HOCKEY: Webb fires St Austell to top

LINDA WEBB scored both St Austell goals in a 2-1 win over Exeter to take the remote Cornish club to top place in the West Premier for the first time in their history.

St Austell, now three points clear with a game in hand of Exeter, last season often travelled to away games with only nine or 10 players, but the club has had a new lease of life under their player-coach, Heather Tilsley.

Sarah Thomas, who keeps fit by playing rugby with St Austell, feels that the turning point was the influx of younger players such as the 16-year- old striker Genna Martin from Newquay and Sarah Bullock. "Now we are up for promotion [to the National League] and will give it a go, but travelling will be a problem," Thomas said.

In the men's league, Rob Hill's Yeovil and Sherborne, with a 4-1 win over Weston-super-Mare, took over the top position from Bath Buccaneers, who were held to a 4-4 draw at Cheltenham. "Our defence was appalling," said the Bath player-coach, Bobby Crutchley.

In the South, a 25th minute Graham Butler goal gave the leaders Beckenham a 1-0 win against the bottom club Winchester, while the in-form City of Portsmouth coasted to a 5-2 victory at Maidenhead.

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