University of Exeter plunder more goals to move up to third
Free-scoring University of Exeter soared up to third in the NOW: Pensions Men's Hockey League Conference West following a 5-3 win at Fareham.
Nick Cooper scored twice for the second match in a row, following his goals in the impressive 3-0 home win over Team Bath Buccaneers.
Back-to-back wins come as a confidence boost ahead of Sunday's eagerly anticipated home match against Indian Gymkhana at the University of Exeter Sports Park (12.30pm).
It was not all plain sailing for the students, who trailed 1-0 after six minutes but then bounced back to level through Oliver Clark on 25. Cooper (33 minutes) and Matthew Richards (35) ensured the greens went in 3-1 up at half-time.
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Fareham fought back to level 3-3 in the 52nd minute before Josh Godfrey (63) and Cooper (66) regained Exeter's two-goal lead.
Isca face an important clash at Cheltenham on Sunday (Balcarras, 12.30pm) following their 3-1 home defeat by Havant, who moved level on ten points with leaders Cardiff & Met, taking a break from domestic action to represent Wales in the Euro Hockey League in Barcelona.
Exeter-based Isca trailed 2-0 in 13 minutes before Tom Poustie made it 2-1 at half-time. As Isca pushed for a leveller, Oliver Nail hit Havant's 62nd-minute third goal.
Isca skipper Simon Tremlett admitted: "We made a slow start and gifted Havant two early goals and from that point were always struggling to get back into the game. We will need to pick up points at Cheltenham."
Cheltenham edged three points above Isca to eighth following a 2-1 win at basement side Guildford.
Isca University will be hoping to get back on the winning track at home to Investec Women's Hockey League Conference West basement side Barnes on Saturday (University of Exeter Sports Park, 12.30pm).
Isca slipped to sixth following a Zoe Burford-inspired 5-0 defeat at Gloucester City, where the home ace scored four times from open play to sandwich Holly Chipman's 25th-minute penalty corner goal.
Resolute Exe held unbeaten leaders Buckingham for 47 minutes before the defending champions' Kitty Higgins' deflected penalty-corner strike looped in for a 1-0 win.
Midfielders Clare Whitworth and Ali Kerridge were in top form for Exe, who will be hoping their improved performance against the division's dominant side will act as a springboard for Saturday's midday match in Southampton against seventh-placed Trojans.
Cornwall's top men's side Truro maintained their winning start by beating Davis Wood Hockey League Championship leaders Isca A 2-1 away.
The Exeter side bounced back with a 2-1 home win over Whitchurch A 24 hours later to regain their top-of-the-table spot, having played one more game than their promotion rivals.