TWO second-half tries from wing Chris Greig to add to a first half touch down from skipper Charlie Davies gave Reading a hard-fought 17-11 Southern Counties North win against a lively Stow-on-the-Wold side.

This gave Reading their fourth win in the last six matches, a run which has relieved potential relegation worries considerably.

They are now 11 points above Slough, the nearest team in the relegation zone, but with seven games still to go coach Ben Wills is aware there is still work to be done.

The win against Stow was by no means straightforward.

The visitors controlled much of the game and set the pace with a try and a penalty giving them an 8-0 lead after 25 minutes.

Reading came back from the latter immediately with Davies’ try as he took advantage of position gained by a great run from Grant Spears.

With the breeze now at their backs Reading looked to take control despite trailing 8-5 at half-time, but it was the visitors who continued to press in the second half. However, Reading’s defence held up well and out of the blue Greig found space deep in his own half and wound his way between and past opponents to score a fine individual try. Louis Bowers’ conversion gave his side a four-point lead.

Reading did not make it easy for themselves, however, as they wasted an attacking five metre line-out, Stow using the possession well to eventually set up a penalty and cut the gap to 12-11.

Then, back in their own half, Reading conceded a penalty, plus an extra 10 yards for dissent, but their scrambling defence just held.

Once again Greig got away in his own half and looked set for another great try, only for the referee to pick up an apparent crossing.

Eventually, however, Greig got his second try when good straightforward passing down the three-quarter line gave him room to go over.

With the score at 17-11 and just minutes to go the game looked safe, but Stow came back and Reading had to defend a five-metre scrum before being relieved by the final whistle.

Reading thus took four points for a win which was deserved.

Injuries to the regular front row meant Steve Orwin, Alex Watson and Gavin Egan had to take over, backed by Ash Chapman playing his first game of the season. Yet, to their credit Reading had the better of the scrums and Davies was prominent in taking line-out possession too.

Luke Burns, replacing an injured Alex Murray Smith at fly-half, used the wind well in the second half with his kicking and Spears and Alex Dorliac were strong in attack and defence.

Not for the first time, however, the match-winner in the end was Greig.