WITNEY lost for the first time in Southern Counties North with a 10-5 defeat at second-placed Reading in appalling conditions.

The leaders had the wind at their backs in the first half, but they could not make it count in an attritional contest.

Reading used the elements to their advantage and Callum Cload opened the scoring with a penalty shortly before the hour mark.

This energised the hosts and Rob Cunningham immediately crossed, Cload converting to make it 10-0.

Witney did not give up and Matt Clarke dived over, but there was no late comeback.

Bicester were also hamstrung by the weather as they went down 15-10 at High Wycombe.

Njabs Zulu’s tenth-minute try was the only score of a tight first half, while the visitors were hit by Dan Walker’s yellow card and an injury to Joey Sibun after the break.

Walker marked his return to the pitch with a penalty, but Wycombe roared back as Dan Kier and Jake Banton crossed to make it 15-3.

Bicester secured the losing bonus point just before the final whistle, Marcus Kendall touching down and Walker converting.

Didcot are bottom after a 26-0 home defeat to Chesham, while Wallingford lost 21-16 at Reading Abbey.

In Southern Counties South, Grove passed a stern test as they won 19-15 at Swanage & Wareham.

The visitors began terribly, conceding two tries and losing James Wiltshire and Mark Roberts to injury and the sin bin respectively.

Guy Nicholl was also forced off with injury, but only after scoring and converting two of his own tries to make it 14-10.

Swanage crossed again after Huw Lewis was sin-binned, while Ollie Nicholl came off with suspected hypothermia.

But Steve Dixey touched down on the hour and Grove held out.