Hockey: Marlborough men start the season on top form - with three victories in a row
Marlborough 5 Firebrands 1
On Saturday, October 15, Marlborough's game against Firebrands showed the team continuing to build on the positive start to theie season - despite the absence of John Bromley and captain Anil Sud. Marlborough were led well on the day by Will Radnedge who took on the captaincy role to great effect.
Marlborough once again started the game well and took an early lead when Matt Osborne fired the ball into the bottom corner following some positive build up play. Marlborough continued their dominant performance but were hit on the counter when Firebrands equalised against the run of the play mid way through the half.
At this stage the game was evenly balanced, until one of the Firebrands players managed to talk himself into a yellow card following a green for some fairly agricultural tackling.
Marlborough executed the next five minutes to near perfection, retaking and then extending their lead to 3-1 thanks to goals from Rhys Davies and a lovely backhand finish from Alex Renwick.
Even when Firebrands returned to a full team, Marlborough continued to dominate the remainder of the half and took the score line to 4-1 thanks to a trademark Rich Holman 'slider' finish at a short corner.
At half time the message was simple, nothing silly and the game was ours.
Marlborough started the second half in a positive fashion and created lots of potential scoring opportunities which were unfortunately not converted. This was until Captain Will Radnedge stepped up to 'hammer' the ball home from all of one metre out.
Firebrands began to throw more bodies forward in the hope of salvaging something from the game, but firm defending from Chris Jones and Will Hodge combined with a couple of saves from Brian Marnane meant the score remained unchanged.
The game somewhat petered out in the last few minutes following a couple of Firebrands players losing their discipline and receiving cards, this was a shame as the majority of the game was played in the right spirit and enjoyed by both teams.
Three wins from three and playing some great hockey on the way, it has been an excellent start for Marlborough which we will look to build on as we continue after our 'mini break' with no game this weekend (October 22).
Marlborough News Online Man of the Match was awarded to veteran defender Will Hodge for his excellent positional play and numerous interceptions.
Reports follow of the previous two victories - starting with the opening game of the season:
Marlborough 3 Old Bristolians 2
Marlborough started their season with a competitive opening fixture (October 1) against Old Bristolians. Last season both encounters between these two teams had been close affairs, but as Marlborough had taken all six points they were confident.
Marlborough started the brighter of the two sides, showing composure throughout the pitch and applied pressure every time the opposition tried to advance the ball.
This was rewarded when new First Team Captain, Anil Sud, ghosted through the Old Bristolian defence to open the scoring. Marlborough continued to look comfortable, but some sloppy play in the middle of the pitch allowed an equaliser before half time.
The second half began in a similar way to the first, but with Marlborough starting to tire, the Old Bristolians were able to find gaps in our press and looked more of a threat.
To Marlborough's credit they continued to move the ball well and created chances of their own. Halfway through the second half they won a short corner from which the initial effort was saved, but then Matt Osborne, making his return to the club, equalised by forcing the ball over the line.
Marlborough looked to have put the game to bed - then shortly afterwards they extended their lead to 3-1 when Captain Sud once again found space in the circle to fire the ball home.
Unfortunately old habits diehard and Marlborough did their best to let the opposition back into the game. Once again some poor passing inside their own half allowed Old Bristolians to turn the ball over and fire it across the circle to an unmarked forward who deflected the ball home.
It was a tense finish to the game, but Marlborough regained their composure and managed to see the game out despite some rather tricky moments. Not exactly a vintage performance, but the result gives us a positive start with plenty to build on over the next few weeks.
Marlborough News Online Man of the Match was awarded to Alex Renwick for his excellent work rate up front.
Sidmouth 1 Marlborough 4
Marlborugh made the long (but favourite) away trip to play Sidmouth (October 8) looking to build on their opening victory.
Marlborough started the game well, managing to maintain early possession and a succession of aerial passes allowing the forward line to create chances in behind the Sidmouth defence.
The early pressure lead to the opening goal when Matt Way quickly took a free hit outside the 25m line and played the ball in towards the back post. Will Hughes managed to get a touch, but could only turn the ball onto the post, fortunately Rich Fynn was quickest to the follow up - calmly putting Marlborough ahead.
The game was being played at a frantic pace with chances being created at both ends. Marlborough were disappointed to see Sidmouth equalise midway through the half and then were reliant on the excellent goalkeeping of Brian Marnane who narrowed the angles well in a couple of dangerous situations.
Marlborough began to reassert themselves and managed to retake the lead when Rhys Davies showed fantastic composure inside the circle, receiving the ball with his back to goal he turned onto his reverse and powered the ball into the bottom corner.
Marlborough held onto their lead going into half time and this positive half was epitomised by Will Hughes who charged back to make an important interception inside the Marlborough defensive circle despite having been the highest forward when the ball was turned over.
At half time a clear plan for the second half was set out which Marlborough carried out to great effect. The game continued to be played at a great pace, but Marlborough maintained possession through their midfield allowing for space to be created for overlapping runs to cause havoc in the Sidmouth defence.
This play led to Marlborough extending their lead when Will Hughes was put through and slotted the ball under the keeper's body into the goal.
Marlborough's lead looked secure and they held out especially well despite being reduced to 10 men following Matt Way 'taking one for the team' - receiving a green card for breaking down the play just outside the 25m line.
Marlborough put the game fully to bed when Matt Osborne called for and scored a diving back post deflection at a short corner giving the Sidmouth keeper no chance.
Marlborough were really pleased with their margin of victory over a very good Sidmouth team. The game was played in the right spirits throughout with both teams playing some great attacking hockey.
Marlborough News Online Man of the Match was awarded to Will Hughes for his tireless work rate and composure in front of goal