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1st XV - Match centre

Sat 25 Nov 14:30 - South West Division - Southern Counties North Full time




A cracking game of rugby full of sparkling attacking play from both sides went right down to the wire as it was in stoppage time at the end of the game that the visitors maintained their position at the top of the league table with the winning try. The crucial moment came as the excellent referee penalised Reading, perhaps controversially, when they were in an attacking position. The score at the time was 34-34. A couple of kicks later Buckingham had an attacking lineout which they drove over for the winning score. The subsequent conversion brought the game to an end.
Reading Head Coach Ben Wills admitted afterwards that he was “gutted”. Yet there was much which, on reflection, he can find encouraging. First of all there was the resilience and determination displayed against a team which has won all eight matches to date. This was seen particularly in their coming back from 17-34 after 52 minutes to 34-34 just before the end. The set pieces went very well, with all but one Reading lineout won and the scrum pushing their opposite numbers back too. The Buckingham Number 8 and scrum half were clearly used to this, however, and dealt very well with the possession, despite going backwards.
Both sides were better in attack than defence, with elusive running from the two back divisions creating frequent try-scoring opportunities; the try count ended 7-6 to the visitors. Yet things looked ominous for Reading early on. Buckingham looked to be an efficient, well-drilled side and they had their first try four minutes into the game.
Fifteen minutes later they added another try, this time converted, after a great flowing move. 12-0 down, Reading fought back as Alex Dorliac took advantage of a great run by full back James Mitchell to score a fine try, converted by Nick Portch. Buckingham quickly came back with a converted try but Reading swiftly retaliated with tries from second row Ryan Smith and Dorliac. Smith’s try came after a lineout catch and drive while Dorliac’s try, his second, followed good work from distance by Dan Witko and Chris Greig. This brought the score to 17-19 but just on half time a catch and drive lineout move gave the visitors a seven point lead at half time. (17-24).
The first 12 minutes of the second half turned out to be the crucial period, a time when the game was potentially lost and won. Despite Reading’s superiority in the scrums, helped by the return of ex Reading skipper Mark Roberts, some good play from the Buckingham backs brought them two tries, stretching their lead to 34-17. Reading looked to be down and out but full back James Mitchell then took over. First, quick movement of the ball down the backs saw him race over from fifty yards. Then Number 8 Adam Veale drove through from half way and Mitchell finished the move off. And finally Mitchell scored again as he made his way through a crowded situation from 20 yards out. This, with five minutes to go, levelled the scores.
All agreed this would have been a very fair final score but credit to Buckingham. They showed that they know how to win and they took their chance superbly.
As for Reading, they played their full part in a game played to a high standard. They have, however, lost four of their last five games despite scoring 152 points, including 24 tries. A pointer for future training sessions, no doubt!
READING SCORES: Tries: James Mitchell (3), Alex Dorliac (2), Ryan Smith. Cons: Portch (2)
TEAM: James Mitchell, Ben Mitchell, Alex Dorliac, Jos Clarke, Chris Greig; Dan Witko, Nick Portch; Josh Pallett, Billy Woodworth, Steve King, Rob Cunningham, Ryan Smith, Ashley Chapman, Fraset Koefman, Adam Veale. Replacements: Mark Roberts, Grant Spears, Melvyn Gilmour.
Ted Goodhew

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

Other Southern Counties North results

High Wycombe


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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Beaconsfield 22 104
2. Windsor 22 90
3. Buckingham 22 88
4. Aylesbury 22 72
5. Thatcham 22 68
6. Wallingford 22 61
7. Reading 22 57

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