SEB Reynolds paid tribute to the depth of his squad after Rams made it six National One wins from six with a battling 26-10 home triumph against Bishop’s Stortford.
First-half tries from Max Hayman and Jak Rossiter, added to by a Fraser Honey conversion, made it 12-0 at the break before Chris Bolton landed a penalty for Stortford.
Honey’s break set-up Zach Clow for the third try, and the former then also converted Ollie Cole’s conus-point try before Ollie Jones nabbed a late consolation for the visitors.
Despite a solid performance from the starting XV, the likes of James Baker, Niall Kidd, Ben Atkins and Cole all made an impact off the bench.
“They came on with the game in the balance and helped manage to take it away from Stortford so that was great,” said Reynolds.
“The depth of the squad has improved and the players who have come in have been excellent. We’ve got 40 or 50 guys, and everyone will get an opportunity, they’ve got to be ready to take it.”
Reynolds was also pleased to only concede one try against a normally free-scoring outfit. He continued: “Our defence has been outstanding for a long time now and it showed – their try was sublime with some off-loading in the middle of the park.
“Reviewing Stortford you can see how dangerous they are, they’ve improved as a side with their set-piece and that’s given them a platform to attack from, so we’re pleased with our defensive performance.
“There’s a bit of frustration we didn’t score the tries we would have liked to, we had opportunities and little knock-ons here and there, off-loads not going to hand, but I felt we had good control which is important. I’m pleased with what we did.
“They’re an awkward side to play against and that’s a compliment. They buy into what they do and (DoR) Marcus (Cattell) and the other coaches are doing a fantastic job, they’re a good side who are always in the game so you can’t ever switch off.”
Having maintained their perfect start to the campaign, the head coach doubled down on his praise for the players as well as the supporters, an impressive crowd of 912 in attendance at Old Bath Road.
He said: “First and foremost the guys enjoy each other’s company – in the old days you didn’t use to look forward to training because it used to be lights sticking out of the bushes, a dark, dingy, cold clubhouse – but now they all look forward to it.
“They’re a pleasure to be around and it feeds into their enjoyment. They’ve got a class group who invest in their longevity – Drew stepped in as captain I think he might have had an even stronger game than he has in previous weeks.
“(For the supporters) We want to produce rugby people want to come and see and engage them in the sport.
“Rugby is being misrepresented at the top end – it’s under attack in the Premiership and Championship with the likes of Jersey – and we need some good news stories.
“If we can galvanise the area and get a team from Reading pushing on as a club, it’s what we pride ourselves on and we thank everyone for their support.”
Rams travel to Leicester Lions on Saturday (2pm).