A COURAGEOUS and relatively inexperienced Reading Abbey squad battled bravely and showed great team spirit in a 41-15 defeat at Marlow.

The match was switched from Rosehill because Abbey’s pitch was too hard, and the home side ran in six tries, with wing Sam Hindley claiming a hat-trick. In reply, the visitors worked hard for their two tries, both of which went to hard-working flanker Ed House.

Abbey had a disastrous start to the game and went behind to a Hindley try inside 40 seconds, and when he grabbed a second which was converted 10 minutes later, Marlow has a 12-0 lead.

A Chris Witney penalty further stretched the advantage, with what proved to be the last points of the opening 40 minutes.

Abbey started the second half brightly, and aided by a yellow card for Marlow No. 8 Alex Spicer, got their first points on the board courtesy of a Charlie Shackleford penalty.

However, Abbey then lost a man of their own – half-time substitute Ollie Charlton – to the sin-bin, and Marlow's other wing, Stuart Jordan crossed for a try converted by Witney.

The try bonus-point was wrapped up by Ian Thomson on 64 minutes, Witney adding the extras to make it 29-3.

Abbey would not give up, though, and they got their first try after Ed House crossed following good work from Charlton, Sol Wallis-Robinson and Shackleford.

With the latter converting, the score stood at 29-10.

There was a dramtic end to the contest, however, as Hindley crossed for his hat-trick with just two minutes of normal time to play, but that was still sufficient for House to grab his second and Marlow centre Charlie Cotton to dot down in the final play.

Reading Abbey – who are pointless after two games – will aim to bounce back in what promises to be a fierce derby at Reading on Saturday.

l BERKSHIRE Shire Hall slipped to a second straight Berks, Bucks & Oxon Two South defeat as they went down 43-19 at Reading University.

Shire Hall are due to host Newbury 3rds on Saturday, though they have conceded their opening two fixtures of the campaign.