2016-2017 hockey season roundup: ups & downs for Marlborough Hockey Club's lower teams - this year it's mainly ups
All through the 2016-2017 hockey season Marlborough.News has been reporting on the successes of the Marlborough Hockey Club's first men's and first ladies' teams. Keeping up with the lower teams in the club hierarchy is a bit of a challenge.
So here, at the end of the season, is a brief roundup of how the seconds, thirds and juniors have fared.
Louisa Gostling, Captain of the Ladies' Second Team, writes:
Having won the Wessex 2 league in 2016 and subsequently been promoted, Marlborough Hockey Club Ladies Seconds knew they would have a tough season ahead of them. Team captain Louisa Gostling set the aim for the season to remain in the league with a mid-table placing.
The season started badly with a couple of big losses. It appeared that the team had forgotten how to defend in their dominance of the lower league the previous year.
However, under the guidance of coach Matt Way the team gradually started to pull things together, tightening up in the midfield and solidifying the defence. By Christmas the team had won five and lost five games, putting them firmly in the middle of the league, but with a large negative goal difference.
The second half of the season saw a much more polished performance, with the team tightening up the goal difference and even managing a draw against top of the league Bath Buccs.
Although the team didn't get as many wins as the first half it absolutely looked like progress had been made, and the 2s finished the league 7th of 11, and comfortably in the middle pack.
Daisy Beckwith, Captain of the Marlborough Ladies Third team, writes:
Marlborough Ladies third team have had a very successful season in the Wessex 2 league, playing sixteen matches and winning eleven of these. This has secured us a solid second position out of the nine teams in our league - with a potential promotion offer.
The 16/17 season has been fantastic to captain. Like a true competitive sport, it's offered highs - A 6-0 win against Devizes - and lows - playing in a terrible hailstorm and having to lose to go with it. But most importantly the tram have played some absolutely brilliant hockey.
It has been inspiring to see young players coming from juniors levels into ladies hockey, earning their very deserved places on the squad. Special recognition to Jess Davis, Tess Christmas, Joanne Henry and Annabel Prowse for tireless running and dedication. Elspeth Slater and Teresa Philpott who are competing for top goal scorer of the season within the team and to star player Issy Davies for providing superb goal keeping all season.
Ed Watson, Captain of the Marlborough Men's Second team, writes:
After tantalising third placed finishes in both of the previous two seasons, Marlborough Seconds celebrated promotion to Central 2 in style after being crowned champions of East Central 1.
The first three games of the season back in October brought a slightly rocky start, with a loss, a win and a draw respectively. However, it was the 6-2 victory over City of Bath C that provided a true glimpse of what was to follow - as the team proceeded to amass a further 52 points out of a possible 57 to win the league by four clear points. And we scored 109 goals along the way.
The season had many highlights, but the standout game was surely the post-Christmas top of the table clash with North Wilts: a 4-0 victory from a very hard fought game in which both teams showed great quality and intensity. And that is something they will need as they step up the leagues next year.
The player of the season vote could have gone to many key contributors, not least Kiwi midfield maestro Mark Ramage, but with a superb tally of 31 goals the deserved winner was star striker Justin Metcalfe.
Marlborough Men's Third Team have had a very rocky run: they sit at the bottom of the East Central 1 league - with their fellow Marlborough Seconds in the top place. They have drawn one match and lost nineteen. They scored ten goals with 126 against - a goal difference that is simple to work out.
However, their work rate has been outstanding - they have played twice as many games as most of the other teams in their league.
Last but by no means least are the Club's Juniors. Marlborough Hockey Club's Junior Co-ordinator, Sarah Kendall, writes:
Another successful season for the junior section at Marlborough Hockey Club with over 310 children between the ages of 7 and 18 training and playing hockey every week.
Many of those aged over 13 are playing in Marlborough's senior teams and have contributed to the success achieved this season. Matches have been played across most age groups and the U10 Boys and Girls and U12 Girls teams are playing at the West Regional tournament.
And 'graduates' from Marlborough's Juniors are doing well too: Will Radnedge played in the England Hockey Futures Cup For the Wessex Leopards (U18), five players are training at Regional level, with many more competing at County level.