DESPITE home advantage, Reading crashed to a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Marden Russets in England Hockey's Boys U18s Club Championship final last Sunday.

The young Blues stayed in the game until the 20th minute when Louis Ridge opened the scoring for the visitors.

Five minutes later, Ben Errington doubled his side's lead and the same player added a third just before half-time from a penalty corner.

Appearing to get frustrated at their failure to get back in the game, Reading hit disciplinary trouble with Ollie Sayer and Toby Jones both being yellow carded in the 57th minute.

And just before the end of their five-minute stay in the sin-bin, Max Reed was also shown the yellow card by umpire Ollie Rhodes.

It got worse for the Sonning Lane side as their Kent-based opponents added two more goals in the last five minutes through Joe Palmer and Ridge, his second of the game.

Reading Women and Slough will be playing each other next season in the newly-formed Investec Women's League Division One South.

Blues booked their place with a top-six finish in Conference West, while the Pink 'n' Blacks were relegated from the Premier Division after finishing second-from-bottom and managing only third place in the play-off tournament.

Their new rivals include Cambridge City, whose squad last season included Helen Richardson-Walsh, the former Olympic gold medallist and an ex-Reading star. She also helped to coach the club who finished third in Conference East.

Completing the Division One South line-up are Canterbury, Harleston Magpies, Isca & University of Exeter, Sevenoaks, St. Albans, Trojans and Wimbledon.