University of Exeter claim emphatic first League win
University of Exeter bounced back from their opening day Men's Hockey League defeat to score a big 4-0 away win at newly promoted Bristol Firebrands.
The result was just the fillip the Exeter students needed ahead of a testing trip to Fareham on Saturday.
While the Greens were winning in Bristol, Fareham won the south-coast derby 6-2 at Havant, where seven of the goals came in the second half.
William Collins got Exeter off to a flying start at Firebrands, scoring in the third minute to give the Greens a 1-0 half-time advantage.
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Tom Samuel converted a 38th-minute penalty corner to make it 2-0 before further goals by Michael Franklin (44) and Josh Godfrey (59) helped the Exeter students to claim their first League win of the term.
Isca University will be looking forward to returning to home comforts following a 2-0 loss at Women's Conference West favourites Buckingham.
Buckingham took a fourth-minute lead through Lorraine Campbell and still led 1-0 at half-time.
The home side increased their lead through Jessica Bloom's 44th-minute goal and, despite the best efforts of skipper Claire Thomas and summer signing Carla Dunnett, Isca could not break down the Buckingham defence.
Isca's Welsh Under-21 'keeper Ffion Barham made a good save late on as Zoe Burrell's pace enabled her to take the pace off a Buckingham short corner strike.
This Saturday Isca – who triumphed 2-0 over Trojans on the opening day – return home to University of Exeter Sports Park, where they face newly promoted Taunton Vale at midday.
Taunton – last season's West Clubs Women's Hockey League champions – drew 0-0 with Swansea on the opening day but were beaten 5-0 by strong starters Gloucester City in round two.
The two sides relegated from the national league back to the WCWHL both got off to flying Premier One starts.
Exe beat Cheltenham 3-0, while Team Bath Buccaneers beat a new-look young Plymouth Marjon side 4-0.
Laura Allen marked her Exe first-team debut with a double first-half strike. Skipper Kirsty Crocker ensured a winning start for the Exeter-based side with Exe's third goal early in the second half.
Exe do not have far to travel for their next match as it is against their second team at St Peter's School next Saturday. Exe seconds lost their opening Premier One game 2-1 at Bournemouth.
New Plymouth skipper Heather Dixon was their player of the match at Bath but it does not get much easier for the Devon side as next Saturday they travel to Clifton seconds, whose first team are setting the pace at the top of the Investec Women's Hockey League Premier Division.
The newly restructured men's regional Davis Wood Hockey League season starts on Saturday with 130 matches across the region, from Penzance to Penarth.