READING RFC's Southern Counties North season finished with a great win at a Marlow side which had thrashed Reading 41-10 on the opening day.

Three survivors from the first fixture were the front row, Josh Pallett, Alex Watson and Josh Nicol, and they made their presence felt at the very first scrum when Marlow had to rescue ball going backwards.

Charlie Davies and Fraser Keofman made sure of Reading line-out ball and, along with fellow forwards Andy Parr, Ed Dixon and Gavin Egan showed great commitment in defending Marlow’s attempts to use their big forwards to drive through.

Outside them, Lewis Bowers gave out a great service from scrum-half and at fly-half, man-of-the-match Alex Dorliac proved a real thorn in the flesh for Marlow with his tactical kicking.

Centres Grant Spears and Dan Witko provided a powerful defensive base as well as putting in some strong runs and they were well backed up by wings George Dear and Stuart Borthwick.

With Luke Burns also shining on his return at full-back, Reading managed to defend with gusto and score two tries to the home side’s one.

It was a measure of both teams’ commitment in defence that there was only one score in the first half as Marlow fly-half Freddie Lewis, making his first team debut, kicked a penalty.

A hard-fought and entertaining first half thus ended at 3-0 to the home side.

The second half began with Marlow on the attack, but Reading managed to hack a dropped ball out of defence for a move with ended with Marlow being penalised. Dorliac slotted the penalty and the scores were level.

More good play followed as a long kick from Burns and another by Dorliac resulted in a Reading five-metre scrum.

Marlow held out the attempted drive, but Reading opened the ball out and a chip saw Dear crash over for a try wide out. Dorliac’s conversion attempt was short, but Reading led 8-3.

Marlow were by no means beaten and came back strongly as a great break by centre Charlie Cotton set up a try which Lewis converted, putting his side 10-8 in the lead with 25 minutes still to go.

The hosts now concentrated on using their big forwards to drive close to the scrum while occasionally bringing their powerful back line into play.

And they certainly had their opportunities, but made mistakes under pressure and Reading’s line remained intact.

Then, with 15 minutes still to go, Reading scored what was to prove the decisive try.

Dorliac’s penalty from deep in his own half gave Reading a good attacking platform. From the line-out Reading moved the ball swiftly down the line and Burns drove through an attempted tackle to touch down what proved to be the winning try.

Delighted Reading head coach Ben Willssingled out Dorliac from praise and said “Roll on next season.”