Wessex League midweek fixtures – Christchurch beat Brockenhurst, Blackfield and Langley vs Bemerton Heath Harlequins, Hythe & Dibden vs Laverstock & Ford, Fawley AFC vs Folland Sports
Wessex League Premier Division
EDER Batista smashed a hat-trick as Christchurch and Brockenhurst got their seasons under way in a clash at the Meadens Skoda Arena on Tuesday night.
The Brazilian put Priory ahead on 20 minutes, doubled their lead from close range 12 minutes later, and popped in a free kick in the latter stages after Badgers' Ollie Dennett had pulled one back for the home side.
Brockenhurst boss Pat McManus will be hoping to improve on last season's sixth place showing, and new Christchurch boss Fawzi Saadi will certainly be looking for better than a lowly fourth-from-bottom.
Saadi was certainly the happier after seeing Batista stick Christchurch ahead midway through the first half after some poor defending from Brockenhurst.
Minutes later, the Badgers failed to clear a corner and Batista was on hand again to punish them.
Brockenhurst then found possession easier to come by, and deservedly halved the deficit through Ollie Dennett on 38 minutes, with the first 45 finishing 2-1.
The Badgers came out fighting for the second half and despite creating a host of chances they couldn't find an equaliser in front of a decent crowd of 249.
With five minutes of normal time remaining, a foul saw a yellow card for Otis Kinyanjui and a free-kick awarded 25 yards out for Christchurch. Eyeing a hat-trick, Batista dully delivered, belting it past Brock keeper James Mayo.
Christchurch will obviously be happier with the result, but Brock will be buoyed by their raft of second-half chances created, if not for how they were finished.
Both sides are in action again on Saturday, as Christchurch host Blackfield & Langley and Brockenhurst travel to Badshot Lea.
Blackfield & Langley were given a hiding at the hands of a strong Bemerton Heath Harlequins side at Gang Warily Recreation Centre.
The Watersiders went 1-0 up through Clayd Roach from the spot on 14 minutes, but it was one-way traffic after that, as Harlequins' Greg Peel hit two penalties in his hat-trick, with a brace from fellow striker Layton Tulk and additions from Reece Rusher and Nathan Connolly.
Blackfield travel to Christchurch tomorrow.
Hythe & Dibden shared points with Laverstock & Ford after coming back from 2-0 down.
The visitors took the lead on 18 minutes through Archie Lovegrove after a cross from a free kick, and Lewis Wakeford doubled their lead from the spot nine minutes later.
Hythe fought back and, seven minutes before the break, a Craig Feeney free kick was saved by Laverstock keeper Mathew Taylor, but Ollie Bradley was on hand to finish. With 10 minutes to play, Feeney made no mistake from the penalty spot.
Both sides had chances to win in the final minutes, but it finished all square as Hythe keeper Grant Ellis turned in a top performance.
Hythe are away to Fareham on Saturday.
In division one, Fawley AFC were handed a 3-0 lesson at home by a quality Folland Sports side through an Aleksandr Sipilovas brace and a goal by Luke Hooper.
Fawley are next in action away at Andover New Street on 13th August.