READING Abbey survived a nervous final seven minutes to clinch a precious four points with a 26-22 home victory against Aylesbury in their Southern Counties North fixture.

The home side was outscored by three tries to two, but a well-deserved success was based on an outstanding display by the pack.

The scrummaging was as impressive as it had been at table-toppers Witney a week earlier, and Abbey were also boosted by an excellent display of goal-kicking from Charlie Shackleford. Playing out of position at outside half, he landed all but one of his kicks for a personal haul of 16 points.

Aylesbury had earlier taken the lead with an unconverted Matt Dennis try after five minutes, only for Shackleford to add the extras to a Will Bevan score to nudge his side 7-5 up.

A Shackleford penalty on 35 minutes extended the advantage, but Aylesbury hit back with a converted Robbie Phillips try to lead 12-10 at half-time.

The visitors' discipline proved off at the start of the second period, and two more Shackleford three-pointers had Abbey four in front.

Nick Mercer replied with a penalty of his own for Aylesbury, but a Connor Slaven try, converted by Shackleford, gave the home side breathing space.

The outstanding Shackleford landed another penalty to push his side 11 points in front, but some quick thinking from Mercer saw him burrow over before he landed a superb conversion as the game entered seven minutes of stoppage-time.

However, despite Aylesbury's best efforts, they could not find another try and Abbey held on for a crucial win but all but secures their survival.

The Rosehill side have a week off before visiting Bicester on Saturday, March 21.

SECOND-PLACED Berkshire Shire Hall put Reading 3rds to the sword with a thumping 62-10 away win in Berks, Bucks & Oxon Two South.

Harry Stubbs, Dominic Boakes and Eric Murray all crossed for first-half tries, with Matt Margot adding two conversions to give his side a 17-3 lead.

Boakes added a second early in the second half before a quick-fire brace from Jotham Kennington put Shire Hall in complete control, and further scores from Oliver Jarrett, Alex Webb and Darren Choules secured a comfortable victory.

Shire Hall host Aldermaston in a top-of-the-table clash on Saturday.