Morris hits hat-trick as Belper burst clear

Belper's pre-season recruitment drive and training regime appear to be paying dividends after Nick Morris scored a hat-trick during their 8-1 demolition of Olton and West Warwick in their DTZ Midland Premier League game at the weekend.

Belper's pre-season recruitment drive and training regime appear to be paying dividends after Nick Morris scored a hat-trick during their 8-1 demolition of Olton and West Warwick in their DTZ Midland Premier League game at the weekend.

The Derbyshire side, one of the few clubs outside the National League to have their own water-based artificial pitch, at last may be near to fulfilling their chairman Roger Carter's dreams of acquiring a place among the country's élite.

The arrival of their Australian player-coach, Craig Keegan, in the summer and the return of Tom Sherratt, from Stourport, have provided the impetus. Keegan and Sherratt each scored twice against Olton and 15-year-old Ben Walton added another. Belper are, after three games, already two points clear at the top.

Bath Buccaneers were also on form in the West Premier when they beat Gloucester City 8-0 to hold their two-point lead over Isca, whom they meet on Saturday. James Brown scored three with player-coach Bobby Crutchley collecting a brace.

Stephen Brogdon scored the winning goal for Bowdon in the North as they beat Sheffield 4-3 in a fluctuating game but with Durham University beating Hull 1-0 in a rearranged game on Sunday, Bowden have been edged off the top. James Grant scored twice in Eastcote's 4-4 draw away at Beckenham as they held on to their top spot in the South.

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