Hockey: Cannock in Europe thanks to Lewis

CANNOCK AND Slough, who won their leagues convincingly, yesterday won the Premiership play-offs to take their places in next season's European club championships.

Slough, always in control, won the women's title when they beat Clifton Scottish Life 4-2, but it was a close run thing for Cannock, who prevailed 4-3 on penalties after a 3-3 draw thanks to two outstanding penalty stroke saves by Jimi Lewis from Reading's captain, Jon Wyatt.

With a galaxy of international talent on view, the crowd was treated to an entertaining game. Craig Parnham opened the scoring for Cannock after 15 minutes, Mark Pearn finished off a stimulating run with a superb reverse stick shot to equalise and then Jonny Loose put Reading ahead on the interval.

Kalbir Takher equalised for Cannock before the New Zealander, Ken Robinson, put Reading ahead again. Reading survived the temporary suspension of three players without conceding a goal, and time was running out for Cannock when Bobby Crutchley sent the match into ultimately goalless extra time.

Reading again looked set to win when they were 3-1 up in the penalty barrage, but then Lewis saved for a second time from Wyatt in sudden death. The teams meet again in the EHA Cup final at Milton Keynes on Sunday.

In the women's final, two goals from Karen Brown and a gem solo goal from Sarah Kelleher gave Slough the edge in a game they dominated.