Mens Report - By Dave Wright:
THE two Mantell brothers have shot Reading HC up to second place in the Premier Division, writes Dave Wright.
Simon, with two, and Richard were both on target as Blues crushed Canterbury 4-0 at Sonning Lane on Sunday.
They trail leaders Holcombe by five points and are two points ahead of Surbiton, who were hammered 4-1 at fourth-placed Wimbledon last weekend.
Wimbledon and fast-improving Brooklands MU appear to be fighting it out for the fourth qualifying spot for the play-offs.
Having conceded two late goals when drawing 3-3 at unbeaten Holcombe the previous week, Reading came under early pressure and it needed two fine saves in quick succession from keeper Tommy Alexander to prevent relegation-threatened Canterbury taking an early lead.
However, Blues started to take control and scored three times inside the opening 15 minutes.
Simon Mantell converted their first penalty corner on seven minutes and two minutes later the England forward turned the ball home after a superb run and cross by Ben Boon.
On 14 minutes Rick Mantell followed up to make it 3-0 after the initial shot from a penalty corner had been blocked.
Coach Andy Watts said: “We were really up for this game, as we were all disappointed not to have beaten Holcombe.
“We produced some superb hockey, dominated the game and could easily have been more than three up at half-time.”
Blues managed to add just one more goal in the second half and that came from a solo effort by Boon on 57 minutes.
Alexander made a fine save to deny Kwan Browne and keep his first clean sheet since the opening game of the season.
Reading visit Hampstead & Westminster this coming Sunday (2pm).
BEFORE the game against Canterbury, there was a minute’s silence for national hockey journalist Graham Wilson, who had passed away suddenly on Saturday at the age of 63.
His death comes two months after his 22-year-old son, Tom, had died following a freak accident during a hockey training session.
Simon Mantell said: “We are all deeply saddened as Graham had done so much to promote hockey, through his column in the Daily Express and as chairman of the Hockey Writers’ Association.”
Updated 10:33 - 28 Feb 2016 by Liz Spencer