READING RFC's first-ever fixture with Shipston-On-Stour ended disappointingly as two late tries from the home side gave them a narrow 17-15 Southern Counties North victory.

Five minutes from time Reading led 15-5 and seemed set for a well-deserved win away from home.

However, down to 14 men after a yellow card for Charlie Davies, they conceded two tries in five minutes to lose a game which was there for the taking.

Much of the last 10 minutes was spent on defence and it was no real surprise when the home team’s solid centre burst through for a converted try after 75 minutes.

Reading were now leading 15-12 with five minutes to go.

They held out for a couple of minutes and looked to control their own line-out 10 metres from their line and run down the clock.

However, as they caught-and-drove an unnecessary crossing gave Shipston a penalty.

This they kicked into touch and then drove the resultant line-out over for the winning score.

Coach Ben Wills was naturally disappointed, saying: “We have put a great emphasis on discipline and we are still giving away too many penalties.”

Another area of concern, particularly in the first half, was the competition in the loose, where lack of numbers meant the ball did not always come their way.

To their credit the line-out work, despite the early loss of the first two, worked well and the scrum more than held its own.

The home team had started the match on the offensive and had the first scoring chance as a penalty attempt was missed from 35 yards.

Reading gradually settled and scored a 16th-minute try as No. 8 Robbie Edwards forced a turnover and centre George Dear opened up the defence with a great run, putting Fraser Koefman over for the try. Nick Burch converted.

Burch, usually a very competent kicker, was not at his best and missed a straightforward penalty before, just short of half-time, a line-out catch-and-drive brought the home team their first try.

It was converted to give them a 7-5 lead at the interval.

The second half saw the home team make the pace for a while, but Reading’s defence proved to be good.

Fifteen minutes in skipper Alex Dorliac twice made the decision to take a scrum when a kickable penalty was available.

The strategy worked as on the second occasion the scrum drive ended with hooker Steve King driving over under the posts.

Surprisingly, Burch’s conversion was charged down.

On top by now, Reading had a similar opportunity seven minutes later.

Again they went for the scrum, but when that led to another penalty in front of the posts, Burch kicked and took the points.

Reading now led 15-5, a lead they held until the last frantic five minutes, but ultimately they had to settle for a single bonus point which, after two games, puts them in eighth position.