WHEN the draw for the Euro Hockey League was made Cookstown could scarcely have asked for a tougher proposition than pool games against Reading and Amsterdam.
But the Co Tyrone men put in an admirable display against their renowned opponents in Antwerp yesterday.
The Ulster side were eventually undone in the 16th minute when England and Great Britain international Richard Mantell powered home one of his trademark penalty corners.
He repeated the dose four minutes later with a bullet of a strike into the top left corner which was the signal for Reading to move up a gear.
Mantell went close from another couple of set-pieces - the first one shaving the outside of the post and the second producing an excellent stop by Cookstown keeper Ian Hughes.
Reading added their third on 45 minutes, Andy Watt scoring the first of his three goals after an incisive move split open the Cookstown defence.
an Hughes denied Ian Mackay and Simon Mantell blazed an effort wide as Reading regained the initiative and they continued on the front foot in the fourth quarter.
Number four arrived on the hour with Watts applying the finishing touch from close range and four minutes from time Watts completed his hat-trick with the goal of the game as he steered home from mid-circle after Reading turned defence into attack in a matter of seconds with a sweeping crossfield move.
It was the final nail in the Cookstown coffin.