READING maintained their 100 per cent home record when they inflicted a 5-3 Southern Counties North defeat on second-placed Aylesbury, beaten for the first time this season.

And a well-deserved win it was too, even though the visitors might have snatched it had they converted one of two missed second-half penalties.

Local Berkshire:

Aylesbury are used to playing on an artificial pitch when at home, so a grass pitch in the pouring rain did not provide the conditions they are used to. Nevertheless, they were well suited to use the conditions, with a big pack well led by their powerful No. 8 and a useful pair of half backs.

But Reading had their own heroes. Well led by skipper Andy Parr, the forwards, with Alex Jones making his debut in the second row, held up well in the scrums and Fraser Koefman provided good line-out ball. Their tackling, with Josh Nicol, Gavin Egan and Ed Dixon leading the way, was phenomenal.

Outside the forwards, Reading were well-served by a duo of scrum-halves who both excelled in the half each played.

Local Berkshire:

Scott Howell, playing just his third game, showed up well in the first half, with his passing, kicking and an eye for the break while Callum Cload, making only his second appearance, had a very good second half, one particular break and kick changing the whole scene from defence into attack.

Fly-half Alex Murray-Smith made sure hard-won possession was used sensibly and centres Grant Spears and George Dear enjoyed the hard running and hard tackling the conditions demanded.

Outside them the back three, Stuart Borthwick, Chris Greig and Alex Dorliac did not see much ball in attack, but did their defensive duties well.

Local Berkshire:

Overall it was an entertaining match despite the fact that there were just two scores, both before half time. Reading took the lead as early as the fifth minute after Murray-Smith had punted a penalty kick into the Aylesbury 22. Reading took the lineout and drove for the line before Egan broke off to score.

Twenty minutes later Reading were penalised after Aylesbury drove a scrum and the successful penalty brought the score to 5-3. The next 55 minutes held some compelling rugby but no more scores as Reading took a win their commitment and hard work warranted.

Local Berkshire:

Reading visit Bicester on Saturday.