Henley Vikings 19-15 Reading 2's

By David Lewis

The Henley 3’s game against Reading 2’s back in late November resulted in a narrow victory to Henley of just five points.  In the meantime, Reading had progressed up the league table and lay only two places behind Henley and clearly had Henley in their sights.

Reading have a well drilled team and strong pack and the game started pretty much as it had in November with Reading receiving Henley’s kick off and leading an onslaught against Henley’s defence. The Henley 3’s are a very fluid side in terms of players, and they struggled from the beginning with Reading’s organisation and structure.

A couple of early injuries to Henley’s Nick Stoddart and Murray Hughes unsettled the team but to their credit the defence held firm and denied Reading any points for the first quarter.  That was until the Reading flyhalf kicked an excellent drop goal from almost the halfway line, giving Reading the lead.  Reading went on to score again with an unconverted try before Henley’s Ollie Portch in the centre burst through Reading’s defence to score Henley’s first points which went unconverted.

Henley now started to take some control of the game and within five minutes it was Craig Johnstone, returning to the team after a break, came off the flank and took a similar line to Portch’s and broke through Reading’s centre defence once more.  Player coach, Luke Brewin added the conversion, taking Henley into the lead at half time.

As the second half started it was proving to be a dogged game, with both sides using kicking to gain ground and, in particular, used the new 50:22 law to their advantage. Again, it was a long period of back and forth play before Reading scored a converted try and retook the lead. However, with 10 minutes of play outstanding, it was Brewin, leading by example, who scored for Henley under the posts and converted his own try which turned out to be the final and winning score of 19 points to 15.

Match photos courtesy of Andrew Turner available here