READING men defeated Canterbury by a 5-0 margin for the second time this season on Saturday, writes Dave Wright.

It keeps the Blues third in the Premier Division, eight points behind leaders Surbiton and four adrift of Beeston.

Back in outdoor action after the mid-season break, Reading travelled to Polo Farm hot favourites to complete a league double over the bottom-of-the-table side.

But Canterbury offered early resistance and it took half-an-hour for Blues to secure the breakthrough with a goal from Ben Francis.

The second half, however, saw Reading turn their dominance into goals. Richard Mantell doubled his side’s lead from a penalty corner in the 48th minute with Lee Morton adding a third five minutes later.

When the visitors were awarded a penalty stroke in the 65th minute, Mantell stepped up to increase his side’s advantage and Ed Carson completed the scoring with less than two minutes left on the clock.

Blues host second-bottom Sevenoaks this Saturday (6pm) and on Sunday (2pm) they are in national cup action at Wotton-under-Edge.

Reading Women also returned to Investec League Conference West action for the first time this year, but were held to a 1-1 draw by bottom-of-the-table Team Bath Buccaneers on Saturday.

They remain third in the standings, but have now fallen further behind the top two, Trojans and Stourport, having lost to both last November.

Goalkeeper Aurora Mears, who has been sidelined for several months due to injury, returned to the side and helped to keep the visitors at bay until Sophie Hamilton netted from a penalty corner in the 53rd minute.

Reading were in danger of becoming the first side to be beaten in the league by Bath this season, but they managed to secure a point when Katie Pugh equalised eight minutes from time.

This Saturday (12.30pm) Blues visit Gloucester, and on Sunday (12.30pm) they go to Slough in the national cup.