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Hockey: Marlborough men lose to top of table City of Bath

Marlborough vs City of Bath                    

Marlborough lose 0-2

With an unusually late pushback of 5pm, Marlborough made the short trip to Bath to face City who were top of the league and had yet to taste defeat this season.  

Historically Marlborough have always risen to the occasion and played better against top teams and after a rousing team talk from skipper Rich Holman, Marlborough were set to do the same again.

Both sides started the game positively and it became clear early on that this would be a game where both sides would be given the license to express themselves.  

Marlborough’s early defensive work was resolute and it was clear that they were tactically sound as they restricted City to constant aerial through balls rather than playing the more conventional route of through the middle of the pitch.

However disaster struck as only a momentary lapse of concentration led to a quick taken goal by City.  A clear reminder of why they are enjoying such a lofty position in the league so far.  

Marlborough had several good chances to counter but were unable to supply that final killer ball to the right place for the finishing touch.

The second half began with Marlborough re-doubling their efforts and they soon had City rocking after several penetrating moves and close calls.  City themselves responded robustly with a change of formation and personnel in several positions in a bid to retake the momentum from Marlborough.  

The game ebbed and flowed with City noticeably nervous at having such a slender lead and their unbeaten streak on the line.  

Their fears were finally put to bed two minutes before the end of the game when they were awarded a penalty flick for a clear foul. It was safely converted leaving no time for Marlborough to mount any response.

The game ended 2-0 in favour of City but Marlborough could definitely hold their heads high after a rousing performance which earned much respect from their opponents.

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Hockey: Marlborough ladies safe at the top of the table after defeating Cheltenham CS

Marlborough Ladies vs Cheltenham CS Ladies

Marlborough win 4-1

Marlborough were keen to continue their winning run and planned to try for an early goal to settle the team.  

However, it was not to be.  Cheltenham Civil Service proved to be quite an imposing force, pressing us hard and made it difficult for us to dominate.  

After what seemed an eternity, but was only 20 minutes, we finally scored our first goal.  With excellent build up play from the backs, through the mids to the forwards, the ball was passed around the D and Catherine Manley neatly placed the ball in the corner of the goal.  

The team gained confidence from this and with renewed vigour, promptly scored a second cracking goal just before half time.  Helen Durrans intercepted the ball at the half way point, and skipping past two of their defenders, smashed the ball to Becki Marnane who was at the far post and Becki managed to deflect the ball deftly over the keeper’s foot into the net.  

The half time whistle blew and overall, Marlborough were happy with the 2-0 lead, but certainly not in a comfortable position just yet.  

Rotating the midfield to ensure fresh legs, Marlborough continued to press the opposition hard but to their credit they defended our advances and neutralised our efforts.  

After 50 minutes, Marlborough stretched the play, produced some excellent link up passes and achieved a short corner.   A well-practised set piece, saw Becki Marnane pick out Rosie Curling at the far post who chipped the ball over the keeper.  

Almost immediately, Cheltenham CS counter attacked from their defensive D and won a short corner which they converted sweetly.  
With a score line of 3-1, Marlborough were far from finished and applied consistent pressure on their opponents goal line.  After a tussle in front of the goal, Rosie Curling managed to tuck the ball away.  

The final 4-1 result to Marlborough was a great end to a fantastic first half of the season.  Marlborough very much hope they can maintain this momentum - going into the second half of the season at the top of the table, with a four point lead and plus-45 goal difference.

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Hockey: With the sun as ally, Marlborough Ladies score another convincing win

Marlborough Ladies 1st vs Bristol University 2nd

Marlborough Ladies won 11-2

On a bright but chilly morning Marlborough, having won the toss, elected to play the first half with the sun behind them, leaving a clear view of Bristol’s goal.  

After only a few minutes this decision paid dividends as some neatly choreographed build up play allowed Rosie Curling to execute an excellent deflection past their slightly blinded keeper.  

This riled the opposition and they quickly launched a series of counter attacks, one of which beat Marlborough’s defence resulting in a clinically taken goal.  With the score level at 1-1 Bristol continued to press hard.  

Marlborough lost their shape, with the midfield drawn out of position and Bristol looked as if they could score at any moment.  Credit to Marlborough’s solid defence and some tasty saves at point-blank range from Vicky Moxham, they managed to keep Bristol out.  

Then, thankfully, after a series of quick breaks, the tables were turned and Kate Batty managed to wrong foot the keeper for her first score.  Within no time at all, Batty had another opportunity in front of the keeper and deftly lobbed over her to score again.  

Marlborough were then on the up and soon won a short corner.  Anna Scott slipped the ball into the P spot and Clare Griffiths found the back of the net.  Half time beckoned and at 4-1 up, Marlborough had produced a good response and just needed to consolidate their position for the second half.  

Within seconds of the push-off, Marlborough did better than that: after excellent transferring from the backs and good movement from the mids and forwards, Kate Batty seized her chance to smash a loose ball against the backboards.  

Spurred on by this, Rosie Curling ran like a gazelle to collect a ball hit towards the baseline, silkily skipped passed a defender and slipped the ball into the corner of the goal.  

Leading now, 7-1, Marlborough’s concentration dropped and they gave away a short corner.  Bristol moved the defence well and found a gap through which they scored.  

After this wake-up call, Batty once again stepped up and, with a brilliant strike, sent the ball past their keeper.  Marlborough then put significant pressure on the Bristol defence, with wave after wave of attacks into their 25, resulting in a fine deflected touch from Catherine Manley on the left off Clare’s strike which would have otherwise have just gone wide.  

Marlborough then won two short corners in quick succession, Clare scoring off the first with a hard straight strike into the corner, then scoring again with a flick over the keeper into the net. 

Marlborough rounded off the match with another awesome deflection, this time on the right from Becky Hewlett, ending the game with a very satisfying 11-2 win.

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Hockey: Marlborough men gain valuable victory in struggle to escape league danger zone

Marlborough vs BridgendCaptain's goalCaptain's goal                   

Marlborough win 2-1

Desperate for some momentum leading up to the Christmas break and in dire need of some points Marlborough welcomed fellow strugglers Bridgend who were only one place and one point above them in the league table.

Marlborough started the game the brighter of the two sides with some excellent passing and positional play.  Their opponents were limited to hopeful smashes down the pitch in an attempt to break some of the pressure which only encouraged Marlborough further.

Looking at the chances created Marlborough should have been several goals for the better within the first 20 minutes but were denied by some excellent saves from the Bridgend goalkeeper and a slight lack of composure at the final moment.

A Marlborough attackA Marlborough attackMarlborough deservedly took the lead however, when Captain Rich Holman thundered in a shot from a short corner routine. It was 1-0 at half time.

The second half began in much the same way as the first.  Marlborough created chances and piled the pressure onto their opposite numbers.

The lead was soon doubled after a tremendous entry ball in to the ‘D’ from James Richardson found a deflection before burrowing into the top right hand corner of the net.

Looking in full control of the game Marlborough stayed strong until Bridgend scored a strange deflected goal. This made the last minute of the game somewhat more nervy than Marlborough would have expected.  

Nonetheless it was a gutsy performance and a vital win at a crucial point in the season. This success was embodied by defensive general Tom Palmer who picked up a well deserved man of the match award. 

 A near miss for Marlborough - or a good save?A near miss for Marlborough - or a good save?Escaping the defenceEscaping the defence

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Hockey: victory for Marlborough Ladies puts them two points clear at the top of their division

Lansdown vs Marlborough  

Marlborough win 3-0

Newly promoted to the North Division of the West Clubs Women’s Hockey league, Marlborough Ladies 1st team had a huge task ahead of them for last weekend's away game (November 16), against top of the league Lansdown from Cheltenham.

The pressure was on and Marlborough needed to raise their game and show their true resolve, or were Lansdown going to be a step too far?
The game plan came together for Marlborough with an early goal from Becky Hewlett, which unsettled Lansdown and gave Marlborough the confidence to get fully into the game.

Another goal by Becky Hewlett before half-time, boosted everyone's morale.

Skipper Becki Marnane said: “We knew that stepping our game up again was imperative to keeping our hard fought lead. Lansdown to date hadn't been a high scoring team, so we just needed to keep our heads and our composure".

The second half started with a new found momentum, Lansdown came out fighting to keep their top of the league position.

Marlborough however, were not going to give up the fight and a fantastic strike by Kate Batty in the last 5 minutes, sealed a very satisfying victory and ensured that Marlborough would end the weekend victorious and top of the league.

 You can find the full league table here.


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Hockey: after a good win, Marlborough men stay in the league relegation zone

Marlborough vs Bristol and West    

Marlborough win 5-1

(November 9) After a hugely frustrating start to the season during which they had put in some decent performances but without the desired results, Marlborough welcomed fellow relegation zone members Bristol and West.  The team knew this was an excellent opportunity to kick start their campaign.

From the opening push back Marlborough asserted themselves against their opposition and with the use of a new defensive press devised by defensive rock and player coach Matt Way, kept their opponents in their own half and under huge amounts of pressure.

The pressure soon told and after a somewhat fortuitous bounce, Marlborough striker Charley Hoarley pounced and slid a precise reverse stick shot into the bottom corner of the goal.

High on confidence and knowing their opponents were finding it difficult, Marlborough pressed on further and were soon rewarded with a second goal from the ever sprightly James Richardson.

The second half began with Marlborough 2-0 up and looking comfortable in all areas of the pitch.

After more sustained pressure, captain Rich Holman made it 3-0. A high deflected pass into the D looped over many defenders and Holman audaciously deflected the still airborne ball deftly in to the bottom right corner leaving the Bristol goalkeeper with no chance to save it.

Marlborough remained on the attack and were soon awarded a penalty stroke after an illegal goal line stop. This was despatched by Anil Sud making the score 4-0.

To their credit Bristol did not give up and were rewarded with a goal following a scrap close to the Marlborough goal. Marlborough made the score 5-1 after a reverse stick strike from Sud and closed out the contest in a confident manner.

Marlborough vs Swansea                Marlborough lose 5-0

(November 16) With their first league win of the season behind them, Marlborough made the trip down the M4 to Swansea with a positive attitude - ready to attempt another 3 point gain.

The game began in a very open manner with both sides making some errant passes but Marlborough enjoyed the better of the chances and were highly unlucky not to score on several occasions.

Swansea fought their way back in to the game and soon took control by scoring the opening goal from a short corner routine.  The rest of the half played out much like the beginning of the match with both sides enjoying some free flowing attacking moves.

The second half started with Swansea dominant in  their play, having rejigged their formation somewhat to best deploy some of their more attacking and skilful players.  

The lead was further extended after a lightning fast breakaway which Marlborough were unable to cope with.  The game further slipped away following the awarding of a penalty flick which was converted.

A special mention must be made to goalkeeper Brian Marnane for pulling off several spectacular saves to keep Marlborough hopes alive.

In desperation to regain some hold on the game Marlborough pressed as high as possible and once again created chances they were just not able to convert.  

The game was put beyond their reach after the awarding of another penalty stroke which was despatched ruthlessly in to the top right corner of the goal - simply unstoppable.  

Swansea made the score 5-0 in the final minute after another breakaway  to run out the deserved winners leaving Marlborough despondent but with the bonus of a lengthy trip home in the dark to hit the reset buttons.

The bottom of the twelve team Davis Wood Hockey League Conference North table now features Marlborough, Bridgend and Bristol & West – in that order.  Marlborough’s next fixture is their home game against Bridgend on Saturday, November 23. Vocal supporters needed.

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