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1st XV - Match centre

Sat 9 Dec 14:00 - South West Division - Southern Counties North Full time




Reading were expected to win this game by a big margin, and they did what they came to do. Full marks should go, however, to the Farnham Common side who put in a great defensive effort and managed a try of their own in the second half.
It was Reading, however, who dominated from the beginning. The pack had the better of their opponents in the scrums and newcomer Connor Lee, making his debut, had a great game in the lineout. Flanker Grant Spears, hampered last season by injury, looked back to his best with his support play and elusive running. Centre Melvyn Gilmour, back for his first appearance this season, made some penetrative runs and was rewarded with three tries. Not to be outdone veteran winger Chris Greig also weighed in with a hat-trick of tries, taking his club total to 72 in 142 games.
Scrum half Nick Portch, who had an influential game behind a dominant scrum, scored two tries, a penalty and eight conversions to clock up 29 points. Also on the try-score sheet were centre Jos Clarke, hooker Patrick Johnson and, in his penultimate game before returning to New Zealand, prop Billy Woodworth. A solid practioner, Woodworth will be missed when he returns to his native country in January. Another young newcomer who made an impact coming on as a second half replacement was flanker Michael O’Toole; he certainly put himself in line for future selection.
The first score came in the second minute, when Nick Portch kicked a penalty. Reading continued on the offensive but were kept out by some excellent Drifters defence until a break by Clarke set up co-centre Gilmour for his first try. Ten minutes later Clarke himself scored after a great run by winger Chris Greig and, shortly after, Portch took a pass near the touchline and dummied his way under the posts to score.
Two tries followed shortly before half time. First, Patrick Johnson drove over from a lineout and then Chris Greig scored his first, following a scrum 35 yards out. Four of the five tries were converted by Portch for a half time lead 36-0. The second half started with a lineout try for Woodworth before the home team responded with a try of their own.
Undeterred, a Reading tap penalty from near their own line and a great run from Grant Spears ended with Portch scoring his second. Chris Greig then intercepted from distance and scored. Soon after, he was at it again after quick passing set him free. Melvyn Gilmour then took over, adding two more tries to make the final total of tries eleven. Portch added four more conversions to the total.
Next week Reading finish 2017 with a home game against second to bottom Gosford All Blacks (Kick Off 2.00 p.m.) They will need to show a similar mixture of discipline and flair if they are to get the win they will be aiming for.
READING: James Mitchell; Ben Mitchell, Melvyn Gilmour, Jos Clarke, Chris Greig; Alex Murray-Smith, Nick Portch; Josh Pallett, Patrick Johnson, Billy Woodworth, Connor Lee, Ryan Smith, Fraser Koefman, Grant Spears, Adam Veale. Replacements: Josh Nicol, Michael O’Toole, Will Proctor Searle.
Tries: Gilmour (3), Greig (3), Clarke, Johnson, Woodworth Cons: Portch (8) Pen: Portch (1)
Ted Goodhew

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

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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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