Hockey: they're top of the league, but Marlborough men made heavy weather of this victory
Wootton Bassett 3 Marlborough 4
With the league title already secured, Marlborough claimed their eighteenth win of the season despite a below par performance at Wootton Bassett.
Marlborough really struggled to make the adjustment to a hard sandy pitch, never really finding the rhythm in their link-up play that has been such a characteristic of the season so far.
Marlborough still started the game the brighter, racing into the lead after a spell of early pressure lead to a John Berry deflection at a short corner. Marlborough did not let their foot off the gas and extended their lead through two goals from Captain Anil Sud.
His first was a well placed shot across goal following a good first save by the Wootton Bassett keeper, and the second an absolute rocket on his backhand from the top of the D following a high turnover.
Despite the score line, Marlborough seemed a yard off their normal pace, making poor decisions and running the ball into contact far more than necessary.
Marlborough once again found themselves at a numerical disadvantage when Chris Jones received green card and then Rich Holman received yellow card following a last ditch play at the ball with the back of his stick.
This disadvantage coupled with Marlborough's poor performance, allowed Wootton Bassett right back into the game. They eventually drew level and missed a sure-fire opportunity to take the lead with five minutes to go.
With their backs well and truly against the wall Marlborough remained composed. Even when playing so poorly they had created several chances to extend their earlier lead - including a potential penalty stroke that was only given as a corner after Toby Sampson was bought down by their keeper.
Marlborough managed to get more of a foothold in the game and started to apply late pressure to the Wootton Bassett circle, eventually winning a short corner following Will Radnedge's strong carry and early shot which found a defenders foot.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man as Captain Anil Sud stepped up, demanding the ball. Sud picked his spot between the keeper and the back post defender, the ball thundering into the backboard to the relief of everyone wearing green.
Marlborough saw out the last couple of minutes with no fuss so adding another three points to their tally for the season. Credit must go to Wootton Bassett, who fought back bravely from 3-0 and will quite rightly feel unlucky not to have taken something from the game in their battle against relegation.
Marlborough News Online Man of the Match was awarded to the captain Anil Sud for a superbly taken hat-trick.