HOCKEY; Pearn, Robinson give Reading a lift

READING AND Canterbury clinched the last two Premiership play- off places by both scoring nine goals in their final games, which allows them to join Cannock and Southgate at Reading next weekend.

Internationals Mark Pearn (England) and Ken Robinson (New Zealand) each scored hat-tricks as Reading beat relegated Brooklands 9-5. Canterbury, who have been poor since the mid-season break, returned to form with a thumping 9-2 win against Guildford. David Matthews, surely on the verge of international recognition by England, scored five times. Mark Hollingworth hit a hat-trick with Stuart Humphries completing the scoring.

There was another high-scoring match at Chigwell where Old Loughtonians, leading 4-1 at the interval against Bournville, allowed the Midlanders back into the game with a last-minute penalty corner from Martin Oakes securing a 6-6 draw. There were three goals each for Paul Dover (Old Loughts) and Ashley Grummitt (Bournville).

Beeston's dream of reaching the play-offs faded at Southgate where, in spite of a brave fightback, they had to settle for a 3-3 draw. After looking in complete control leading 2-0 at the break and again 3-1, Southgate owed their point to a fine defensive performance from Antony Faulkus. Max Diamond and Calum Giles (2) scored for Southgate with Craig Keegan, James Edingtoin and Mike Huckle replying.

In the first stages of the National League play-offs at the National Stadium, Sheffield lost their League status when they drew 2-2 with Edgbaston. Fareham also dropped out and for the first time the South representative failed to qualify.