Hockey: Marlborough men's first team back on form - a clean sheet & eight goalsMarlborough started the second half of the season - with their home game against Bristol UWE (January 13) - knowing they needed to get back into the rhythm that saw them win their six opening games. And reassuringly that was exactly what happened.
They knew from their last meeting that Bristol UWE had a strong spine to their team and so set up to force them into wide areas of the pitch and aim to pick them off as they played back into the middle of the pitch.
This is exactly what they did as they controlled all of the early exchanges, looking like opening the scoring from a succession of penalty corners or when Matt Osborne's strike cannoned back off the post.
UWE held firm for over ten minutes, but the pressure told as Marlborough quickly raced into a 3-0 lead following goals from James Richardson, Matt Osborne and Rhys Davies.
This kicked UWE back into life and they began to have more possession inside the Marlborough half, trying to make use of their quick forwards in one-on-one situations. However, Marlborough were up to the task defending strongly and anything which did beat the backline was mopped up by the ever-excellent Aaron Holloway in goal.
Marlborough managed to find the net a further two times through Rich Fynn and Anil Sud in the first half despite spending about five minutes down to ten men following a 'disagreement' between Mark Ramage and the umpires over stopping play - or rather not stopping play - for an injured player.
Halftime arrived with the score at a comfortable looking 5-0. But with reduced numbers for the second half due to work commitments and injury it would need the bare 11 players left to see the game out. That they did - in style.
Marlborough continued to dominate the game, with UWE spending the majority of play either struggling to get the ball out of their own half or playing extremely speculative passes which went harmlessly over the baseline.
By the end of the game, the scoreline had been extended to 8-0 through further goals from Rhys Davies, Rich Fynn and John Berry. The pick of the goals had to be Rich Fynn's fantastic deflection effort from excellent possession-based hockey and a raking ball in from the left by Matt Osborne.
Next up there's a real test against high-flying Swindon in a local derby game.
Marlborough.news Man of the Match was awarded to Alex Renwick, who despite not getting on the scoresheet, was at the heart of everything positive for Marlborough, pressing well to win the ball high and always looking a threat in possession.