READING men saw their season get off to the worst possible start on Saturday, when they were hammered 10-1 by Surbiton at Sonning Lane – the club's heaviest home defeat in the England Hockey League.

As in previous years, there have been several changes of personnel and the new-look squad are going to need time to gel together.

They were never at the races against last season's Premier Division table toppers – and it was one of their former players, Ben Boon, who led the rout, scoring three goals.

He opened the scoring after eight minutes with Luke Taylor doubling his side's lead on 15 minutes from a penalty corner, which he later repeated to make it 3-0 at half-time, and Blues fell further behind three minutes into the second half with a goal from Alan Forsyth.

They did create a few chances of their own and did manage to get on the scoresheet through Andy Oxburgh, their new signing from Sevenoaks, in the 43rd minute, only for Rob Farrington to restore Surbiton's four-goal advantage a minute later.

Taylor completed his penalty-corner hat-trick on 50 minutes and three minutes later Farrington made it 7-1.

Boon scored in the 55th and 56th minute to complete his treble and Arjan Drayton-Chana took Surbiton's goals into double figures on the hour mark.

The visitors, coached by former Reading star Mark Pearn, were now virtually queuing up to score, but the Blues held out for the final 10 minutes without any further damage and even managed to force their only penalty corner of the game.

They will be hoping to produce a much-improved performance this Saturday (6pm) when they visit Wimbledon.

Wimbledon opened their campaign with a 3-1 away win over Brooklands Manchester University last weekend with their third goal coming from Jonny Codling, another former Reading player.

Reading Ladies continued their preparations for the new season by defeating Oxford University 7-0 in a friendly and have another warm-up game this coming Saturday when Olton & West Warwicks are the visitors to Sonning Lane (1.30pm).

Their Investec Division One South campaign starts the following Saturday with Berkshire rivals Slough the visitors.