READING Abbey climbed to fifth in the Southern Counties North table with a fine 33-10 victory at Gosford All Blacks on Saturday.

The visitors made a dream start to the game, taking the lead inside the first two minutes when outside half Luke Burns chipped the ball over the defence five metres from the home line. Full back Gavin Dampies crossed the line unopposed and touched down under the posts, with Diego de Marcilla Bahlsen converting to make it 7-0.

The All Blacks hit back, however, when flanker Dan Hughes chased a kick to the right corner and just managed to get to the ball first. Tim Ellis missed the conversion, though, leaving Abbey in front.

Fungai Mutepfa's men extended their lead shortly afterwards, however, as from a scrum close to their opponents' line, Will Woodward made five metres to the right, and the ball then travelled via centre Jack Lambert-Taylor and Dampies to Remi Norville.

The wing touched down in the right corner, and de Marcilla Bahlsen landed a superb conversion from the touchline.

Things got even better for Abbey when an excellent high kick from Luke Burns soon put Gosford under pressure again.

Treacle Knights stole the ball at a home line-out, Woodward made 10 metres, and then centre Ben Mitchell went on a brilliant diagonal run towards the left corner.

He found Marc Toland in support, and the hooker crashed over for a brilliant try. Having defied the conditions with a successful conversion from the right touchline, de Marcilla Bahlsen did exactly the same from wide on the left, his fantastic kick giving Abbey a 21-5 lead after 21 minutes.

The bonus-point arrived before the break as Abbey continued to dominate territory and possession during the second quarter of the game.

On the half-hour mark, Knights won another ball at the front of a line-out and Woodward led the charge into the home half.

The ball went via Chris Shaw to Mitchell and, after another clever 30-metre run, he sent Dampies in under the posts for the bonus point try. De Marcilla Bahlsen again converted as Abbey went into the interval 28-5 in front.

Playing into the wind in the second half, Abbey battled well, although Gosford gave themselves a glimmer of hope when Ben Bodinham crossed on 62 minutes.

However, the visitors sealed the game late on, captain Will Bevan racing clear from inside his own half to seal the deal with six minutes to go.

Reading Abbey host High Wycombe on Saturday.

  • BERKSHIRE Shire Hall picked up their first BB&O Championship win of the season with a nail-biting 20-19 success at Faringdon.

They host Farnham Royal on Saturday.