READING 19 NEWBURY 47 SOUTH CENTRAL 2 12112022
Report by Peter Chidgey
Newbury ended Reading’s run of three wins in four games scoring seven tries to Reading’s three in a 19-47 win. Newbury were clinical in taking advantage of their opportunities in what despite the score was in many respects a closely matched game in which Reading had the best of the set pieces and ample possession without being able to take full advantage.
Reading started off on the front foot and mounted all the early pressure but in an episode which was typical of the game a Reading attempt to run the ball back from a 22 drop out was intercepted by the Newbury left wing who ran from his own half for a converted try under the posts.
Reading came back well winning a penalty from their dominant scrum and driving the resulting line out from which Will Proctor Searle broke off to cross the line for an unconverted try.
This pattern repeated itself throughout the first half. The next score came from Newbury pouncing on a Reading move that had broken down and this time moving the ball quickly through a number of hands to score an unconverted try in the corner.
Reading came back at once and strong runs from Rob Cunningham and Proctor-Searle set up a series of rucks near the Newbury line from which Stuart Borthwick forced his way over for a try which Dorliac converted to level the scores.
Newbury then scored a converted try after pressure in the 22 when a move seemed to have broken down but a bouncing pass sent the Reading defence the wrong way. Reading again hit back almost at once when Ben Wills crossed in the corner after a strong break by Borthwick. The conversion from Tom Sharp levelling the scores at 19-19.
Just before half time Newbury took the lead again with their best move of the match going through multiple phases before eventually breaking through the Reading defence to score near the posts and give themselves a half time lead of 19-26.
Reading still with every hope of getting something out of this game launched a series of attacks at the start of the second half but could not break through. Then in a repeat of their opening try after a Reading attack broke down in the
Newbury 22, the Newbury left wing pounced on the loose ball and sprinted the length of the field to score a converted try.
Reading continued to press but handling errors and tendency to give away penalties did not help their cause and in the later stages Newbury added two more converted tries firstly from a cleverly worked overlap on the right and then from a kick through and chase when it looked like the Reading defence had covered a Newbury break out on the left.
Reading were left rueing their lost opportunities in a game in which they were still competitive until late in the second half against a team whose back line was more savvy and ruthless when they had opportunities. Reading were more than a match for Newbury up front. Newbury, however, are more experienced at this level and they avoided set pieces, protected their possession and limited Reading’s opportunities.
Reading complete the first half of their league season in a fortnight’s time at Witney who are currently third in the league and will be another stiff test for the Holme Park side.
Tries: Proctor-Searle, Borthwick, Wills
Conversions: Dorliac, Sharp
Team: Alex Dorliac; Robbie Webster, Alex Murray-Smith, Stuart Borthwick, Matt Daw; Finbar O’Regan, Nathan Wheeler; Stephen Orwin, Steve King, Josh Nichol; Ben Wills, Ryan Smith; Will Proctor-Searle, Gavin Egan, Ben Cunningham.
Replacements: Josh Pallett, Max Pepper, Tom Sharp