TRIES from Josh Pallet, Chris Greig, James Mitchell and Fraser Banks pulled Reading back from the brink of heavy defeat to the relative riches of two bonus points and a narrow 31-29 loss from their first-ever Southern Counties North visit to Aylesbury.

At half-time the home side had romped to a 31-12 lead and Reading had lost three of their starting team – Alex Dorliac, Billy Woodworth and Taylor McRoberts – to injury.

These were subsequently joined by No. 8 Adam Veale, another with possible concussion.

In an incident-packed game, scrum half Nick Portch had to leave the field towards the end with a second yellow card after he reacted to alleged eye gouging – the referee saw the response, not the alleged offence.

In the end Reading emerged with some credit from a game in which they seemed to be heading for a real hammering after half an hour. During that time Aylesbury played some good rugby, steered by their half backs Alex Shearer and Sam Richardson.

Within five minutes from the start Shearer had put in two clever kicks behind Reading’s cover to set up the first home try.

The next was not long in coming after Reading kicked the ball away, the home side returning it at speed for a converted try.

Aylesbury delighted in taking advantage of Reading’s mistakes and two more tries were scored as they ran round the visitors’ defence. By the half hour Aylesbury had their four-try bonus point and Reading looked to be in for a hiding.

Then Reading scored two tries of their own. First, Josh Pallett drove through under the posts after some good combined play. Portch converted. Then came Mitchell’s outstanding run for Greig’s (pictured) try.

By half-time, however, the home side had stretched their lead when centre Will Travis burst through for a converted score.

The second-half recovery brought Reading their two bonus points and put the team close to victory as Banks, who did much to spark the recovery, raced over for two tries from distance with a combination of speed, power and strength.

Full back Mitchell also scored a great individual try, running through from well inside his own half for the score.

But in the end there was just too much to do.

However, on the plus side the team showed it has character and it can overcome setbacks in a positive way.

They also showed they have some potent try scorers in the team, when given the opportunity.

Reading have a week off before they meet high-flying Buckingham at home on Saturday, November 25.

Meanwhile, Berkshire Shire Hall – who were thumped 64-6 by Oxford – next visit Phoenix in the BB&O Championship on November 25.