Sheffield University Bankers’ first XI continued their blistering start to 2016, after a 6-1 victory over City of York kept them three points clear at the top of the North Hockey League Premier Division.
Against the side they pipped to the Division One title last season, the Bankers were largely faultless, and look back to their best after a tricky finish to 2015.
Top-scorer Drew Burkin got the ball rolling for the hosts, with a trademark rising drag flick from a short corner after just 12 minutes, and Owen Davies made it two just a minute later with a deflected close-range strike.
And the irresistible Bankers were soon three up, putting the game beyond doubt, as Davies pounced upon some poor defending to score in the 18th minute.
The Bankers were knocked out of their rhythm slightly when the visitors pulled a goal back just before half-time from a penalty flick.
Whether a few stern words were spoken at the break, the Bankers recovered their poise early in the second period and Davies was soon celebrating his hat-trick with a near-post flick.
York, who had worked hard to get back into the game, were rocked, and the Bankers made them pay with two more wonderfully crafted team goals.
Matthew Kettley was picked out by a delightful aerial pass from James Wright, and, beating two men down the left in the process, put in a pinpoint cross for Burkin to convert his second.
And Steve Palmer completed the scoring, rounding off yet another impressive team move.
One of the performances of the season, club officials were delighted with both the performance and a result which sets them in good stead heading into a crunch game with third-placed Brooklands MU on Saturday.
There was less good news elsewhere though, with the second team’s promotion hopes dealt a severe blow after defeat at bottom-placed York in Division Two.
Now sitting 10 points off top spot, having played a game more than those above them, this weekend’s game with leaders Stockton looks a must-win if the Bankers still entertain hopes of going up this season.
The Ladies’ first team consolidated their position in third place in Division Two of the North Hockey League with a 2-1 victory over league leaders Boston Spa.
Christina Woods and Ruth Thomas were on target for the bankers, though goal-keeper Nicki Hilton was once again the hero after performing heroics to keep the visitors out.
Elsewhere, there were wins for the Men Sixth XI – 2-1 over local rivals Hallam – and a thumping 10-0 victory for the Sevenths.