READING Abbey Nuns secured their first Championship South West Two away win of the season with a 32-22 victory over league newcomers Portsmouth.

Although the bonus-point was wrapped up on the hour-mark, it was the Nuns who initially struggled to gain control of the game.

After a seemingly bright start, with wing Pippa Robinson regaining Ellie Rice's ball from kick-off, the Nuns looked the smarter team, but basic handling errors and discipline around the break down prevented them from getting an early try.

However, prop Hollie King finally broke the deadlock and crossed in the corner, showing great strength for her maiden try of the season.

Portsmouth responded well with strong forward carries, dominating the Nuns at the breakdown and forcing desperate cover tackles to be made. Flankers Fern Edgar and Alice Lawrence were instrumental in leading the away team's defensive line, but more indiscipline impeded the Nuns from regaining possession.

Eventually, Portsmouth scored two tries in quick succession – the first team to take the lead against the Nuns in any game this season – although they missed both conversion attempts.

It was the Nuns who had the last say of the half, however, after an intelligent read and quick hands from vice-captain Annabel Hawkins released full-back Annette Bevan to run in from half-way to level the scores.

The second half brought the wind to the Nuns' backs and their game plan, led by fly-half Abi Wall, changed dramatically to suit the conditions. Wall and Rice kicked well, pressurising Portsmouth's full-back, and the resulting chases saw three quick tries for Robinson, Bevan and Alice Denton, securing the bonus-point for five tries.

It was a period of good, flowing rugby for the Nuns which showcased glimpses of their devastating full potential; well-worked backs moves off a solid scrum which turned over three balls against the head.

To their credit, however, Portsmouth once again responded well and capitalised on yet another dip in Nuns' discipline which saw Edgar and centre Karen Pacho yellow carded in quick succession for repeated offside offences.

Buoyed by an extra player for 20 minutes of the second half, the home side scored twice through their prop and wing to close the gap to 10 points, securing them the losing bonus point.

Speaking after the game, Nuns head coach Lewis Jones said: "Overall the game wasn't what we know we can deliver, but we still managed to travel and come away with five points, so I'm happy with that."

Reading Abbey Nuns host Guildford on Sunday.

l READING Abbey picked up their first Southern Counties North point of the season, but are still winless following a 15-12 reverse at Shipston-on-Stour.

Abbey made an awful start as Tobi Faulkner raced in for the hosts from 50 metres out, but a ninth-minute try from hooker Jake Leach levelled matters in the ninth minute.

A Rob James penalty put the hosts back in front, and Faulkner's second try plus a conversion made it 15-5 at the break.

Abbey reduced the deficit just after the hour-mark when Conor Slaven went over for a converted score, but they could not find anything more and were consigned to a fourth straight defeat.

Reading Abbey have a week off before hosting Stow-on-the-Wold on Saturday, October 19.