SIMON Mantell helped send former club Reading back to bottom place in the table by scoring in University of Exeter's 3-2 win last Saturday, writes Dave Wright.

Both these sides are battling to get out of the relegation zone in England Hockey's Premier Division and this defeat is a setback for Blues as they fight for survival.

Exeter, whose only two wins this season have come against Reading, are now two points better off than their rivals with five games remaining.

After falling behind to George Carson's 11th-minute opener, Blues equalised through Ciaran O'Connell in the 21st minute and Finlay Quaile gave them the lead eight minutes later.

But Reading's hopes of securing the three points they desperately needed were quashed in the second half.

Ex-England international Mantell, making his debut for the University, made it 2-2 on 46 minutes with Archie Winter grabbing the winner eight minutes from time.

Reading must now try to pick themselves up in time for this coming weekend, when they have two fixtures against sides occupying a top-three place in the table.

On Saturday (12.15pm), they travel to Paddington Rec to face Hampstead & Westminster, who last weekend ended Surbiton's 12-match winning run by holding the runaway leaders to a 1-1 draw.

Then on Sunday (2.30pm), Blues host Wimbledon in their penultimate home game of the season.

Reading 2nds' 16-match unbeaten run came to an end on Saturday when they were edged out 4-3 by Oxford Hawks 2nds.

But they remain nine points clear at the top of the MBBO Regional One table ahead of their trip to nearest rivals Amersham & Chalfont this weekend.

Reading 3rds' fixture at Aylesbury was postponed.

In Division One South of the Investec League, Reading Women won 1-0 away to Trojans with Alys Richards scoring in the 37th minute, her first goal of the season.

This coming Saturday, they are away to Cambridge City, who are fifth in the table.

Reading 2nds were beaten 4-1 at home by Guildford in Division One of the South Clubs League, while the 3rds lost 4-0 at Eastcote in Division 3a.

SONNING Men crushed Milton Keynes 2nds 6-0 in their top-versus-bottom clash in MBBO Regional Two, their second successive win by that margin.

James Manser and Huw Thomas bagged a brace apiece, with Ian Finlayson and Noel Plant adding one each.

Both Manser and Plant each now have 14 goals for the season.

This Saturday, they are home to Marlow 2nds.

David Painter and Elliott Wise scored as Sonning 2nds came from behind to draw 2-2 with leaders Henley 2nds in MBBO Division Two.

Sonning Ladies defeated Salisbury 2nds 4-2 in Division 3a of the South Clubs League with Rachel Muncey, Erica Wong and Kate Pake all on target.

The club's 2nds secured a vital 2-1 win over Three Counties Premier Two title rivals Phoenix and Ranelagh, leaving them just two points behind the leaders. Carine Shergill netted the winning goal.

In Division Two, second-placed Sonning 3rds edged home 2-1 against Newbury & Thatcham 3rds.