Priceless first goals for the club by Damian Jarzembowski and James Gough enabled Belper to register the perfect ten at the top of the Premier Division in the Midland Men’s Hockey League.
Belper’s 3-1 triumph away to rejuvenated Stourport was their tenth straight victory and sent them seven points clear in the standings, with six matches to play.
Sam Dixon also bagged his 25th league goal of the season, while stand-in young goalkeeper Ben Proudler produced some outstanding heroics in the absence of regular custodian Chris Burton.
Stourport might be in the bottom five of the table, but they had lost just once in their previous nine games, so the fixture was far from a pushover for Belper. And although the visitors started in the ascendancy, with some superb one-touch hockey, they should have gone behind when a penalty stroke was awarded against them in the hosts’ first meaningful attack.
Thankfully, Andrew Cavendish stepped up to send the ball inexcusably high and wide, and Belper made the most of the let-off by taking the lead themselves within a minute as Dixon fired a first-time shot into the far corner.
Stourport threatened again early in the second half, playing with greater intensity, and only a fantastic save by Proudler denied Tom Schubert from the home team’s first penalty corner of the game.
Again, Belper cashed in and doubled their lead with a decisive blow on the counter. New signing Jarzembowski collected the ball at the top of the circle before picking his way through the Stourport rearguard and sending a reverse-stick shot into the corner.
Cavendish made amends for his earlier howler by pulling a goal back for the hosts from a penalty corner. But Belper wrapped up the points when Gough reacted quickly to blast a shot against the backboard. This Saturday (2.30 pm), Belper entertain bottom club Worcester.