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1st XV - Match centre

Reading
Stow-on-the-Wold
Sat 27 Jan 14:00 - South West Division - Southern Counties North Full time

READING 37 STOW ON THE WOLD 10 S COUNTIES NORTH 27 01 18

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READING 37 STOW ON THE WOLD 10 S COUNTIES NORTH 27 01 18

Reading’s victory in this match, following their win at Stow earlier in the season, gave them the double over another side in their league for the first time since the 2014-15 season. When the sides met earlier in the season, Reading were the first side to beat them after three games. Since then the Gloucestershire side have found the going tough and they are now 4th from bottom, eleven points behind Reading.
Reading had this game sewn up in the first half hour, by which time they already had five tries. 27-3 up at that stage they conceded an early second half try before scoring another two themselves to seal a comfortable victory. The second half became more of a slog as weather conditions worsened, the ball became more difficult to handle, and both sides made plenty of mistakes under pressure.
Reading Head Coach Ben Wills was especially pleased with the first half performance. “We played well, pushing them back yards in the scrums, dominating the lineouts, making good decisions and scoring tries”, he said. The tries did indeed flow right from the beginning, the first one coming from prolific winger Chris Greig in the fourth minute. This followed some good driving play from the forwards before Greig forced his way over. The conversion was missed, as was every other Reading conversion attempt in the match in admittedly windy and muddy conditions.
Three minutes later Reading’s dangerous full back, James Mitchell, was pulled down just short of the line after a great run but the subsequent line out and drive for the line resulted in the referee awarding Reading a penalty try which these days provides an automatic seven points.
Stow returned with a penalty but two tries from Number 8 Grant Spears, one from driving play in the loose and the other from a five metre scrum, gave Reading a healthy lead (22-3), despite the lack of conversions. Before half time Mitchell came close to a try after another penetrating run before, in the 32nd minute, Nick Portch used his strength to drive over from a five metre scrum.
By half time, with five tries scored and the bonus point in the bag the game was as good as over.
In the second half Stow came more into the game. An improved scrummage and some good driving play brought them an early try but that ended their scoring. Reading’s final two tries came late in the game as Melvyn Gilmour and Fraser Koefman both showed they had the strength and skill to make the line.
The game will give Wills and his team some confidence before they travel to take on high flying Thatcham next Saturday. It also provided an opportunity to give debuts to youngsters, prop Steve Orwin and Ollie O’Toole, whose elder brother has already been involved in three games. These players provide promise for the future.
TEAM: James Mitchell; Andy Mason, Will Proctor-Searle, Melvyn Gilmour, Chris Greig; Alex Murray-Smith, Nick Portch; Josh Pallett, Steve King, Josh Nicol, Charlie Davies, Ryan Smith, Fraser Koefman, Taylor McRoberts, Grant Spears Replacements: Steve Orwin, Ray Mead, Ollie O’Toole
Tries: Grant Spears (2), Chris Greig, Melvyn Gilmour, Nick Portch, Fraser Koefman, Penalty try.
Ted Goodhew

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

Other Southern Counties North results

11
3
Windsor
High Wycombe
12
10

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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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