Hockey: Double trouble for treble winners

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The Independent Online
NEVER BEFORE have Slough, last season's triple champions, lost their first two opening league games, as they did this weekend.

On Saturday the Premier champions went down 3-2 to Olton and West Warwick in their first game with Mandy Gatherer scoring the season's first hat- trick. Yesterday, at home to Clifton, they succumbed to a Denise Marston- Smith goal a couple of minutes before the interval.

With Louise Hipkins and Tammy Miller controlling the midfield for Clifton, Slough never looked like saving the game, not even at a late penalty corner which, like their other efforts, lacked direction.

Clifton, who beat Sutton 3-1 on Saturday, thanks to two goals from Isabel Palmer and a third from Lisa Wooding, were one of three teams to enjoy maximum points during the double banked weekend.

Fyffes Leicester, setting the pace, won 1-0 away to Doncaster on Saturday with Justine Williams scoring after five minutes and Doncaster's Claire Fergison missing a penalty stroke just before the interval.

Yesterday Leicester beat Olton 3-0 with Purdy Miller scoring two and captain Jo Mould celebrating her return from injury with a penalty stroke conversion.

Ipswich also collected two wins against the two promoted sides - winning 3-2 against Chelmsford Highway and then 2-1 yesterday against Canterbury with Leisa King scoring both goals.

Canterbury had dominated their game against Hightown on Saturday but found England goalkeeper Carolyn Reid in fine form. The Kent club went down 3-1 and could find the going tough in their first season at the top.