Two vital victories secure third place for Marlborough Hockey Club in their league division

Written by Tony Millett.

Marlborough Hockey Club: 

reports of matches in the Premier Division 3 of the Davis Wood Hockey League – which includes clubs from the west of England and south Wales:

Marlborough vs Old Bristolians     Marlborough Win 8-1   Saturday, March 17, 2012

Marlborough  travelled away to Old Bristolians knowing that only a win would be acceptable in the race for third place with Taunton Vale and Cheltenham.  Marlborough started the game somewhat sluggishly with several misplaced passes and miss-traps and were fortunate not to concede early on as OB’s had an uncontested shot from the top of the ‘d’.  Marlborough nerves were soon calmed after excellent work near the opponents goal from Ed Gosling resulted in a penalty flick being awarded which was converted by Anil Sud.

Matt Osbourne soon doubled the lead after a series of sublime passes through the midfield allowed the striker to place his reverse stick shot underneath the advancing goalkeeper.  Ed Gosling made it 3-0 before half time with a clever shot from a tight angle which caught the goalkeeper unawares.

The second half began much as the first half had finished with Marlborough dominating the game in all areas and soon had further goals from Sud, Osbourne and skipper Richard Holman.  The rout continued when Sud completed his hat trick and Gosling added another to make the score 8-0. 

With two minutes remaining OB’s managed a consolation goal to lift their spirits. However, the game finished 8-1 giving Marlborough the perfect platform for the following day’s game against arch rivals Cheltenham.

Marlborough vs Cheltenham   Marlborough win 4-3   Sunday, March 18, 2012

With a win guaranteeing third place in the league, Marlborough knew they could not afford any slips against Cheltenham who had beaten them 2-0 earlier in the season.  No extra motivation for the game was necessary as over the past several years the fixture between the two sides has become something of a grudge match.

Both teams started the game well playing the free flowing, attacking brand of hockey that they have displayed all season - leading to several chances being created at both ends.  Marlborough took the lead after John Bromley’s patented ‘crash ball’ play allowed Anil Sud to slot home from close range.  Marlborough went close to doubling their advantage several times and did so after Sud found Rich Holman to score also from close range.

At two-nil up at half time Marlborough had the momentum at the start of the second half and increased their lead with Holman scoring from a short corner routine.  This forced Cheltenham to push more people forward and they soon found themselves back in the game with two quick goals leaving Marlborough’s fans nervously counting down the minutes to the finish. 

The key moment of the match came when Cheltenham were awarded a penalty flick which could have spelled disaster for Marlborough, but goalkeeper Brian Marnane saved brilliantly to his left.  Marlborough looked home and dry after Sud scored his second making the score 4-2 but Cheltenham pulled another goal back almost immediately making for a very tense finish.

The game finished 4-3 with Marlborough securing a third place finish with one final game to go, an achievement defensive stalwart Matt Way rated as one of the most satisfying of his career.