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HOCKEY : Pompey turn on the style

Bath Buccaneers and City of Portsmouth this weekend joined High Wycombe and Norton in the National League play-offs. The battle still goes on in the Midlands and the East.

City of Portsmouth, with a 4-0 win at home to Ashford in the Nastro Azzurro South Premier, went through in style with goals from John Oliver (2), Richard Penrose and Tracy Boyce. With the South leaders, High Wycombe, held to a 1-1 draw by Dulwich when a second-half Mark Holt penalty stroke equalised for the visitors after Tim Prior had given Wycombe an early lead, Portsmouth could still finish as champions.

Gore Court's faint hopes of reaching the play-offs collapsed when Nick Avery missed a penalty stroke against Old Whitgiftians with the game evenly poised at 1-1 after 20 minutes. But Damien Hallett made no mistake for the Old Boys from the spot in the 50th minute to ensure the points.

Bath Buccaneers had their game away to West Gloucester postponed because of the weather and heard of their success following a 1-1 draw between rivals Weston-super-Mare and Cheltenham. The top of the table game between Harborne and Olton was also a victim of the snow and a frozen pitch.

Blueharts were also held up by the weather at Dereham in the Norwich Union East Premier where Ipswich crept nearer with a 5-1 win at home to Bishop's Stortford thanks to goals from Bryan Bailey (2), Richard Blackford, Matt Day and Simon Miller.

Reading remain the only women's club to have qualified so far for their National League play-offs. The East leaders, Old Loughtonians, were held to a goalless draw at Sevenoaks allowing Harleston Magpies, 2-0 winners against Redbridge and Ilford, to slip into the lead. The teams meet in a decider on Sunday at Chigwell. Poynton, Aldridge and Redland are the other current leaders.