READING Abbey returned to winning ways and all but banished any fleeting Southern Counties North relegation fears with a bonus-point 35-12 win in their Berkshire derby at home to Slough on Saturday.

The home side began on top and took a deserved lead after some good phase play and carrying by Charles Shackleford and Chris Shaw drew the Slough defence in, enabling Jeremy Knights to pick a good line and finish on the left flank.

Shackleford missed his attempted conversion, but as his side's forwards got on top, he struck two penalties to make it 11-0 to Luke Harding's men after 25 minutes.

A wonderful breakway score from Abbey captain Will Bevan proved a game-changer on the half-hour mark – with Slough inside the hosts' 22, he collected the ball and beat two defenders before scorching clear into the left corner.

Shackleford added a tough conversion and his side led by 18 points.

With the bit between their teeth, Abbey added another before half time and were unlucky not to grab a couple more.

Replacement Jack Stevenson and Gereie Sutherland carried well giving fly-half John Malivoire time to grubber through for full back Jules Greenaway to score after beating his man to the ball.

Shackleford converted again before a change in pitch to accommodate for a head injury to a Slough player. This signalled a loss in momentum and the score remained 25-0 at the break.

The second half was a forgettable affair with neither side able to build much momentum and time in possession, although Abbey No. 8 Max Courtnage carried off the back of a scrum to score the bonus-point try as the conditions worsened.

Despite having marched Slough backwards on a number of scrums, the visitors were able to steal Abbey ball from a scrum to score unexpectedly after 50 minutes; No. 8 Joseph Sole scoring a similar try to Courtnage after beating a few defenders off a pick-and-go.

From here on in the game went quiet for 15 minutes, the only moments of note being two yellow cards for either side in quick succession, Slough’s Ignacio Lopez for dissent and Courtnage for intentional offside.

The penultimate score came after both sides returned to 15 players, Sutherland beating three players after picking a fantastic line off a Bevan quick tap penalty.

The match returned to a passive affair marred by missed tackles and dropped balls until a poorly-timed Mike Beckly tackle saw the Abbey man sit the last few minutes out in the sin bin, Sole grabbing a second try converted by skipper Max Miles.

Reading Abbey have a week off before travelling to Stow-on-the-Wold on Saturday, February 9.