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Hockey: top of the league Marlborough Ladies win with a cool dozen goals

Marlborough Ladies 12    Blockley Ladies 2

Marlborough Ladies 1st XI continued their pre-Christmas form with a 12-2 victory at home (January 25) over Blockley to remain at the top of their league.

A tight first half, in which the Marlborough defence did well to deal with some cracking through-balls up to the Blockley forwards, meant the home side went into the half-time break 4-2 up.

However, in the second half Marlborough settled into their game and hat-tricks flowed from Captain Becki Marnane, Alex Crosby-Jones and goal-scoring machine Kate Batty.

Clare Griffiths was, as ever, the critical pivot through the middle and Helen 'Scoobie' Durrans the stalwart of defence.

Another Marlborough goalAnother Marlborough goalThis goal tally was the highest in the West Clubs Women’s Hockey League weekly results table.

The team now look forward to their 'top of the table' clash away against Jaspers next weekend.  
TH White’s player of the match last week was Rosie Curling.

Half time talk before their 8 goal spreeHalf time talk before their 8 goal spree

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Hockey: Marlborough ladies’ victory cements their place as league leaders

Wootton Bassett 2   Marlborough  5

Marlborough’s first team had to come to Wootton Bassett (Saturday, January 18) to defend their well fought top of the table position.

Wootton Bassett Hockey Club’s first team were not going to make this easy and from the off, they came out fighting.  

Marlborough had numerous chances to score from open play and short corners, but Wootton Bassett’s defence and their outstanding goal keeper kept their visitors at bay for much of the first half.

It was left to Rosie Curling to break the deadlock.  She managed to slip the ball deftly into the goal to give Marlborough a much deserved lead.  This seemed to settle the team and two more goals by Catherine Manley and Rebecca Hewlett were quickly put away to end the first half 0-3.

Wootton Bassett were not about to give up without a fight. And shortly into the second half they scored from a tussle in the D.

Marlborough replied without hesitation, from a well worked pattern of play, with Alex Crosby Jones making the score line 1-4.  

Well into the second half, unfortunately for goal keeper Vicky Moxham, a penalty flick was awarded to Wootton Bassett and they neatly placed the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal.  

Fired up by this, within the last few minutes of play Marlborough again worked a fantastic attacking movement, with Rosie Curling again placing the ball beautifully into Wootton Bassett’s goal.
The week’s TH White Player of the Match award went to Marlborough goal keeper Vicky Moxham.

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Hockey: a resounding win for Bath Buccs leaves Marlborough in dire need of points

Marlborough vs Bath Buccs B                        Marlborough lose 2-5

Marlborough a little outnumberedMarlborough a little outnumberedIn the first game back following Christmas and the New Year Marlborough welcomed Bath Buccs B with the two teams having fought out a scoreless draw on the first game of the season.  Both teams were in need of points to counter any relegation fears, so effort levels and commitment were surely going to be running high.

Known properly as Team Bath Buccaneers, the club is the largest in the south-west.  It grew out of the Bath Civil Service Hockey Club with strong connections to Bath’s onetime Admiralty departments, and has merged with the University of Bath Hockey Club.  It fields eight men’s teams – the first team play in the English Hockey League – and five ladies teams.

On Saturday (January 18) Bath started the game very strongly with excellent ball pace, decisive passing and close control. The visitors soon had Marlborough on the back foot.

Captain's ballCaptain's ballSlowly but surely Marlborough dug their heels in and had several swift attacking moves of their own which almost led to them taking the lead.  

Unfortunately it was Bath after some opportunistic forward play who capitalised to score the highly important first goal of the match.  

A second was soon added leaving Marlborough reeling two goals down at half time.

The second half began with Buccs pressing ever higher and they soon took an even tighter grip on game with another two goals leaving Marlborough with a 4-0 deficit to overcome.   

To their great credit Marlborough continued to fight and were rewarded when skipper Rich Holman smashed home from a short corner routine.  

Marlborough's last minute goalMarlborough's last minute goalThis galvanised Buccs once more and they scored their fifth goal following some confusion in the Marlborough ranks.  

Player coach Matt Way provided a lift for the home side with a delicate deflection late on to leave the score 5-2 at the end.  

Now in the relegation zone following this loss against a close rival, Marlborough enter the crucial make or break part of their season.An open goal at the Marlborough end?An open goal at the Marlborough end?

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Hockey: Marlborough men end the first half of the season with a 1-4 defeat

Marlborough vs West Wilts                    

Marlborough lose 1-4

In the final game before the Christmas mid-season break Marlborough welcomed second placed West Wilts – a long established club based in Warminster – to renew their yearly rivalry.  But the Marlborough team was well aware that the two sides had been enjoying very different seasons.

Having played well the previous week against top of the league City of Bath, Marlborough once again faced a successful team, knowing the game would be an open affair.  

West Wilts started the more dominant of the two sides and their slick ball movement at high tempo caused Marlborough some problems.  In response Marlborough slightly adjusted their press and were successful in nullifying the threat Wilts posed.  

In search of another route to the lead West Wilts made several changes of their own and soon took the lead after a mazy run and sharp strike into the top right hand corner of the goal.

With half time approaching, Marlborough desperately tried to get back into the game and after some intricate build up play were awarded a short corner.  The resulting picture perfect play designed by player-coach Matt Way resulted in the equaliser for Marlborough - with Way himself blasting the ball in from a tight angle.

The second half began with West Wilts once again reasserting themselves and they soon began to dominate proceedings.  Brian Marnane was kept busy in goal and denied Wilts several chances to regain the lead.  

Unfortunately Marlborough could not hold West Wilts at bay and two quick goals put the home side in deep trouble.
Marlborough tried their best but found the opposition had just that bit of extra quality and West Wilts finished the job in style with a reverse stick strike from the top of the D making the final score 4-1.  

Newcomer Simon Slabbert earned his first and well deserved, ‘TH White Man of the Match’ award for some excellent defensive work under constant pressure.

Let’s hope everyone stays fit over the Christmas period for a tough looking second half of the season.

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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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