It was always going to be difficult in raising a team when Reading travelled to Grove on Easter Saturday for this re-arranged BBO3S league game. With a number of regulars away for Easter the Vikings were augmented with a number of players from the Vets and 5th XV (Saxons), in fact they made up about half the side. Reading got off to a good start when fly half Mark Lilley chipped over the defence and the ball was caught by Peter Bulteel who off loaded to Alex Baker to score in the corner. Mark added the conversion, then 10 minutes later extended the Reading lead with a well taken penalty from just inside the Grove half. The Vikings continued to pressure the home team and when lively winger John Reilly hacked on then recovered the ball to score in the other corner it looked as though Reading, with a 15 point lead after just over a quarter of the game, would have a comfortable afternoon. However Grove upped their game and a penalty just before halftime got them on to the scoreboard.
The second half got underway with snow blowing across the pitch; was this really Easter!. The game was fairly evenly matched and when Grove scored two quick tries on the hour mark to bring the scores level at 15 – 15 it looked as though the pendulum had swung in their direction. The Vikings did not give up and continued to press. A great run down the left wing by Lloyd Thomas was halted just before the line but he managed to offload to Peter Bulteel who ran round to score under the posts, providing another conversion for Mark Lilley. When another player was injured the referee decreed that a new player could not take to the field, despite Reading still having another two subs, but he would allow Alex Baker, who had been taken off earlier, to return. Alex playing out of position on the wing almost added the icing to the cake in the final minute but just failed to add the 4th bonus point try. Still the Vikings ended this Easter game with a well deserved victory against 4th place Grove and now look certain to finish in the top three.
Man of the Match was shared by Lloyd Thomas and Geoff Lovett.
TEAM Lloyd Thomas, John Reilly, Peter Bulteel, Martin Shaw, Luke Hardaker, Mark Lilley, Geoff Lovett, Darren Lever, Jon Riach, Brinsley Munn, Andy Lewis, Henry Shannon, Dave Osbourne, Alex Baker, Graham Williams. Sub: Rob Cunningham, Ian Gibson, Tom Everett, Graham O’Neil, Mark O’Neil, Allan Smith, Doug Grierson.