SHOLING'S Dan Mason started the season as he means to go on by banging in a hat-trick at Bemerton Heath Harlequins on Saturday.

It was the perfect start to the season for Dave Diaper's Boatmen who dominated from start to finish in a 4-0 Sydenhams Premier Division victory at Western Way.

Mason, who banged in 32 goals last season, took just six minutes to open his 2018/19 account, diverting the ball home after some pinball in the Harlequins' area after a corner had only bee half-cleared.

That lead was doubled on 24 minutes when the predatory No9 headed Owen Royl's free-kick into the top corner.

Debutant Billy Connor almost got in on the first-half scoring act when his shot beat keeper Lewis Watch but cannoned back off the foot of the post.

Lee Wort also went close with a header that went narrowly wide, but it was that man Mason who made it 3-0 on 55 minutes with another clinical finish. Pete Castle fed him the ball and 'D-Dan' used his strength to hold off his marker before smashing the ball in at the near post.

With the heat taking its toll, the tempo of the game dropped, but Sholing still mustered the energy to create chances and scored a 75th-minute fourth through Wort who drilled the ball under the diving keeper from ten yards.

Despite limping through the last few minutes, Mason almost scored twice more, first hitting the bar with a hooked shot over the keeper and then sending a lobbed effort inches over.

Sholing will be looking to follow up Saturday's success with a positive result at Alresford Town tomorrow (Tuesday, 7.45pm).

Richard Luffman's injury-hit Magpies endured a disappointing start to the campaign, beaten 1-0 at Portland United.

Alresford created ample openings to have got something from the game, but it was a late strike by Portland's Lewis Whyton that settled it.

Portland boss Brendon King admitted: "We sort of got out of jail a little bit.

"They will be disappointed that they haven't taken anything out of the game because they did miss some chances."

Alresford manager Luffman reflected: "I think it’s a case of goals change games - and we didn’t get to see that as we didn’t take any of our opportunities.

"Connor Whiteley has missed two very good chances, our skipper Chalky (Ben White) had a volley he’d expect to do better with. Our centre-half (Ryan) Green has missed a golden headed chance from yards out. On top of that at 0-0 (Jason) Silver and (George) Farrelly both went close."