Reading 33-26 Salisbury
11th. March 2023: Salisbury travelled to Berkshire and were left ruing the one that got away having established a good lead and then fallen off badly.
An injury to James Dance in the first couple of minutes saw him replaced by Will Smith and it was Smith who opened the scoring shortly afterwards, Tom Tully adding the conversion. Nathan Wheeler pulled a try back for the hosts as Salisbury suffered their first yellow card of the game, but the visitors made light of their numerical disadvantage scoring two tries during this spell. First Henry Toomer, maintaining his formidable scoring rate crossed and then scrum half Sandy Wheatley, both tries converted by Tully.
Restored to full strength, the City side added another try from Toomer and secured their first bonus point of the afternoon, and a lead of twenty one points. However, with half time looming, the visitors then contrived to get on the wrong side of the referee and two more yellow cards saw them at a huge disadvantage. Reading took full advantage and their pack applied pressure toi score twice in the final two minutes of the half through Robert Cunningham and Alex Murray-Smith, both converted by Johnny Sharp, to go in at the break 19-26.
The second half was not the free scoring event of the first. Salisbury were penalised for poor discipline as they tired and two tries for the home side through Ryan Smith and Cunningham again, both converted by Sharp saw the hosts home 33-26. Salisbury secured another bonus point but will be disappointed.
Salisbury have one league game left, travelling to high flying Tottonians next week, all support will be welcomed, before heir cup campaign begins in April.
Report: Neil Tonge