2nd XV being the best we have faced so far. However the season is only 5 games old, the Dragon’s Teeth still sit 3rd in the league only 2 points adrift from the leaders. Lots to play for still.
Penalties: R. Clark
Match report by Tom Ansell