HOCKEY: Max puts North Wilts back on track

MAX Bartholemew hit a hat-trick as North Wilts returned to winning ways in East Central 1 with a 4-0 thrashing of county rivals West Wilts.

The Dorcan side, who dropped their first points of the campaign in the 0-0 draw at City of Bath A last Saturday, were rampant against their visitors and incredibly have still not conceded a goal in any of their first seven games.

Striker Darren Hillier created the opener midway through the first half when he beat two players before passing into the circle for Bartholomew, who finished first-time through the legs of the goalkeeper.

Soon after, Dominic Ellis cut across the top of the circle from the left and cracked a powerful strike into the net.

The returning Cameron Young nearly grabbed his first league goal of the season following good work from Ellis, but just failed to reach a pass despite a brave sliding effort.

After the break, a solid performance from man of the match Dan Conneely in the pivot role ensured North Wilts continued to pin the visitors in their own half.

Bartholomew picked up his second goal of the game with another short-corner strike, which he despatched expertly.

Shortly afterwards he completed his hat-trick, taking a quick free hit outside the circle and finishing well at the near post.

Meanwhile, in Premier Division 2A, Swindon suffered their third away defeat in four this season as they were sunk 2-0 late on at Taunton Vale.

The Wiltshire outfit might have fancied their chances against the lowly Somerset outfit beforehand, but poor availability of players meant they were somewhat handicapped.

Swindon were not their usual selves throughout the match and even when they did pressure the Vale goal, the final touch was lacking.

When the umpire controversially awarded Vale a short corner with seven minutes to go, the hosts seized the chance to go in front.

And they ensured victory with three minutes remaining as Swindon went vainly in search of an equaliser.

In Central 2, Wootton Bassett suffered a disappointing 6-2 loss at Somerset Gryphons.

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