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Reading go top of Premier B South with last gasp penalty

Reading 1st XV made it two wins from two thanks to a last minute penalty from scrum half Max Edmonton to top Premier B South in a tight affair against Cardiff 2’s. Cardiff travelled to Berkshire looking to make amends for a narrow defeat to St Mary’s the week before, whilst Reading were aiming for back to back victories following their historic win away at Hartpury last Wednesday.

Despite horrific conditions throughout the morning, the skies cleared over Whiteknights as Reading kicked off with the wind behind their backs. It was Cardiff however, with a large pack creating a solid platform, who had the early initiative, and took a 3-0 lead with their first visit to the Reading 22 after five minutes. From then on though, it was all Reading, who brought back the pace and intensity that was so effective in their victory over Hartpury. After 10 minutes of pressure, and some resilient Cardiff defence, it was an infringement at the maul that gave Reading an opportunity to finally get some points as a reward for their domination, and Edmonton slotted the penalty to level the scores.

The Berkshire side were now in full flow, using their pace to get outside a tiring Welsh defence, and it was out wide where the first try of the game was claimed. Straight off the top of the lineout, the ball was spun wide, where centre Seb Lear put the electric Alfie Brierley through a hole in the Cardiff defence, who in turn gave a delightful pass wide to winger Elliot Reeks to touch down in the corner. Edmonton added the extras and gave Reading a deserved 10-3 lead at half time.

There was a sense that Reading had not made the most of their dominance in the first half, and this became reality as Cardiff flew out the blocks in the second half with the ever growing wind on their backs. Cardiff were finally rewarded for a 20 minute spell of pressure with a try, when a well worked lineout set up their influential flanker to crash over the line. After a successful penalty, the scores were now level at 10-10, and Reading now found themselves in an identical position to the week before. Playing into the wind, with the momentum thoroughly against them, the men in red needed to dig in a find possession, territory and most importantly points from somewhere. And that’s what they did.

The intensity and precision improved from both the Reading forwards and backs, and deep into the Cardiff half, they began to create chances. In the final 10 minutes, second row Joe Johnson had a try ruled out for an alleged forward pass, whilst winger Isaac Kibirige was bundled into touch by some heroic Cardiff defence. With one minute to go however, the pressure finally told, as the home side were finally awarded a penalty in front of the posts for an infringement at the break down from a struggling Welsh defence. On his first start for the 1st team, fresher Max Edmonton coolly slotted the penalty, to the delight of the large home support, and give Reading a precious 13-10 win.

Cardiff will be devastated by another narrow defeat, but showed more than enough grit and determination, and no little skill, to illustrate they will be a team to watch this season. Meanwhile, Reading sit happily at the top of Prem B South with an 100% record, and will travel to Glamorgan next Wednesday, confident that a third successive win will keep the promotion dream going strong.

See the current Prem B South table below:

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About Seb Lear

lear_seb@yahoo.com'

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