Billy Vunipola, the England Rugby number eight and key member of London's Saracens made an unannounced visit to the Marlborough Rugby Club Clubhouse on Saturday (16 December) afternoon.
Hockey: A cold day on the pitches - two draws for Marlborough men - but a good three points for the seconds
Swansea City 2 Marlborough 2
With a scratch side and multiple changes in personnel, Marlborough arrived at Swansea (November 25) somewhat unsure of what to expect of themselves and their opposition. Swansea lay two points behind Marlborough with both teams having had a positive start to the season.
Swansea started the game the better of the two sides. Their quick passing, aggressive running and well organised press all causing problems for the visiting side.
To their credit Marlborough rallied and with some excellent distribution from Mark Kinder and Chris Jones made some inroads of their own. The term ‘end to end’ could have been dreamt up just for this game as attack after attack from either side was repelled by the respective defences.
With the game crying out for a goal Marlborough obliged through star striker Alex Renwick. Renwick picked the ball up high and wide on the right hand side of the pitch before driving with ease past a defender and lobbing the advancing goalkeeper from a ridiculously tight angle - sheer class! The half time whistle followed soon after.
Swansea made some tactical changes at half time to try to elevate their whole team and soon after had the better of the play. They made several incisive passes which Marlborough defended ably. Several close misses for both sides indicated that more goals were sure to follow.
Swansea drew level after another quick move and the following crash ball/cross was deflected into the Marlborough goal by a diving Swansea player. A deserved equaliser. Buoyed by this the home side pressed on and had soon taken the lead following a defensive lapse by Marlborough - another deflection for the home side…
With 10 minutes to go Marlborough regrouped and were once again creating multiple consecutive chances of their own with the ball whizzing past the post or onto the Swansea goalkeeper's pads. With time running out, Marlborough picked up their deserved equaliser when Rhys Davies collected the ball following a rebounded shot and held the ball strongly against the Swansea defenders' challenge before firing the ball past the Swansea keeper.
Both teams finished strongly and the game ended at 2-2. An interesting, dynamic and enjoyable game of hockey with the home side feeling that they had more of the possession, but Marlborough feeling that they had the more clear cut chances.
Marlborough News Online Man of the Match was Mark Kinder for fantastic work at centre back who having never played at that position before was exemplary in discipline and distribution.
Ed Watson reports on Marlborough Men's Second team fixture against Bristol and West's A team:
A brisk morning brought the risk of a cancellation, but thankfully the sun rose high enough to thaw the top pitch enough for an 11.30 push back.
Yet again it was a scratch team who assembled: the Seconds welcomed their 29th different player of the season!
Thankfully things clicked pretty quickly and the first 10 minutes saw Marlborough put Bristol & West under real pressure - with Toby Sampson opening the scoring with a smart deflection from a trademark Rich Holman slider.
Early optimism of a rout was sadly misplaced as a well organised visitors' team began to see a little more of the ball. There then followed a crazy five minutes with Bristol & West pulling ahead, first through a short corner and then an intercepted aerial cross-field ball.
The scores were level by half time thanks to another defection by Will Radnedge.
In what was turning out to be a topsy-turvy game, Marlborough slotted two more goals in quick succession, both from close range with Keith Radnedge and Will Hughes on hand to slot the ball past the keeper.
The end minutes of the game was predictably frenetic with Bristol & West pressing very high, which contributed to both remaining goals.
The undisputed moment of the match came close to time as a fine aerial straight from the defensive 16 by Rich Holman bypassed the whole Bristol and West team in their high press. He found Gareth Playfair unmarked who, not for the first time in his career, drifted into the D, decided against sliding the ball to Toby Sampson who was waiting at the far post, instead calmly dispatching the ball into the top left of the net. An end-to-end goal in Tesla-esque speed.
Final score a 5-3 victory for Marlborough.
Marlborough News Online Man of the Match goes to evergreen Keith Radnedge who returning from injury (rather earlier in the game than planned) showed all his class and anticipation in defence, as well as opening his scoring account for the season.
Alex Ford reports on Marlborough Men's Third team away fixture against West Wilts C team:
A cold, wind-beaten day in Warminster with the northerly Somerset wind howling...unsettling the Marlborough confidence.
After a delay-tactic by West Wilts C, Marlborough found themselves facing a cross-section of skilled old-timers and enthusiastic youth. The visitors set up aggressively and aiming for another fine victory - only to realise pretty quickly how vulnerable they were to the well-positioned overhead.
A number of chances were squandered in the first half and Marlborough were caught on the break twice by well taken finishes at pace. Marlborough were on the back foot. As we went into half time Marlborough heads were down, but they had two important elements to remember - they had 80 per cent of the possession in the first half and the best goalie in the league.
Come back time...supported by Phil Gill and his team of defenders the mid-field went to task with waves of attack from Mike Someone, Mark Banham and Dave Patterson Padfield...with Andy Shaw making his mark at times too.
One brilliantly well executed short by Phil Gill and one total fluff by Mark Banham, finished by Harry Strover....again....and Marlborough were level.
Both teams battled for the winning goal, but more stellar defence from Tom Collins kept out the West Wilts attackers while Marlborough tried, but failed to get the third.
It was seen as a good battle back - but a 2-2 draw. Tom Collins was a hero...again.
Marlborough needed a win against Bristol and West if they were to maintain their position in the table and keep in contention for promotion - especially after two defeats without any goals scored.
Hockey: Marlborough Ladies First team have an important win - but tables are turned for the Seconds as goals mount in local derby
City of Bath Ladies Firsts 0 Marlborough Ladies Firsts 4
Following two draws in the last two games, Marlborough travelled to bottom of the league City of Bath looking for three points. A minute of silence for the fallen was observed and then it was time for Marlborough to get down to business.
As part of their partnership with the England National Football Team and FA, Nike offer leading Youth Football clubs in the country a chance to apply for partnerships to help raise the profile and quality of grass roots football.
Marlborough Youth Football Club has been selected to become a Nike partner club, on a four year arrangement.
What does this mean for MYFC? They are now one of just 230 clube across the country to achieve this support which will be in the form of financial support for coaching qualifications and wider guidance.
Nike has recognised the outstanding work that MYFC do for the development of youth football across this region and as a result this new arrangement gives:
- Access to coaching bursaries within Wiltshire FA.
- Consistent identity for the all MYFC teams, via Discount Nike Football Kits, which will be used for all new kits supplied by new and existing MYFC sponsors. This will apply across all age groups, Angels and Mixed football.
- The partnership has been forged as part of the continued ambitions to develop MYFC, and to align with the FA’s ‘DNA pathway’, itself a nationwide initiative to help standardise coaching strategy to clubs across the country.
Chair Stuart Slater would like to thank Nike, along with Discount Football Kits, plus all MYFC coaches, volunteers and of course players. This represents a significant step forward in the club's development.
Hockey: very mixed day for Marlborough's men - firsts lose, seconds lose away 13-nil, thirds manage 'an ugly win'
Marlborough 3 Bristol University A 5
With player availability the worst it has been all season, Marlborough were forced into several changes for the home fixture against Bristol University's A team (December 2).
Hockey: two victories and a good draw for Marlborough ladies with the first's win judged as 'magnificent'
Gillingham 0 Marlborough 2
The squad set off at the crack of dawn for an early push back away in Dorset. Not having met Gillingham before and teams level on points in the league, the scene was set for a competitive match neither side wanted to lose.
With England Hockey Clubfirst accreditation held since 2006, Marlborough Hockey Club are now one of the first clubs in the west of England to have been awarded England Hockey’s Clubmark accreditation.
Hockey: defeats for Marlborough's first & second men's teams - but thirds win again and go top of the table
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