ANOTHER disappointing second half, when they conceded 15 points while scoring none, brought Reading their third Southern Counties North defeat on the road this season, going down 20-15 at Stow-on-the-Wold.

And coach Ben Wills admitted: “I was delighted with the first half performance and very disappointed with the second.”

In the first half Reading were dominant at the set-piece and clinical with possession, applying a great deal of pressure in Stow’s 22 and building up a 15-7 lead.

Prop Josh Nicol confirmed the front row superiority with a pick-and-drive for the first try, while centre Grant Spears deservedly scored the try his fine performance deserved.

Scrum-half Sam Bowers, making his first appearance of the season, converted one of the tries and kicked a penalty to confirm Reading’s first-half dominance.

The second half saw the home team upping their game and Reading giving away more and more penalties as their discipline faltered under pressure. As they did so they allowed Stow easy territory as the home team recovered to bring the scores level at 15-15.

Reading were still in the game, however, but wasted a golden opportunity to score before the home team came back with the winning try.

Plus points for Reading were the display of the front row, Steve King, Alex Watson and Nicol, and of backs Spears and Alex Dorliac, captaining the side.

They also managed to salvage a bonus-point playing away to a side who could well feature among the front runners this season.

A difficult start to the season has seen Reading manage to get two bonus-points out of their three away matches, while gaining a bonus-point victory from their home derby thrashing of Reading Abbey.

They will be looking for another good home performance and improved discipline when they play Wallingford at Holme Park on Saturday, October 19.