Winchester 50-0 Reading 

In front of a large crowd who’d enjoyed a former players’ lunch, Winchester displayed a high-quality, controlled exhibition of speed and power. 

Their eight-try victory over struggling Reading assured them of a second-placed position following last season’s promotion writes Dai Henley.

Winchester opened the scoring fest when, with three minutes played, a rampaging run by skipper and number eight, Matt Golding, found prop, Jim Beavan, making his two-hundredth First XV appearance, in acres of space. He touched down, to the acclaim of his teammates. Full back, Tommy Hare converted. 

Fifteen minutes later, Reading were penalised for repeatedly infringing in the ruck and maul. Referee, Richard James, awarded Winchester a penalty try.

Within the next minute, Second-rower, Jacob Culley-Wilson, capped off a fine break and side-step by prop, Alex Lee, taking his pass at speed to dot down over the goal line. Hare converted to bring the score to 21.0.

The try bonus point was achieved with just twenty-seven minutes on the clock when Golding capped a captain’s performance going over in the corner. Hare converted making the score 28 points without reply.

On the stroke of half-time, Golding picked up from the back of a scrum five metres from Reading’s goal line and fed winger, ‘Fozzy’ Forster who scored one of his simplest tries of the season. Hare added the conversion and the teams headed for the sheds with Winchester leading 35 points to nil.

Winchester again dominated the early part of the second half. Hare showed a spark of brilliance as he made a break from the halfway line, beating several players with his sidesteps and balanced running.

Twenty metres out, he chipped the ball over a would-be tackler, collected the ball, and dived over to make the score 40.0. He missed the conversion.

For the following twenty minutes, Reading’s plucky young side quelled the numerous attacks by the home team. Under pressure for the first time in the match, Winchester’s hooker, Jimmy Wallis, was yellow-carded for coming in at the side of a ruck on Winchester’s goal line. 

Despite this setback, Winchester scored next. Scum-half, Connor Breen, chipped towards the corner, and speedster, winger Rhys Thomas, touched down. Hare missed the conversion.

Arguably, the team try of the game was scored with six minutes remaining. A slick passing move starting inside Winchester’s half led to Culley-Wilson diving over the goal line,
crowning a man-of-the-match performance. Hare again missed the conversion leaving the final score 50 points to nil in Winchester’s favour.

This was a superb performance by Winchester, albeit against a side sitting bottom of the table. They fully deserve to finish in second place with two games remaining before the cup competition. 

After the match, coach Gaz Martin, said, "I told the team, especially the younger players, to keep it simple and back yourselves. I’m pleased they listened, and you can see the result."