Hockey: an excellent weekend for Marlborough men - still unbeaten after the season's first six fixtures
Marlborough 5 City of Bath 2
Marlborough extended their 100 per cent record to five games with a comfortable victory over City of Bath (Saturday, November 5.)
The team welcomed Will Radnedge back to the team following his endeavours in the Under 18 Futures Cup last week, reaching the final and scoring a goal in the process was a fantastic achievement.
Marlborough started the game brightly, moving the ball well and looking to create space high up the pitch. The opening goal was created when Chris Jones won the ball just inside the Marlborough half before playing a series of passes down the right hand side of the pitch. This interchange of passing resulting in John Berry finding space inside the circle to fire the ball into the goal form a narrow angle.
Marlborough continued to control the first half and extended their lead when Rhys Davies lifted the ball over the onrushing keeper.
CIty of Bath did pose a threat on the break, all of their play coming from their defender either looking to carry the ball aggressively through the pitch or aerial the ball into space for his forwards. Marlborough defended the situation well, finding themselves under the ball on numerous occasions to win possession back.
Towards the end of the half, a City of Bath player was given a Green Card following a series of clumsy tackles, culminating in what can only be described as an 'Axe-chop' as captain Anil Sud cleverly lifted the ball into space outside their circle. Marlborough made it three when some quick thinking after a long corner, Will Radnedge found space to fire the ball into the net.
Marlborough continued to play the better hockey throughout the second half, working the ball well from half-backs into the middle of the pitch and building form there. This patient play was rewarded when Will Radnedge doubled his tally by turning the ball in at the back post.
At 4-0 up Marlborough seemed to lose some focus and allowed the opposition back into the game. City of Bath scored when a free hit awarded just outside the 25 was crashed into the circle by their defender. The ball took an unfortunate touch off a Marlborough stick leaving Brian Marnane no chance.
City of Bath continued to press forward and their 'Hero ball' brand of hockey was rewarded when the very same defender eventually managed to escape numerous Marlborough challenges. He carried the ball well through four Marlborough players and fired the ball into the roof of the net from the top of the circle.
This seemed to rally Marlborough back to their best hockey- they began to move the ball with more pace and managed to advance the ball forward to create several scoring opportunities, the game was eventually put to bed when Will Hughes received the ball with his back to goal, span onto his strong side and played the ball into the far corner of the goal.
Marlborough were pleased with the result, played some excellent hockey and scored some cracking team goals.
Marlborough News Online Man of the Match was awarded to Rich Holman for some extremely composed defending.
Bristol University B 1 Marlborough 2
Marlborough continued their push for promotion by picking up a valuable away win over fellow high flyers Bristol University B (Sunday, November 6.)
Marlborough's fifteen man squad made the familiar drive along the M4 knowing the match would be very different from the day before where all of the opposition's play came from a single player.
The game started with both teams showing each other respect but Bristol Uni making the better of the play with neat interchanges of passing. During the opening spell Brian Marnane was forced into a couple of reaction saves which kept the game level. Marlborough began to grow into the game, but were just unable to connect with the final pass.
Half time arrived with the scores level and the game flowing well from end to end. At half time Marlborough made a tactical shift in their press to force the Bristol Uni defenders into playing higher risk passes in the hope of creating more turnovers. This plan worked well.
Unfortunately Marlborough fell behind when they lost concentration at a free hit just outside their circle, a lack of communication meant that no-one defended the route to goal and the Bristol forward was able to convert an uncontested shot from the edge of the circle.
Marlborough didn't let this moment dampen their spirits and began to press higher up the pitch, it was from one of these situations that Marlborough were able to draw level. Matt Way started the move by throwing a cross-field aerial from a sideline hit to allow Rich Holman space to take the ball forward,
The initial ball into the circle has half stopped but Anil Sud managed to pounce onto the loose ball and play it forward to the P spot where Matt Way was now waiting. He held off his defender, rolled onto his strong side and slipped the ball past the onrushing keeper.
Marlborough felt a real shift in momentum and fully believed that all three points were there to be won. They were proved right when a nice interchange of passing down the right hand side of the pitch allowed the ball to be played into the circle. As the ball came across it was redirected towards the back post where it was gratefully finished off by Mark Kinder.
Marlborough closed the game out without any further scares and now sit clear at the top of the table with six wins from six games. It was an enjoyable game between well matched teams and played in good spirits throughout.
Marlborough News Online Man of the Match was shared by Freddie Hazlitt and Matt Way with Freddie Hazlitt winning on the re-vote for his excellent link play in only his second game for the first team.