READING Men ended their 2018 Premier Division fixtures on a disappointing note, losing 2-1 at Brooklands Manchester University on Sunday, writes Dave Wright.

It is a big blow to their hopes of a top-four finish and qualifying for the play-offs. They remain in sixth place, but are now five points adrift of fourth-placed Holcombe with eight games of the season remaining.

Blues captain Ciaran O’Connell put his side ahead from a penalty corner after 22 minutes.

But they held the lead for only six minutes with Mike Shaw replying for the seventh-placed hosts, again from a corner and Alex Humphreys netted what turned out to be the winner three minutes before half-time.

Reading battled hard to get back on terms in the second half, but were unable to convert their chances into goals and suffered their fourth defeat in 10 games.

Their next league fixture is not until February, but this Sunday they are in national cup action when they face Henley at Sonning Lane (2.30pm).

Henley are second bottom of the MBBO Premier Division One, having lost seven of their nine games.

It could be an interesting day for Danny Newcombe as he is a member of both clubs as a player and coach.

Reading Women could only manage a 1-1 draw away to winless Oxford Hawks in their Investec Conference West game last Saturday.

They fell behind to a Becky Odlin penalty corner after 15 minutes with Sophie Shakespeare bringing the scores level two minutes before the end of the first half. She has now scored four goals in her last three appearances against the same opponents.

Jo Ellis’s young side have now drawn four matches in a row and are unbeaten in six, but remain seventh in the table. This was their last league fixture before the winter break, which lasts until February 2.

Next Sunday they travel down to Bristol to play Premier Division side Clifton Robinsons in the national cup.

Reading keeper Amy Tennant made her Great Britain debut in the Champions Trophy in India last week and had a good game in the 2-1 win over Japan on Sunday which gave GB a final placing of fifth.