A GREAT performance from the Reading pack paved the way for an impressive 48-18 Southern Counties North win on their first-ever visit to Stow-on-the-Wold.

The home side had won their first three games of the season and started confidently, taking an early lead with a seventh-minute penalty, but they struggled against a Reading pack which brought back memories of the dominance the old ‘Green Machine’ showed in the 90s.

Five of Reading’s eight tries came directly from their forward dominance. Fraser Koefman’s 19th-minute try came from a line-out catch-and-drive following a take against the head at the previous scrum, and Billy Woodworth added another via the same means shortly after. He later added a second to his personal tally.

Centre Alex Dorliac profited from a scrum taken against the head to power over in the 35th minute, while No. 8 Adam Veale’s 68th-minute try came directly after the home side were pushed off their own five-metre scrum. For Dorliac it was his 99th try for the side he has played for since 2008.

Reading’s other tries came from further afield. The first came in the tenth minute after a long run out of defence by impressive prop Woodworth was continued by Ryan Smith and Veale, whose pop pass set up Chris Greig for the try.

Sam Bowers’ conversion gave Reading a 7-3 lead. Reading’s 54th-minute try came from a touch of class by Bowers, who had moved in to fly half, his perfectly weighted cross-kick being well caught by Ben Mitchell for the try.

The other try came from deep with a great break from the ever-present Grant Spears setting up centre Peter Czernuszka for a deserved score.

Reading coach Ben Wills was naturally heartened by the display.

“It was a great forward effort and a lot of good rugby. However, we must work at maintaining the intensity of our play for longer," he said.

“Things won’t always fall into place like they did today.”.

Reading have a weekend off before hosting Thatcham on Saturday, October 21.

  • BERKSHIRE Shire Hall – who visit Faringdon on October 21 – remain winless from three BB&O Championship games following a 24-21 home reverse to Chipping Norton.