ALEX Sampford scored his first ever Basingstoke Bison hat-trick, but it was bitter sweet as the Herd lost 4-3 to the visiting Swindon Wildcats on Friday night.

Adam Harding who signed from Swindon, made his Herd debut against his former side, while the Wildcats welcomed back import Jonas Hoog into their ranks.

The visitors certainly had the better of the opening 20 minutes and Hoog was denied after 55 seconds by a great stop by Alex Mettam.

However, Swindon did take the lead at 4:54, after Aaron Nell’s shot was gloved onto to the crossbar, by Mettam, Hoog picked up the pieces and fed Sam Bullas to score from the top of the circle.

This woke the home side up and they levelled, as great work from Bordowski found man of the match Sampford and he fired home.

Back came the Wildcats and two minutes later, they led again as Max Birbraer was allowed time behind the Herd net to set-up Loris Taylor to score.

After this, Swindon’s player/coach Nell had two great chances to extend their lead further before the break, but Mettam denied him on both occasions.

After the interval, the home side got back into the contest.

The Herd’s Danny Ingoldsby then tried to beat Renny Marr on a breakaway, but his effort was saved.

However, soon after good work from new signing Harding and Bordowski Sampford swept the puck home by the post.

Then two minutes later, much to the delight of the home fans, Sampford completed his hat-trick as again he finished a move involving Harding and Bordowski.

The final period saw the game turn on its head in the space of 35 seconds as both man of the match Sam Jones and Chris Jones both scored for Swindon to make it 4-3.

Soon after, the home side found themselves on the powerplay, but were unable to convert and then with 40 seconds left, Sam Jones picked up a delay of game penalty.

This gave the Bison the chance to pull their goalie for a six-on-four advantage, but they could not find the equaliser.

After the game, Bison player/coach Ashley Tait said: “We came out flat in the first period, we were better in the second and found a way to lose the game in the third, so it was a very disappointing night.”

This evening, the Bison have a tough road trip to the Peterborough Phantoms.