A last minute try on his debut from James Hancock gave Reading their first win of the season and a reward for a gritty performance in a nail biter at Sonning Lane.
Reading had been in front for most of the game but were overhauled by a late Wimborne try which looked to have taken the spoils but Reading’s attack from the kick off stretched a tiring Wimborne defence and Hancock crossed from a ruck near the line.
The Reading team showed ten changes following the previous week’s mauling at Tottonians with the only back surviving being scrum half Jason Wheeler.
The changes seemed to have the desired effect with a spirited performance which unlike in previous weeks did not falter at the end of the game.
Reading had the advantage of the wind in the first half and an early Bowers touch-finder set up a good position near the Wimborne line from which Clarkson crossed from a driven line out for an unconverted try.
Reading soon doubled their lead when Mose was first to reach a Bowers cross kick and his kick forward enabled Webster to dribble over the line to score an unconverted try.
Reading failed to capitalise on their early dominance and ill discipline meant that they surrendered possession and territory when they were in promising positions.
Wimborne slowly came into the game and scored a try in the corner from a short penalty after working an overlap.
Just before the break Reading had another period of pressure in the Wimborne 22 and were rewarded when, they ran a penalty close to the Wimborne line and after Nichol made ground, Dottson dived over a ruck to score a try which Bowers converted to give them a 17-5 half time lead.
Reading began the second half well but were unable to profit from entries into the Wimborne 22.
Wimborne then showed them how to score when following a good back move to their left wing they recycled the ball to the right where they beat the cover defence to score a converted try.
The visitors were now gaining more territory and a clever reverse pass from their number 10 opened a gap for another try on the right to make the score 17-17.
Reading to their credit came straight back from the kick off. Pallett won the ball and after strong runs from Smith and then Palfreyman the ball was worked out to Proctor-Searle on the right wing and he avoided the attentions of two defenders to score in the corner to restore Reading’s lead.
This remained the score until with five minutes to go a series of Wimborne attacks put their centre over under the posts for a converted try to give them a 22-24 lead.
Reading again responded immediately, winning a penalty from the kick off, kicking for the corner and eventually setting up the ruck from which Hancock scored the winning try.
A relieved Reading head coach, Luke Harding, praised his teams never say die attitude, and the way they came back after falling behind. He said it was important to get that first win after a difficult start to the season.
This was a much better all-round performance from Reading with James Stewart impressive on his debut in the back row as was Matt Palfreyman returning at number eight.
Reading are now off the bottom of the league courtesy of the five points earned from this match and have next week off before an away match at Farnham in a fortnight’s time.
Tries: Clarkson, Webster, Dottson, Proctor-Searle, Hancock.
Reading: Sam Bailey; James Hancock, Robbie Webster, Stuart Borthwick, Vincent Mose; Sam Bowers, Hayden Wheeler; Josh Pallett, Joe Dottson, Josh Nichol (capt.); Joe Clarkson, Ryan Smith; Will Proctor-Searle, James Stewart, Matt Palfreyman.
Replacements: Harry Wilson, Brandon Taplin, Blair Fraser
Report by Peter Chidgey, Pictures by John Newport