DESPITE winning three of their last four games, Reading men have failed to qualify for the semi finals of England Hockey’s Jaffa Super 6s Championships, writes Dave Wright.

The spirited Blues were unable to fully recover from a disastrous start to their indoor league campaign which saw them lose their first four games last month.

They did finish fifth in the table, but four points behind fourth-placed Team Bath Buccaneers, who join league winners Wimbledon, runners-up East Grinstead and defending champions Surbiton at the Copper Box Arena in east London on January 28.

Reading’s only defeat at Bromsgrove School last weekend came at the hands of East Grinstead, going down 5-1 with their consolation goal coming from James Carson.

Carson, with a penalty stroke, was among the scorers when his side registered their first league victory by defeating Holcombe 4-3. His brother Ed, Owain Dolan Gray and Matt Richards were also on target.

Reading, beaten semi finalists last year, also defeated Sevenoaks by the same margin on Saturday thanks to a penalty corner hat-trick from Rick Mantell and an Ed Carson goal.

After losing to East Grinstead on Sunday morning, Blues finished their campaign by defeating bottom club Loughborough Students 4-2 with Mantell, Dolan Gray, Duncan Riddell and James Carson finding the net.

Reading Women had also lost all their opening four games played before Christmas, and four more defeats followed last weekend, making it a competition to forget for the young Sonning Lane side.

They crashed 6-0 to Canterbury when the tournament resumed in Telford last Saturday, their cause not being helped by a yellow card for Emma Royce in the first half and green cards for Sophie Shakespeare and Zoe Gittens in the final 11 minutes.

Jess Minshull-Beech and Lydia Thacker also committed yellow-card offences during their side’s 4-3 defeat by Sutton Coldfield, while the Reading goals came from a Gittens brace and Katie Pugh.

In their first game on Sunday, the Blues lost 6-1 to Holcombe, their consolation being netted by Thacker.

An even heavier defeat followed, as they crashed 8-1 to Leicester, with Pugh denying their rivals a clean sheet.

Reading, who managed only nine goals in eight games while conceding 46, finished bottom of the Premier Division table and now face relegation.

The league was won by an East Grinstead squad containing former Reading players Helen and Kate Richardson, Ashlie Caddick, Ellie Cockburn and Abi Harper.

Bowdon Hightown, Holcombe and Leicester complete the semi-final line-up for January 28.

The outdoor league season resumes on the weekend of February 3-4, with Reading women home to Team Bath and the men travelling to Kent to face Canterbury.