WICKFORD’S Josh Batch is celebrating after scoring the first hat-trick of his ice hockey career.
The 22-year-old has been switched from defence into a power forward position for the Cardiff Devils.
And he responded in fine fashion by scoring a trio of goals in his side’s 6-4 Elite League win at Coventry Blaze.
“It’s been great to play as a forward and I enjoyed the goals,” said Batch, a former Westcliff High School pupil.
“We need to climb the table, catch the teams ahead of us and get past them.
“But camaraderie in our locker room has been fantastic all season and everybody is determined to push on now.”
However, it was not just Batch’s play which saw him take centre stage at Coventry as he also stood toe to toe with renowned hard-man Benn Olson.
The Canadian snapped Batch’s stick at the end of the game but he refused to back down from the battle, much to the surprise of his dad Kevan who was watching from the stands.
“I was hoping Josh would just walk away but he stood up to Benn, who is an out and out fighter, and certainly gave us good as he got,” said Kevan.
“I think that also earned Josh a lot of respect and I think smashing the stick from his first ever hat-trick must have annoyed him because it was one he would’ve wanted to keep.”
Batch will now be hoping to help Cardiff rise up the standings as they currently sit eighth in the table.
And he is also chasing another international call-up.
Batch represented England from the age of 13 to 16 and Great Britain at under-20 level but he is now chasing his first senior call up.
“Josh must be right on the fringes of the squad now and I would like to think he would at least be invited to the training camp,” added his dad.