Hosts take victory in closely fought contest – Reading Today Online

Vermont Images Ltd

Reading RFC stunned high flying London Irish Wild Geese with a well-deserved victory in a closely fought game.

Reading’s win came by virtue of a dominant scrum and a fiercely aggressive defence. They scored tries through Wheeler and Clarkson, both converted by Tom Sharp who also kicked a penalty which ultimately proved crucial.

Reading came into this game on the back of four consecutive defeats whilst Irish were third in the table having won six of their nine games.

Reading started well dealing competently with the Irish attempts to move the ball although for the first twenty minutes their efforts were mainly concentrated on defence.

Reading steadily grew in confidence and based on their scrum which at this stage was clearly on top began to attack more.

From an attack in the Irish 22 Tom Sharp was tripped and a skirmish developed which resulted in two Irish players together with Reading’s Alex Rowe being yellow carded.

Reading took immediate advantage of the extra man and from a scrum near the Irish line which Reading initially tried to push over scrum half, Wheeler picked up and beat the defence with a cheeky dummy for a try in the corner which was well converted by Sharp.

The Irish repost was almost immediate. Taking advantage of a Reading mis-kick they moved the ball out to the left where Gomez, the winger who has had two spells with Reading, outstripped the defence to score an unconverted try.

As soon as the teams returned to full strength Irish struck again taking advantage of a clearance they ran the ball back and beat the Reading defence with some good inter-passing to score near the posts. The conversion missed to leave the score at 7-10 to the Irish.

Defences dominated for the rest of the first half and there was no further score although Sharp was just short with a penalty attempt from the halfway.

The second half started in a similar manner to the first with Irish trying to find the edge of the Reading defensive line but Reading’s line speed and tackling forcing frequent errors.

As in the first half having weathered the storm Reading became more dominant. Irish could not clear far from a scrum on their line.

From the resulting line out, after a series of rucks, Clarkson picked up when King went to ground and burst through. He beat the covering defence to score a try which Sharp converted with another fine kick to put Reading 14-10 in front.

Reading were certainly on top at this stage and a multiphase attack near the Irish line was kept out by some good Irish tackling which became over aggressive when they made a high hit on one of the Reading centres in front of the posts.

This resulted in a yellow card and a penalty. Sharp succeeded with the resulting kick to give Reading a seven point lead.

Despite being one man down, Irish spent most of the sin bin period in the Reading 22. Although they had a number of opportunities, Reading failed to clear their lines and eventually Irish moved the ball wide to score in the corner. The conversion attempt failed.

Reading saw out the last few minutes deep in Irish territory for a famous victory.

Reading Head Coach, Luke Harding, was delighted with his team’s performance praising their concentration and aggression from the first to last minute and pointing out that with that level of performance they were a match for any team in the league.

Reading will need to build further on this in their next game Saturday, December 2 at home to Winchester, who themselves are now third in the league.

Tries: Wheeler, Clarkson

Conversions: Sharp (2)

Penalty: Sharp

Reading: Alex Dorliac (capt.); Leo Quigley, Tom Johnson, Archie Wright, Charlie Attard; Tom Sharp, Hayden Wheeler; Josh Pallett, Steve King, Alfie Fryer; Joe Clarkson, Ryan Smith; Will Proctor-Searle, Alex Rowe, Rob Cunningham.

Replacements: Harvey Rice, Brandon Taplin, Sean Bailey.

Report by Peter Chidgey

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *