READING RFC were left to rue four catch-and-drive line-out tries which brought Aylesbury a 24-17 Southern Counties North victory on Saturday.

While Reading were the more enterprising side and were in the lead with 20 minutes remaining, the relentless pressure from the home side in the second half eventually told.

Aylesbury’s game plan became clear early on as a potential penalty kick at goal was spurned for a kick to the corner. The line-out ball was won and controlled well for a try in the corner.

Reading responded immediately as good approach play and a well-timed pass sent wing George Dear on an elusive run to the line. Andy Galacher converted to give his side the lead.

The home side began to dominate and Reading successfully defended a number of catch-and-drive attempts before scoring the next try.

Alex Murray-Smith collected an Aylesbury kick in his own half and returned it with interest for Reading to collect the loose ball and set up fly-half Dan Witko for the try.

Aylesbury came back with a succession of driving line-outs which eventually paid dividends with a try to cut the deficit to 12-10, but it was Reading who scored next as another great run by Dear and a drive by Rob Cunningham was finished with a try for Alex Dorliac.

Reading went into half-time with a 17-10 lead, but they were on the back foot for most of the second half as the home side continued with their limited but effective game plan.

Midway through the half, with Josh Nicol in the bin, another line-out try, and conversion brought the scores level.

The home side now had the initiative as Reading’s valiant defensive efforts began to tell.

A succession of line-outs and penalties eventually brought another driven Aylesbury try and the home side got the bonus-point win they were looking for.

Despite the defeat Reading can take some positives out of the game. The scrummaging was good, though Aylesbury No. 8 Gary Horn dealt very well with retreating ball.

Luke Burns dealt commendably with having to move to scrum half, Dan Witko had a good game at fly half, while the Reading backs were always a danger, and the defending for long periods was tenaciously accomplished.

Reading have a week off before hosting Bicester on Saturday, November 17.

BERKSHIRE Shire Hall hammered Farnham Royal 58-5 in their BB&O Championship encounter.

They will look for a third consecutive win at home to Harwell on November 17.