WE'RE now nearer to the end of the season than the start, and our top two sides show no sign of letting up in their bid for title glory.

London Irish battled to an important, five-try, 35-29 victory at Nottingham on Friday night – a ground where their nearest rivals in the Greene King IPA Championship, Ealing Trailfinders, had lost earlier this term.

They are still nine points clear at the summit, but face another big test on Sunday, when they welcome the only side to have beaten them in the league this season, Jersey Reds, to Madejski Stadium.

Meanwhile, National Two South table-toppers Rams matched their club record for most wins with a 15th-straight success, overcoming hosts Bury St Edmunds 19-3.

It was more than 12 years ago Rams last won so many games in a row, though that was down in Southern Counties and South West Two East, so to do it three levels higher as testament to how far the Old Bath Road club have come.

They are now 16 points ahead of second-placed Canterbury with 11 games left to play, including this Saturday's at home to lowly Barnes, and surely their promotion bid won't wobble now.

Coaches Seb Reynolds, Owen Root and Danny Batty must be very proud of their charges.

As for my boys Reading, we picked up a vital 28-20 win at fellow strugglers Slough to ease any relegation fears.

We actually trailed 15-3 at one stage, but the lads showed real heart and ability to ensure we came away with the win.

Two players to mention were Nick Burch, who kicked 13 points, and debutant Lewis Bowers, who scored a try on his debut as our comeback gathered momentum.

We host Stow-on-the-Wold on Saturday, and with them just one place above us in the table, it would be another important game to win.

Reading Abbey are two places clear of us in eighth, but they picked up nothing from a 34-10 reverse at leaders and title favourites Windsor.

The hosts are an impressive outfit who have been the team of the season to date, but Luke Harding will be hoping for more success back at Rose Hill on Saturday when Slough visit.

Lastly, good luck to Berkshire Shire Hall, who return to BB&O Championship action at lowly Harwell.