Pearn puts Reading into pole position: Hockey

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English clubs got off to a great start in the European Cup-Winners' Cup yesterday with Reading and Ipswich Ladies winning their opening games in confident style. In Utrecht, Ipswich beat Tekstilschik, from Russia, 3-0, with Reading, hosting the Prudential event, beating Stade Francais 7-0, writes Bill Colwill.

Reading started strongly with their captain, Jon Wyatt, showing the way with a well-taken penalty stroke in the ninth minute after Karl Sanders had been brought down by the French goalkeeper.

Mark Pearn scored the first of his three goals two minutes later and his second followed a 50-yard solo effort from the Great Britain striker. Rob Todd added a fourth before the crowd welcomed Paddy Osborn's first goal on his temporary return from Purley. Pearn completed his hat-trick and Osborn completed the scoring.

Reading's quest to reach Monday's final was enhanced by the surprise defeat of the favourites, Amsterdam, 3-2 by WKS Grunwald from Poland. Reading's game this afternoon against the Poles is likely to decide the pool winners.

In the other pool, Polo Barcelona came from behind to beat Russia's Ekaterinburg 3-2, with Gladbacher eventually cruising to a 5-0 win against Avoca.

In Cardiff, Western Grasshopper were beaten 5-2 by Stroitel Brest. The Scots were first in action and, after 15 minutes of their match against the Belarus side, they were 3-0 down. Western hit back to score twice through Graham Joyce, but Stroitel were always in command.

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