SWINDON 5 READING 7 SOUTH CENTRAL 2
Report by Peter Chidgey
Reading snatched victory at Swindon with a last minute penalty try when their sustained second half pressure finally paid off. Despite being the better side in the second half it looked like Reading would not be rewarded for their efforts but perseverance paid off and their last gasp pressure eventually forced the issue.
This was a game played in wet and windy conditions which led to frequent handling mistakes and in which the defences dominated. Reading always looked the better side having the better scrum and line out but were unable to achieve the cutting edge needed to cross the line. Swindon defended resolutely and cut down Reading’s opportunities.
Playing with the wind in the first half Reading had most of the territory without being able to make anything of it. By contrast Swindon made good use of their one real opportunity. Josh Nichol was yellow carded for a deliberate off side and Swindon kicked the resultant penalty into touch near to the line. From the line out they drove the ball, using their extra man advantage, to score an unconverted try.
Apart from one good break from Robbie Webster which was stopped just short of the line, Reading’s half was a story of limited openings and many handling errors which gave them a big task playing into the wind in the second half.
Their second half performance was at a much better level. They monopolised possession and put constant pressure on their opponents. Swindon only escaped from their own half once during the whole half, even though they were playing with the wind, such was the Reading pressure.
The referee gave a number of close in penalties and issued three yellow cards to Swindon players. He could easily have given penalty tries on at least two occasions as desperate Swindon defence kept Reading out.
It seemed that something would have to give but Swindon held out until the very last minute when after a series of penalties Reading opted for a scrum which they pushed back towards the Swindon line. Swindon collapsed the scrum and the referee awarded a penalty try to give Reading the win their second half effort clearly deserved.
Reading head coach Lee Goodall was extremely pleased with the gritty second half performance which he said was the best half he had seen during his time at the club. He was also pleased that for the first time this season the team had managed to win away and achieve back-to-back victories.
Reading’s next game is next Saturday, 12 November against old rivals Newbury, the first time they have met in the league since 2016-17 season.
There will be a President’s Lunch, at which Graham Lyke, a former Reading captain, who was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and Prostate Cancer last year is hoping that the members of Reading Rugby Club will support him in collecting money for Cancer Research UK. At the lunch he will speak about his experiences, encourage diners to talk more freely about their ailments and see their GP early if they have any symptoms. Those members unable to come to the lunch can e-mail him on firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a donation
Team: Alex Dorliac; Robbie Webster, Alex Murray-Smith, Stuart Borthwick, Matt Smart, Matt Daw; Finbar O’Regan, Nathan Wheeler; Harry Wilson, Steve King, Josh Nichol; Andy Parr, Ryan Smith; Will Proctor-Searle, Gavin Egan, Ben Wills.
Replacements: Stephen Orwin, Max Pepper, Jordan Gomez