Swindon St George A 56-20 Reading Raiders
By Andrew Belt
Reading made the short journey to Swindon for the club's first ever 13-a-side game.
The game also tallied up as the first leg of the Kennet Cup, with Reading due to host Swindon in August for the return leg and an annual fixture to win the trophy proposed to build the relationship.
With Swindon's 1sts team fixture postponed, a number of their players bolstered the second team's ranks and first-timers Reading faced an uphill battle to remain competitive.
But being competitive is what they did and, after going 10-0 down to their opponents, South African forward Matt Mclellan burrowed over for the club's first try in a 13-a-side contest. Scotland A international Stuart Borthwick was unable to convert but made amends when converting from the touchline after winger Callum Man had scored an interception try later in the half.
Swindon turned the screw with Reading fading as the half went on and went in 28-10 up at the break.
Both captain Andy Parr and forward James Knott had to leave the field after receiving head knocks and other niggles saw others replaced as the encounter took its toll but it didn't stop the Raiders scoring the try of the game when fast hands saw several players spread the ball from left to right and utility back Callum House gratefully received the invitation from Peter Cooke to speed away on the wing and finish off an excellent move.
Reading scored again soon after as some dogged running from centre Tony Kirschstein Smith reaped its rewards to reduce the arrears further.
From being one or two scores behind, the depleted team conceded four tries in the last 10 minutes as they ran out of steam and Swindon clinically took advantage of the situation.
A great effort from the boys on their first 80-minute game and hopefully this will be the start of many more!
Team: 1 Peter Cooke (full back); 2 Callum Man (wing); 3 Callum House (centre); 4 Tom Hogan (centre); 5 Ryan Williams (wing); 6 Tom Sullivan (stand-off); 7 Ben Carter (scrum half); 8 Andy Parr (prop - captain); 9 Stuart Borthwick (hooker); 10 Matt Mclellan (prop); 11 Tom Manning (second row); 12 Shane Miller (second row); 13 George House (loose forward)
Interchanges: 14 James Knott (prop); 15 Ben Bragg (wing); 16 Tony Kirschstein Smith (centre); 17 Adam Veale (prop); 18 Alex Watson (scrum half); 19 Matt Hulland (prop); 20 Alex Dorliac (second row); 21 Andrew Belt (centre)