BERKSHIRE Shire Hall overcame their toughest challenge in weeks as they secured a 36-12 success at Tadley 2nds in their BB&O Two South fixture on Saturday.

The visitors started the game on fire, scoring within a minute and before Tadley had even touched the ball.

A succession of forward carries sucked in the home defence before the backs were unleashed, with centre Dom Boakes ghosting past his opposite number before releasing Rhys Stewart to score in the corner.

However, the try scorer missed the conversion and then a straightforward penalty, and with the home side crossing for two tries, Shire Hall trailed 12-5 at the break.

The second half was in complete contrast to the first half, however.

The Shire Hall pack played with far more aggression and began to dominate their opposite numbers both in the loose and at the set-piece.

It was from a five-metre scrum that Shire Hall cut their arrears as they walked the Tadley pack over their try line with Matt Margot picking up at No. 8 and diving over.

The kick was missed and Shire still trailed, but the momentum was fully with the men in yellow and blue.

Further strong carrying by the visiting pack and the elusive hip-swerving of Margot repeatedly led Shire Hall up the pitch and provided territory the backs now took full advantage of.

A half break by Tom Gough as he jinked through the Tadley defence set up Stewart for his second try out wide to give BSH a 15-12 lead, before replacement Chris Harber barrelled over from short range to secure the bonus point and breathing space at 22-12.

Alex Webb ran in a try following slick hands by forwards Chris Wiseman and Margot, but the crowning glory was Stewart’s final try.

Playing with the advantage in Tadley’s 22, Boakes executed an improvised cross field kick to perfection for Stewart to run onto catch and complete his hat-trick.

Margot was named man-of-the-match following a number of line breaks and his 19th try of the season.

Berkshire Shire Hall now sit second in the table ahead of their Christmas break, one point behind leaders Aldermaston albeit having played a game more.