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Hockey: Marlborough men’s unbeaten run continues earning more valuable points

Marlborough 1  Leominster 1                        

After an encouraging unbeaten run of three games, allowing Marlborough to pick up some much needed points in their bid to avoid relegation, third placed Leominster made the trip south (February 22) knowing they would be in for a tough game.  

The previous affair between the two sides had been a strange game as Marlborough had dominated the majority of the game before capitulating and allowing Leominster to claim an easy victory.  

Marlborough started this game the more positive of the two sides, playing with a fluidity and purpose that their opponents could not match.  And Marlborough were unlucky not to take the lead following several dangerous attacking moves.  

Once again the Marlborough press worked wonders against the opposition as Leominster were reduced to speculative long ball tactics in order to break the mounting pressure.  However, the first half ended 0-0.

It was clear the second half of the game could well have a huge impact on the rest of the home team’s season and  Marlborough once again started positively.  

To counteract this Leominster pressed higher themselves, allowing the Marlborough defence and midfield less time to enjoy possession of the ball.  

Several near miss chances for both sides followed with the tension and pressure of the situation obvious to both the players and spectators.  

Disaster struck for the home side with roughly 15 minutes to go when an incorrectly awarded short corner was thundered home by the Leominster striker.  

Rather than hang their heads in disappointment, Marlborough switched their formation putting four people upfront.

This tactical change allowed Marlborough to heap further pressure on the visitors and finally they were rewarded for their efforts when John Duffy’s mazy run and cross found Marlborough captain Rich Holman at the far post for a calm finish.  

With only two minutes left in the game both sides were unable to conjure any further chances and the game ended at a well deserved 1-1.

The TH White man of the match was coach, defender, centre forward and tactical wizard Matt Way after a truly inspirational performance.   

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Hockey: men’s first team gain a valuable away draw at Yate

Marlborough 2  Yate 2      

 After last week's crucial win which kept Marlborough within touching distance of league safety, Marlborough made the short trip to Yate looking for further gains.  

The season’s previous contest between the two sides had ended with a 2-0 victory for Yate, but Marlborough knew that this was a game there for the taking.

As expected the opening few minutes were a tight affair with both sides allowing the other to play a free flowing form of hockey which really set the tone for the rest of the game.  

Swift, attacking play allowed both sets of players to express themselves, but both sides’ defences always seemed to be in the right place at the right time at the final moment.

The deadlock was broken when Yate were awarded a short corner and following the initial shot which Marlborough were unable to clear fully, one of the Yate forwards finished from a tight angle.  
Undeterred at conceding the opening goal Marlborough pressed forward and started squeezing the opposition for possession and were unlucky not to convert several excellent chances.  

With just a few minutes to go before half time Marlborough levelled the score after some intricate forward play and pinpoint perfect passing allowed striker and player-coach Matt Way to finish at the back post.  And it stayed  1-1 till the interval.

Marlborough dominated the second half in possession, but were unable to capitalise on their pressure. And yet again they found themselves behind after a mix up in the D allowed Yate to pounce and finish sharply.  

Having been in this position many times during the season, Marlborough drew on all of their collective experience and continued to play a patient and tactful game.  

Their persistence was rewarded when some ten minutes before full time veteran defender and drag flick specialist Chris Jones scored from a short corner routine.    

The final result stood at 2-2 following a tough, physical battle.  

Marlborough’s spirit was personified by the TH White man of the match Will Langton following a measured and strong performance in his second start for the first team.

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Hockey: Marlborough men chalk up a much-need victory

Marlborough 3    Newent  2     

Coming off the back of a good draw against Firebrands the previous week, Marlborough went in to the return fixture (February 8) against Newent knowing that they were in good form.

It was reported there was a different atmosphere to the Marlborough warm up - one of calm and togetherness which was immediately transferred to the pitch as the home side dominated the opening minutes.  

This domination resulted in a penalty flick which was nervelessly dispatched by Anil Sud.  Such an early lead!

Newent were all at sea and with Marlborough’s press stifling their playmakers, their only way to relieve pressure was to throw hopeful aerial passes which Marlborough’s defence were able to deal with.  

The pressure soon told on the visitors and they found themselves 2-0 down after Sud struck again after a well worked short corner routine.  

Newent fought back and Marlborough goalkeeper Brian Marnane made several unbelievably agile saves to keep the home side’s advantage.

The second half began with Marlborough still dominating the game in terms of chances and possession, so Newent were forced to change their line of attack.  

This change in formation led to them clawing a goal back despite yet another superb set of saves from Marnane in the Marlborough goal.  

Marlborough continued to play with poise, patience and purpose and soon had the score line gap at two following another short corner which was tucked home from a  tight angle by left midfielder John Bromley.

With a mere three minutes to go Marlborough looked set to ride out the game in comfort, but Newent had other ideas. They grabbed a late goal themselves to make for an interesting final minute.

Marlborough held on for a much needed and well deserved victory to keep themselves in within touching distance of escaping the relegation zone.  They have fixtures with several fellow strugglers in the next few weeks.   

The TH White man of the match was goalkeeper Brian Marnane.

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Hockey: a nine goal victory keeps Marlborough Ladies top of their league

Back row l to r: Helen Durrans, Rosie Curling, Rachel Cox, Becki Marnane , Clare Griffiths, Emma Playfair, Becki Hewlett.  Front row l to r: Alex Crosby Jones , Helen Lord, Vicky Moxham, Kate Batty, Anna Scott. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)Back row l to r: Helen Durrans, Rosie Curling, Rachel Cox, Becki Marnane , Clare Griffiths, Emma Playfair, Becki Hewlett. Front row l to r: Alex Crosby Jones , Helen Lord, Vicky Moxham, Kate Batty, Anna Scott. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)Marlborough Ladies 9   Leominster Ladies  0

Marlborough Ladies definitely had a point to prove in their rematch against visitors Leominster from Herefordshire (February 8). They had defeated Marlborough earlier in the season - the only team to win against the home side all season.  

Immediately the whistle blew to start the game, Marlborough were switched on and ready to play.

There was great pressure and almost straight from the start Leominster were struggling to withstand the Marlborough attack.

A couple minutes into the half, Alex Crosby Jones scored the first goal for Marlborough, this was quickly followed up by her second goal of the match.  

A barrage of goals was slipped past the Leominster goal keeper by some incredible passages of play by Marlborough from all over the pitch, starting with the defence to the midfields and up to the forward line.

When the whistle blew ending the first half, Marlborough had scored six cracking goals: Kate Batty, Becki Marnane, Becky Hewlett and Rosie Curling adding to Alex Crosby Jones’ earlier two goals.

Although Marlborough had a big lead, Leominster did make a couple of dangerous breaks and had a few short corners, but unfortunately for them, the home side’s defence held well and no goals were conceded.

Shortly after the second half had started, Rosie Curling let loose a cracking shot that went flying into the net. Leominster mounted a couple of dangerous attacks but were unable to achieve any goals.
With confidence high Marlborough continued to impose their dominance on the game.  Clare Griffiths converted a well-placed ball from a short corner past the goal keeper and within the final minutes Captain Becki Marnane sealed Leominster’s fate .

The final score was 9-0.  Marlborough are still secure at the top of their league table – seven points ahead of Lansdown who also won on Saturday.

The TH White player of the match from last week was Alex Crosby Jones.

 

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Hockey: Marlborough men’s first team cheered with an away draw

Firebrands A  1 Marlborough 1                          

Following two disappointing losses Marlborough made the short trip down to Bristol (February 1) to do battle with Firebrands A.  

Conditions before the start of the game did not seem to be to either side’s taste with the rain and wind chill factor making for quite an unpleasant warm up.

After a rousing team talk from Captain Rich Holman, Marlborough started brilliantly dominating possession and simply outplaying their opponents in all facets of the game.

The gulf between the league positions of the two sides was forgotten with Marlborough penning Firebrands within their own half with excellent execution of their defensive press and almost turning the ball over at will.

Marlborough’s reward came shortly before the end of the first half following some intricate play around the top of the D with the finish supplied by Anil Sud.  1-0 to the visitors at half time- and looking good for a win?

Firebrands made some noticeable changes in the second half and put Marlborough under severe pressure.  Soon however the game changed once more as both sides started to find plenty of space to work in.

Mid-way through the second half Marlborough were left shaken after a controversial umpiring decision allowed Firebrands to sneak in for the equaliser.  

Once again in the familiar position of having been pegged back, Marlborough responded with positive, confident play which was a joy to behold.  

Chances were created but with no finishing touches the game ended with the score line at 1-1.  The team considered it a brilliant away performance, full of pride and positive play which will give them great confidence in their bid for survival in the league.   

As one member of the team said: “A more than well-deserved draw! Win to follow shortly.”

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Hockey: Marlborough ladies now seven points clear at top of league table

Jasper’s 1   Marlborough 3

This was a top of the table clash (February 1) for Marlborough and they were determined to keep their winning run.  It was going to be a tough game away at Jaspers and Marlborough had to come out fighting.

Jasper's were an imposing force and came out with the same determination to win.

It took Marlborough until the thirtieth minute to score their first goal, with great dynamic play from Helen Durrans in defence through to the high forward Alex Crosby-Jones resulting in a deftly timed goal.

After half time it was one hundred per cent effort or nothing. Marlborough midfielders worked hard and managed again to pick Alex Crosby-Jones out on the top of the D and she slipped the ball nicely through the keeper’s legs, putting Marlborough 2-0 up.

Shortly after that goal Jasper's had a well worked short corner, deflecting the ball off one of the Marlborough defence’s stick and in to the back of the net.

Marlborough were determined to keep their winning streak, so through disciplined, composed and dynamic team work, Marlborough were effective playing under continued pressure from Jaspers.

This resulted in a final short corner for Marlborough, which was cleanly put away by Alex Crosby-Jones – giving her a hat trick.

The final score line of 3-1 to Marlborough earned them a seven point lead at the top of the league table.

Last week’s TH White player of the match was Clare Griffiths.

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