READING CC missed out on a golden opportunity to spring a surprise in Division 2b of the Thames Valley League, but ultimately slipped to a 32-run reverse at home to second-placed Beaconsfield, writes Richard Ashton.

The hosts lost the toss and were asked to field, but they made a couple of early breakthroughs as Jack Beaven bowled skipper Adam Francis for three and Bobby Malik entered the attack to dismiss Johnny Bowers for a duck.

Zippy Ashraf (35) and David Heavyside (26) steadied the innings, but with both falling to Malik and James Rendall and Ed Barnett going for ducks to the same player, Reading appeared on top.

Second-change bowler Hamish Scott picked up 2-31 to hasten Beaconsfield's demise, and Malik lastly dismissed Hamish Smart to finish with magnificent figures of 7-46 from 21 overs, including three maidens.

Amid the wreckage caused by Malik, Nilesh Odedra held firm with an unbeaten 35 which ensured Beaconsfield reached 137.

Reading lost Pav Chima early, but Sunny Jheeta (26) and Rahul Bharti dug in to give them a platform.

However, the duo both fell to off spinner Joe Bracey, and when he dismissed Beaven and Phil Brennan for single figures, he had taken the first five wickets of the reply.

Beaconsfield's player-coach Ashraf was introduced as he and Bracey twirled away in tandem, with Ashraf accounting for Liam Jones and Amardeep Dosanjh as the visitors turned the screw.

And there was little resistance from the lower order as Bracey (6-51 from 15 overs) and Ashraf (4-31 from 9.2) combined to send Reading spiralling to 105 all out.

Reading will hope to return to winning ways when they travel to Thatcham Town this Saturday.

A wonderful opening partnership between Ross McKnight and skipper Khurram Mahmood inspired Reading 2nds to an impressive eight-wicket victory against Wargrave 2nds in Division 4a.

Dani Katuri grabbed two early wickets to leave Wargrave in trouble, although Salman Khalid resurrected his side with an excellent innings of 75.

However, aside from Sam Bowers making 31, there was little success for the Wargrave batsmen, eventually bowled all out for 168 as all the Reading bowlers enjoyed success.

Katuri (3-38 from 16 overs) was the pick of the attack, but he received useful support from Aditya Srinivasan (3-61), Amandeep Singh (2-32) and Chris Priddle (2-35).

The visitors went on to make light work of the run chase, given the perfect platform by Mahmood (60) and McKnight (70no) as they reached 170-2 in just 36 overs.

In Division 6b, Reading 3rds remain second bottom after holding on for a draw at home to Hurst 2nds.

Tom Hibbs top scored for the visitors with 54 after they chose to bat, but excellent bowling performances from Srinivasan Kumar (5-48 from 19 overs) and Taylor Christopher (3-38) ensured Hurst were bowled out for 216.

Reading slipped to 50-4 in reply as Andrew Cording (3-45 from 16) produced a fine spell, but Arjan Srinivasan (55) played a fine innings and assisted by useful contributions throughout the lower middle-order, Reading were able to hang on at 175-7 in 49 overs.

Reading 4ths suffered a disastrous day in Division 9a, going down by 224 runs at Slough 6ths.

Jack Wright produced a fine 10-over spell to take 5-47 as the hosts were bowled out for 255, openers Amaan Ikhlaq (70) and skipper Sunil Bindra (57) leading the way for their side as Jibran Ahmed (2-33) and Aditya Menon (2-62) also grabbed a couple of wickets apiece for Reading.

The run chase proved a nightmare for the away side, however, with Joseph Salazar's top score of six one of only four players to register a run.

Raja Javed took 4-5 and with the innings containing six ducks, Reading were shot out for just 31 in 14.4 overs.