MEN’S RUGBY: Towcester stay top of the pile as they pass Reading test

GOTCHA! - action from ONs' defeat to Scunthorpe (Pictures: Dave Ikin)

GOTCHA! - action from ONs' defeat to Scunthorpe (Pictures: Dave Ikin)

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Towcestrians were made to work hard by struggling Reading before easing to a 21-8 victory to stay top of the league.

Reading had only won one of their first five league games, but they started brightly at Greens Norton Road.

They pinned Tows back and applied the early pressure, only for home winger James Hale, on his first start for the first team, to pick off a Reading pass and run three quarters of the pitch to score.

Ben Young converted and Tows led 7-0.

Reading quickly replied with a penalty before Tows started to find their rhythm.

They were rewarded with three penalties from Young to stretch their lead to 16-3.

In an error-strewn game in very poor conditions, chances were created but Tows were unable to finish them.

The second half continued in the same fashion, with errors from both sides as the weather and pitch worsened.

Reading managed to make a period of pressure count and crossed for a try before Tows finally got the ball down the line to Alex Chalcraft to run in to make the final score 21-8.

Tows head coach Robbie George said: “Reading came to play and are certainly a much better side than their results suggest. I am sure they will upset a few people this season.

“We looked rusty and am sure we will improve next week on this performance.”

Towcestrians IIs got back to winning ways, returning from Wellingborough with a 50-5 league victory

Tows IIIs saw off Market Harborough 66 -7, and Towcester Colts got their first win of the season, 50-5 against St Neots

Old Northamptonians 7 Scunthorpe 8

A LATE penalty condemned Old Northamptonians to defeat against Scunthorpe on a wet and windy day at Billing Road.

The ONs kicked off playing up the Billing Road slope with the diagonal wind at the shoulders of the opposition.

ONs’ possession just inside the Scunthorpe half gave Tim Cardall the chance to burst forward, the ball was recycled but a ‘choke tackle’, a tactic successfully employed by the visitors several times during the afternoon, relieved the pressure.

An attacking kick from Scunthorpe took them to within five metres of the ONs line and despite the home side winning the ensuing lineout and Francois Wiese taking play 15 metres up field,a penalty to Scunthorpe was put into touch and James Dyson emerged from the pile of bodies as the try scorer after a driving maul.

The six previous meetings between the teams had seen honours even with three wins each and an average of nearly 50 points per game, but once the heavens opened any thoughts of this kind of scoring quickly disappeared.

Initially both teams continued to try to play expansive rugby, but with the rain hammering down and the wind howling this became impossible. The score remained 5-0 at the break.

A clever kick from Lewis Barker shortly after the resumption took the ONs to 20 metres from the visitors line.

The Scunthorpe throw in was not straight, Drew Hudson picked up from the resulting scrum, Cardall was in support and after several forward drives a long pass found Alex Crofts and he powered over close to the posts.

Tom Goodman converted to give the ONs a 7-5 lead.

Scunthorpe pressed to respond, and full-back Steve Johnson pulled his kick wide from 40 metres after a scrum infringement.

But he was successful minutes later to retake the lead and it remained at 8-7.