READING RFC were beaten 24-21 at home by Thatcham in Southern Counties North on Saturday, the first time the two sides had clashed.

On a day when a number of Reading past players, plus Nigel Sutcliffe, who reported on Reading matches from all over the country at the time, saluted Mike Tewkesbury, the coach who took them up the leagues with three successive promotions, it was the away side who spoiled the party.

Reading had the wind in their favour in the first half, making a decent half-time advantage imperative, and they took an early lead, fly half Sam Bowers kicking an early penalty.

However Thatcham – coached by the ex-Reading duo of Paul Roberts and John Dixon – began to put their game together and went in front themselves in the 13th minute with a try from Jack Moore, converted by their splendid fly half, Joe Leadley.

This lead lasted just two minutes as Reading came back from the kick-off and some good driving and backing up took a determined Josh Nicol over for an unconverted try.

Both sides were by now putting together some good rugby, but it was Reading who scored next. The scrum was working well at this time and they stretched the lead to 13-7 as Adam Veale touched down after a scrummage drive over Thatcham’s line.

Reading needed more points and they came from prolific try scorer, winger Chris Greig who latched onto a long pass, beat his opponent and touched down.

Again there was no conversion, and just before the half-time whistle blew, Thatcham scored the try which put them back in the game, Lewis Davies dotting down to cut the gap to 18-12.

Although Bowers kicked another penalty early in the second half, Thatcham took advantage of the elements to wrestle control.

Flanker Chris – son of John – Dixon’s try brought the visitors to within four points and then, inevitably, a five-metre scrum was pushed over for Jamie Evans to score, Leadley converting.

This completed the scoring with Reading in the end hanging on for a deserved bonus point.

Reading visit Wallingford on Saturday (3pm).