Hockey: Alexander gets Loughborough off to a lightning start

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The Independent Online

Richard Alexander was the toast of Loughborough after their opening game in the European Indoor Club Challenge yesterday with two typically opportunistic goals in the opening two minutes to send his side off to a 17-1 win over the Irish champions, Avoca.

Although the Irish rallied after this initial assault and only two very smart saves from Giles Cadman in the students' goal denied them pulling a goal back, Loughborough's all-out action play on the fast sport court surface brought further goals at regular intervals for a 6-0 half-time scoreline.

Surprisingly, unaffected by the narrow pitch which one would have expected to have handicapped Loughborough's high-speed game, they streaked ahead with their Great Britain star, Jerome Joudie, and Paul Wicken each scoring four times, the captain, Tim Benford, registering a hat-trick and Alexander, known as "Ratman", completing his on the stroke of time.

Avoca, to their credit, never gave up, with the German Ezra Handleman showing his experience of the indoor game. Their consolation goal came from Stephen Stuart at a corner in the 33rd minute.

SK Senkvice from Slovakia, Loughborough's opponents in their next game, beat Swansea Bay 10-4 in spite of a hat-trick from Richard Jones. The Welsh team will be Loughborough's final group opponents.

In the second pool, the Ukrainian champions, Kolos Vinnitsa, opened with a 10-4 win against Lithuania's Olympic Panevezys, and went on to win their second game 8-2 against HT 85 from Finland.

Pool A: Kolos Vinnitsa 10 Olympic Panevezys 4; HK Lek Lipovci 1 HT 85 3; Kolos Vinnitsa 8 HT 85 2.

Pool B: Loughborough Students 17 Avoca 1; SK Senkvice 10, Swansea Bay 4.