Hockey: Ashdown launches Reading

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The Independent Online
Scott Ashdown's hat-trick yesterday gave the defending champions Reading a sound send-off to the men's National League season at Doncaster where they beat the newly promoted side 4-1. Jonathan Slay gave the visitors the lead in the 11th minute before Ashdown struck. Mark Wood claimed Doncaster's consolation.

Teddington's Paul Way also scored three times at penalty corners as they beat Barford Tigers 5-3. Two smartly taken goals by Bobby Crutchley gave Cannock a 2-1 win at Chigwell against Old Loughtonians in a game in which the goalkeepers excelled. Jimmi Lewis made an excellent save from Nick Thompson at a penalty stroke for his new club, Cannock, and Brian Myburgh made a string of saves to keep the Old Boys in the game.

Newly promoted Beeston led Southgate by an Ashley Garratt penalty corner goal before an equaliser came from Billy Waugh with three minutes left.

The day's leading goalscorer was Surbiton's Greg Nicol, who hit all four in their 4-0 win at Sheffield, while Mark Cullen scored twice for Chelmsford in their 3-2 win at Hull.

Slough and Ipswich maintained maximum points in the women's National League on Saturday to head the Premier Division. Slough crushed Clifton Scottish Life 7-1, with Mandy Nicholls scoring four times, and Ipswich beat Hightown 3-1.

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