Hockey: English sides miss out on medals

The men of Reading and the women of Slough both missed out on European Club Championship bronze medals here after losing their final games.

RC Polo, with a 1-0 victory against Club an der Alster, won their first Championship yesterday, on their home ground, with the Dutch champions Den Bosch beating Kolos Borispol from Ukraine to win the women's title for the fifth successive year.

In a highly entertaining battle with little between the teams, a 26th-minute penalty corner conversion by Jordi Quintana was enough to send the large home crowd away in great heart. The women's final was a goal feast - and a one-sided affair, with Den Bosch knocking in eight before bringing on their reserve goalkeeper who conceded two goals in the final three minutes for the final 8-2 scoreline.

Territorially, Reading had the better of their game against Dutch champions Amsterdam with the game seemingly destined for a penalty shoot-out when, with under 90 seconds remaining, a poor aerial out of defence paved the way for an Amsterdam attack and a well-taken goal by Roderik Huber. In the remaining minute Reading launched one last assault led by their captain, Mark Pearn, and won a penalty corner.

Richard Mantell's power shot beat the Dutch goalkeeper but was illegally stopped on the line by Jesse Mahieu. Jonty Clarke, with the cool air of a veteran, stepped up to convert the penalty stroke and forced a penalty shoot-out. With the injured David Mathews taking his first part in the tournament to convert one of the Dutch strokes and Manpreet Kochar and Rob Todd having theirs saved, the Dutch took bronze.

Slough, after going into the interval trailing 0-3 to Rot Weiss, staged a splendid second-half rally in which they created enough chances to win the game. Alex Scott at a penalty corner and two goals from Fiona Greenham provided a 3-4 scoreline before a late German goal killed off the comeback. In between, Slough's Kate Walsh saw her two penalty strokes saved by Birgit Beyer in the Germany goal and they wasted all but two of their eight second-half penalty corner attempts.

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