Reading stay in hunt for cup glory

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The Independent Online
Hockey

Reading and Ipswich will today play in the finals of their European Cup-Winners' Cup competitions after both maintained their fine form of the weekend. Reading, hosting the Prudential Men's A Division event, will play Gladbacher from Munich, while Ipswich will travel to Utrecht to play the home side, Kampong, in the women's event.

At Reading a large crowd enjoying the summer-like sunshine witnessed a splendid game between Amsterdam, the pre-tournament favourites, and the home side which ended in a 1-1 draw, enough to see Reading through to the final. With Amsterdam knowing that only a win was enough for them to reach the final it was no surprise that they attacked from the opening whistle, putting Reading under tremendous pressure and bringing a string of fine saves from Simon Mason in goal.

With Jon Wyatt and Rob Todd showing brilliant form in defence, Reading held out until the 27th minute when Taco van den Honert put the Dutch ahead from their third penalty corner. Although the first half had been almost one-way traffic Reading, attacking on the break, had three clear chances to take the lead but all to no avail.

With the crowd sensing this was going to be Reading's day, and urging them on to greater things, everything started to go right and it was now the turn of the Dutch to soak up the pressure. They were to pay the penalty for their defensive ways in the 64th minute when Wyatt, exchanging passes at a penalty-corner with Scott Ashdown, slammed home the equaliser. The Dutch side now had to come out of their defensive mode but left it too late and Reading's defence held firm.

Earlier, Gladbacher's way to the final had been far from straightforward. Having built up a 4-0 interval lead they allowed their opponents, Barcelona, to claw their way back and were desperately hanging on to a 4-3 lead at the final whistle.

The Ipswich captain, Sandie Lister, scored twice in her team's 6-0 win against Amiens, as the Suffolk club coasted to the final without conceding a goal in their three pool games. Kirsten Spencer cashed in with two penalty-corner goals, while Sarah Bamfield kept up her scoring record of a goal each game. Dutch Under-21 player Kim Van Erp completed the rout for Ipswich.

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