AN excellent all-round performance, led by an exceptional front row, gave Reading a resounding 36-5 bonus-point win against one-time Southern Counties North promotion hopefuls Aylesbury.

It was a narrow 5-3 win against Aylesbury earlier in the season which started Reading’s current 11-match winning run, and it is a measure of their progress since then that they were able to win this game comfortably on an all-weather pitch the home side was more used to playing on.

The difference was Reading’s greater variety of options.

The home side had the upper hand in the first 10 minutes as they hammered away with short passes for big forwards to run onto.

Reading’s defensive play was both solid and aggressive, however, and the strength of the pack was to prove decisive.

Founded on the strong front row – Josh Pallett, Ricky Willcock and Josh Nicol – the Reading pack gave their side the crucial go-forward momentum to take control of the match.

Two of them, Pallett and Nicol, scored tries, with the latter being deprived of a second by the referee’s decision to award Reading a penalty try for a high tackle even though Nicol had touched down.

Once Reading had repelled Aylesbury’s earlier attacks they opened the scoring with a 15th minute try from wing Stuart Borthwick, following a defence-splitting run from full back Alex Dorliac. Reading’s next try came 10 minutes later as a great counter-attack led to a five-metre scrum. With their strength up front Reading went for, and scored, a pushover try, credited to Charlie Davies.

Aylesbury came back and, on the half-hour, had an attacking scrum 10 metres out. However, Reading drove them back at the scrum and won a penalty to clear.

Two minutes later it was Reading who scored as another great move and a break by Dorliac led to a try for Pallett. Dorliac’s conversion made the half-time score 17-0.

Seven minutes into the second half Reading were awarded a penalty try after a break from scrum-half Callum Cload set up a try-scoring opportunity for the illegally-tackled Nicol.

The prop just had to wait another 13 minutes, however, when more flowing play ended with him driving over for a try which Dorliac converted. The final try for Reading came in the 70th minute with Alex Murray-Smith well placed to finish off a good move, well-timed passes opening up the Aylesbury defence.

Aylesbury kept going and to their credit managed a try before the final whistle, but it was a fine Reading win.

Reading host Bicester this Saturday.