Hockey: Reading player-coach Andy Watts contemplating club exit

by HWC member Mike Haymonds for the Daily Express
Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

ANDY WATTS, the Reading player-coach, played what is likely to be his last home game for the club in a 4-2 win over Brooklands MU in the Cup semi-final, in which he scored his side’s first and third goals, as he contemplates his future in the game.

Watts, 31, is director of sport at Magdalen College School, Oxford, and has been Reading’s player-coach for the past three seasons.

He has decided he will not play Premier hockey next season but is still weighing his options of staying with Reading or moving to another club.

He said: “It will be quite nice to relax and just play.

“We’ve achieved our objective of staying up in the league this season and now we’ve made the cup final so there’s no need to be wary of the future.

“I’ve enjoyed the challenge of the past three years but the travel for two evenings’ training and a game at the weekend is taking its toll.”

Watts’ team-mate Richard Mantell, 35, may also have played his last home game for Reading after scoring one of his trademark penalty corner strikes in the Cup win.

He said his options were either one more season of club hockey or hanging up his boots. He has two young boys and has moved to the South Coast. For him, travelling two and a half hours out and back for training has become a burden.

Unlike many of his former international colleagues he has no interest in a career in coaching.

Both players have the opportunity of ending their club careers in triumph at the Cup Final on April 29 in the Olympic Park. Reading will meet Canterbury, who beat Bromley & Beckenham 2-0 in the other semi.

The women’s Investec Cup finalists are Clifton Robinsons, who beat Beeston 2-1, and third successive League champions Surbiton, who crushed Bowdon Hightown 5-0.