Hockey: Loughborough unbeaten as Alexander sparkles

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Loughborough students, the champions of the Indoor Hockey League, and the women's 2002 champions, Clifton, stamped their authority on the Premier League programme over the weekend.

Students started the defence of their title with a crushing 10-0 victory against Guildford at Kidderminster on Saturday, with Richard Alexander scoring five times, and followed that up with an 11-4 win against Canterbury, Alexander scoring another four.

Yesterday they came from behind to edge past Bournville 3-2, thanks to two second-half corner conversions from James McBlane. In their final game of the weekend, Loughborough beat Stourport 11-2.

Beeston, the only other team to win both their games on the opening day, were stopped in their tracks yesterday by St Albans, who came through with a 4-3 success.

In the women's Premier at Haslemere, Chelmsford - the overnight leaders yesterday - beat Trojans 9-2, with Lynn Bollington notching a hat-trick, and then defeated the defending champions, Slough, 9-3 with Bollington claiming two more.

St Austell, a non-National League club who enjoyed good wins over Canterbury and Trojans on Saturday, suffered two narrow defeats yesterday, losing 3-4 to Hightown and then going down 2-3 to Clifton. After holding a 2-0 interval lead the Cornish side ran out of steam and will regret that they did not have a full squad. The goalkeeper, Anne Barbagallo, was outstanding in all their games.

At Aldershot, in a Division One South game, another goalkeeper, Becky Duggan of England and Woking, was responsible for holding up play for 20 minutes after liberally sprinkling talcum powder on her pads which, deposited on the floor, made the playing surface resemble a skating rink until it was removed.