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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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Hockey: another double-figure goal tally as Marlborough ladies wipe-out Bristol’s BAC team

Marlborough Ladies 1st XI v BAC 1st XI 

Marlborough won 11-3
Marlborough ladies added another impressive home win this week, beating BAC 11-3.

Marlborough quickly took the lead scoring 3 goals in the first 10 minutes. The forwards were clinical in front of goal, converting every opportunity in the D.

By half time a slightly stunned BAC were 6-0 down.

Marlborough continued to apply the pressure in the second half scoring a further five goals.

BAC finally found their mojo in the last 15 minutes and started to stretch the Marlborough defence.  

The BAC forwards battled hard and scored 3 well-earned goals.

Nothing, however, could take away Marlborough's joy at scoring 11 goals.  Kate Batty scored an impressive five goals and Rosie Curling got a hat-trick.

Marlborough must now concentrate on next Saturday's away game: a top of the table clash against Lansdown (Cheltenham) who drew their last match.  Whoever wins on November 16 will be top of the league.

Scorers: Kate Batty 5
              Rosie Curling 3
              Clare Griffiths 1
              Catherine Manley 1
              Alex Crosby Jones 1

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Hockey: Marlborough – and their captain – crash to earth with a defeat at Leominster

Marlborough vs Leominster        

Marlborough lose 4-1

Looking to galvanise their season, Marlborough went to Leominster having decided on several tactical changes.

Arriving at Leominster it appeared the game might not be able to start on time because of an earlier rain storm - highlighted by several staff members from the adjoining leisure centre sweeping surface water off the pitch.  

Bizarrely the game was called forward as there were fears further rain would mean a complete cancellation.  After a somewhat hurried warm-up both sides took to the pitch.  

Marlborough started fantastically well and were putting the home side under immense pressure with slick passing and sharp, incisive forays forward.  

With this standard of play, Marlborough deservedly took the lead after Anil Sud found the bottom corner following a short corner routine.  The half ended 1-0 with Marlborough dominant and looking confident of their first league win of the season.

From the start of the second half it was clear Leominster had re-formulated their game plan.  They  pressed incredibly hard when Marlborough had the ball. 

This led to Marlborough’s play becoming disjointed and frenetic – in turn rewarding their opponents with sustained periods of pressure.  

The balance of the game turned when captain and main-stay striker Richard Holman chased down a pass and dived to keep the ball in play.  The resulting collision between man and earth left only one winner with Holman, bruised and bloodied, having to leave the pitch for paramedic attention.

From this point forward Leominster simply ran riot in all areas of the pitch and within the space of a few minutes found themselves not only level but ahead by two goals to one.  

Marlborough were unable to launch any meaningful attacks of their own and after conceding a goal from a short corner  and another later on in the game the result was sealed as a 4-1 win for Leominster.  Marlborough went home with plenty to reflect and work during the coming week.

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