READING Ladies cruised to a dominant 45-12 victory at home to Harlequins 3rds in their opening South West East One game on Sunday.

It was the visitors who started brightly, scoring an early unconverted try to move into a 5-0 lead.

Reading hit back, however, when a line-out in the Quins’ 22 went awry and second row Nicola Brooks pounced on the ball. The remainder of the forwards provided scrum half Rachel Chidgey with quick ball and she capitalised on the forwards’ strong work by scoring Reading’s first try.

Natasha Holmes narrowly missed the conversion, hitting the nearside upright post, to leave the scores level.

The hosts moved into the lead on 18 minutes when Charlotte Chidgey picked the ball up cleanly from the back of a scrum to score Reading’s second try, and while Holmes’ second conversion attempt also hit the upright, this time it bounced more advantageously to land safely between the posts and increase Reading’s lead to 12-5.

Harlequins levelled matters almost immediately with a converted try, but good work by the Chidgeys set free forward-of-the-match Brooks to power over for her side’s third score. Holmes again converted and Reading led 19-12.

The home side snaffled a fourth try shortly before the break as replacement Donna Cox was set up by wing Claire Smallcombe, going over before Holmes added the extras to make it 26-12 to Reading at the interval.

The hosts came out all guns blazing at the start of the second half and their efforts were soon rewarded.

Lil Knight bulldozed her way through several Quins defenders, offloaded cleanly to Sam Campbell who passed the ball to wing Cat Shaw for her first Reading try. Holmes made yet another good conversion to increase their lead to 33-12.

Things got even better when another breakaway from back-of-the-match Knight was followed by a clever box kick from Rachel Chidgey which was chased down by Campbell, with support from flankers Ferguson and Ella Povey.

Through some clever play, Smallcombe crossed the line to score her first Reading try and put her side 38-12 to the good.

With five minutes left to play, the hosts did not take their foot off the pedal, and following great charging runs from Holmes and Knight, an offload to Charlotte Chidgey saw her break the line to score her second try of the match, right between the sticks.

With the final kick of the game Holmes converted successfully to put an extra gloss on a highly impressive first outing of the season.