A new year, a new pitch, eight goals and three points ushered in a welcome first game of 2014 at the Four Releet as Phoenix Hockey Club's men beat University of Essex 8-0 in East League division three south east.
This was a promotion-pushing victory over a struggling University side but both were poor in the opening phase.
There was a rustiness to the cut and thrust, but Phoenix grew visibly stronger as the half went on.
Their new Olympic-style blue and pink pitch was causing some play to break down, but an improvement in the work rate saw the game move decisively in Phoenix’s direction.
The first goal came ten minutes before the break when Ben Bruce Smith netted his first of the afternoon and it could have been three or four, but for the fine efforts of the University keeper.
There was no response from the visitors in the second half, which was surprising, but it took Phoenix ten minutes into the second half to force the floodgates open.
Bruce Smith completed a superb hat-trick, Gareth Luxton got a brace and captain Simon King snaffled a rebound.
To add insult to injury, an own goal completed the rout.