ALAN STUART led the way with a fine hat-trick as Helensburgh Hockey Club’s first team continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 5-3 win away to Glasgow University’s third XI on Saturday.

Looking to build on their 6-2 win over Kelburne seven days previously, Helensburgh took a good away support with them to Garscube – and the team rewarded their followers in style after an entertaining match which saw both teams put on great displays of attacking hockey.

The game started at a frantic pace with both sides trying to gain superiority in the middle of the pitch. It was an end to end game, with the fast pitch lending to the attacking hockey.

Both sides were pressing each other high up the pitch and Glasgow Uni drew first blood when they broke through the Burgh defence to score an easy first goal.

Helensburgh got right back into it, however, with Black, Cox and Stuart combining for the latter to rifle the ball into the roof of the net.

The game was end to end throughout the first half with both keepers being kept busy; however the half ended 1-1.

The second half continued in much the same vein as the first, with play swinging from end to end, and it was Helensburgh took the lead early in the second period thanks to some individual brilliance from Stuart.

He won a free hit just outside the Uni D and took it quickly, beating three defenders before slotting the ball under the oncoming goalkeeper.

Both sides were throwing everything into the game, with the Uni side converting a short corner to draw level.

Gordon Black was shown a green card after he tried to tell the umpire how to do his job and Glasgow Uni quickly capitalised to go in front at 3-2.

The game really opened up at this stage, with both sides desperate for the win, but it was Helensburgh who scored the crucial next goal to pull level once more.

Some solid defence from both McGregor and McWilliam saw the ball find MacKenzie on the wing, and he played an excellent through ball to B. Cox to put him one on one with the Uni keeper, and the veteran striker calmly put the ball through the oncoming keeper’s legs to draw the game level.

Helensburgh kept pressing, and calm play from the front men kept Glasgow on their toes.

A well-executed short corner was saved on the line by a Glasgow Uni foot, which meant a penalty flick for Helensburgh, and Stuart calmly put it away to give the visitors a 4-3 lead and complete his hat-trick.

As Glasgow Uni pressed for the equaliser, Helensburgh remained composed and defensive clearance turned into an excellent counter-attack as J. Cox and B. Cox combined well to round the keeper and give J. Cox his fifth goal of the season and Helensburgh’s fifth of the day.

An excellent team performance sees Helensburgh move up to second in the league, behind Western Wildcats’ third XI, and they remain the only unbeaten side in the division.

This week they head to East Kilbride to take on last year’s second division runners up.

Helensburgh team: C. Keith; G. McWilliam (capt.); D. McGregor; G. Caulfield; R. Heywood; A. Stuart (MoM)(3); G. Black; G. MacKenzie; I. Bowyer; B. Cox (1); J. Cox(1); A. Bowman; D.Hartopp. Thanks to John Friel for umpiring.