Thomas bags all four as Isca storm to victory at Stourport
Claire Thomas scored all four goals as Isca University won 4-0 at Stourport in the Investec Women's Hockey League.
Thomas topped the Women's Conference West scoring charts last term with 18 goals.
The 21-year-old University of Exeter student's impressive four-goal haul at Stourport takes this season's tally to six goals in five games.
Once again Thomas tops the Conference West scoring charts, while Isca have soared to second ahead of Saturday's top-of-the-table home clash against third-placed Gloucester City at the University of Exeter Sports Park (12.30pm).
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All four goals at Stourport came from open play. Thomas deflected in a pacy free hit from Zoe Burrell to open the scoring on 25 minutes before adding a quick-fire second-half hat-trick in the space of eight minutes.
The Isca skipper made it 2-0 in the 41st minute, following good play by Carla Dunnett and Taryn Beuthin, and then converted Tam Pascoe's incisive pass to make it 3-0 five minutes later.
Thomas added a fourth goal in the 49th minute as Isca edged above Gloucester and fourth-placed Trojans on goal difference ahead of next Saturday's round six of matches.
Buckingham remain top of the table with five wins from five following a 2-0 victory at Gloucester.
Taunton Vale were beaten 4-0 at home by Bristol Firebrands.
Andrew Ross got University of Exeter off to a flying start in their 3-3 Men's Conference West top-of-the-table clash at home to Team Bath Buccaneers.
Ross – who scored a hat-trick in the midweek 3-3 British Universities & Colleges Sport draw with Oxford – maintained his form with a second minute penalty corner opener against pace-setters Buccs.
South African Olympian Ian Haley increased the home side's advantage by making it 2-0 in the 11th minute but Buccs rallied to level by half-time with penalty-corner goals from Tom Alsop and Tim Davenport.
James Carson again put Exeter ahead, in the 48th minute, only for Bath to level two minutes later.
The draw means Exeter slip back to fourth and Bath, third, with Cardiff & UWIC taking over at the top and Guildford back up to second spot.
University of Exeter visit Guildford – 4-0 winners at Firebrands – on Saturday in round six.
Exeter's Isca top the men's regional Davis Wood Hockey League following three wins on the trot and their 5-2 Premiership home win over Exeter & Culm Vale ahead of Saturday's trip to fifth-placed Swindon.
Plymouth Marjon moved up to third in the top flight following a 5-1 home win over Cardiff University and two more goals for free-scoring skipper Simon Fenwick.
Exe won 2-1 at Isca in the Exeter derby to stay joint-top of West Clubs Women's League Premier One with Clifton II.