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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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Hockey: Marlborough lose at home to fellow league strugglers

Marlborough vs Yate                    Marlborough lose 2-0

Marlborough welcomed fellow league strugglers Yate from South Gloucestershire, looking to build on the previous week’s exhilarating cup victory against Bridgwater.  

Marlborough dominated the opening sequence of possessions making several inroads down both the left and right flanks but were unable to find that killer pass to open up their opposition.

Yate soon started exerting pressure of their own and with an impressive forward press kept Marlborough penned in defensive positions for prolonged periods of time.  

The pressure told mid-way through the first half as a quick breakaway move following an over commital by Marlborough on the attack, gave Yate the first gaol of the game.  

Their lead was soon doubled following a strange sequence of events which led to a soft goal from a virtually impossible angle. 

With half time approaching Marlborough tried their best to regain a foothold in the game, but Yate held firm to end the half 2-0 up.

Knowing the next 35 minutes could have a major impact on their season, Marlborough redoubled their efforts and dominated possession. However they were still lacking that incisive move to lead to any clear cut chances.  

Yate employed some clever tactics to stretch the game and knowing Marlborough needed to press higher and higher, simply waited for breakaway moves.

Marlborough’s pressure led to numerous short corners and shots from the top of the D which unfortunately for the home side were not converted into goals.

The game ended 2-0 giving Marlborough plenty of food for thought before next week’s trip to Leominster.

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Hockey: Marlborough ladies’ dozen goal tally – with a double hat-trick-plus-one for Clare Griffiths

Captain Marnane welcomes another goalCaptain Marnane welcomes another goalMarlborough Ladies 1st vs Westberries 2nd   

Marlborough win 12-1

Marlborough ladies took to their home pitch very keen to make up for points dropped last week and this was exactly what they did.  They were playing the second team from Bristol’s Westberries Ladies Hockey Club.

Marlborough started the game brightly, moving the ball around the field with speed, but lacking any real threat on goal in the first ten minutes. This however was soon to change when the forwards started to stretch in behind the opposition’s defence.

The combination of confident finishing and ruthless pressure meant that by half time Marlborough had scored six without reply.
The half time talk warned against complacency and demanded that the same intensity to be maintained.
It's in the net - againIt's in the net - again


In the second half the team duly obliged with three goals added within the first five minutes  -completely killing off the match as any sort of contest.

Marlborough maintained a thoroughly professional performance throughout the second half as they controlled possession and territory.

The only downside to the day was conceding a soft goal due to a drop in concentration, something we will have to be wary of against future teams.

The match ended in a fantastic 12-1 score line, with Clare Griffiths impressing in her career debut as a forward scoring seven goals in the process.

The pre-match huddleThe pre-match huddleHer tally was added to by Becki Marnane 2, Becky Hewlett 2 and Rosie Curling 1.

Keeping up the pressureKeeping up the pressure

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Hockey: Marlborough ladies’ lose for the first time this season

Marlborough Ladies' 1st XI vs Leominster  Marlborough lose 3-4

There comes a time in every newly promoted team’s career when they will be out witted by a quick scoring team.  On Saturday (October 19) the team travelled to Herefordshire to face Leominster Hockey Club.

The Leominster team was well organised and made the first break - resulting in an early goal. Marlborough found themselves on the back foot for the first time in a long string of wins.

It took some regrouping by Marlborough before the next goal was scored by Catherine Manley after a close scuffle in front of the keeper.

Leominster kept the pressure on and scored their second goal at the end of the first half.

Marlborough came out fighting in the second half, starting their reply with a goal scored by Clare Griffiths on a short corner and another shortly afterwards again by Catherine Manley, putting Marlborough ahead for the first time in the game.

Sadly, Leominster were too strong and the game ended in a 4-3 loss.

Marlborough are still in a strong position in the league (the North Division of the West Clubs Women’s Hockey League) and look forward to the return home game to settle the score.

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Hockey: a busy weekend as Marlborough men lose in the league but win in the national cup

Marlborough vs Newent            Marlborough lose 4-1

Still searching for their first league win of the season Marlborough travelled to fellow strugglers Newent in Gloucestershire on Sunday (October 19) knowing that a win would lift them above their opponents and back into mid table territory.  

The home side started brightly and Marlborough found themselves pressed back and needing to resort to long ball passes due to the structured pressure applied by Newent.

It wasn’t long before Marlborough got their rhythm and made several sharp attacking moves that really should have ended in goals- but no such luck.  

Newent opened the scoring after a sweetly struck reverse strike took a mean deflection past Marlborough goal keeper Will Hughes. 

Shortly after Newent were pressing again and only several smart stops from Hughes kept the deficit at 1-0 for the first half.

The second half played out in much the same way as the first half with both sides knowing that a decisive 10 minute period would most likely set the outcome of the game.  

Unfortunately for Marlborough Newent were the ones to press this home and soon doubled their lead with a short corner routine.  With time winding down Marlborough had to press higher up the pitch and found themselves 3-0 down after a quick Newent breakaway.  

The result was put beyond doubt after yet another counter attack leaving the score 4-0 with only a couple of minutes remaining.  

Marlborough picked up a consolation goal in the dying moments of the game when John Bromley swept home a well worked short corner routine to make the game 4-1 at the end.   

A disappointing result for Marlborough but with the first game of the national cup the following day there was no better time to try and bounce back………

Marlborough vs Bridgwater                   Marlborough win 5-2

Still sore from the loss the previous day Marlborough looked to their first round cup match against Bridgwater (Sunday, October 20) as a way of restoring their hopes and fortunes.

It became clear from the start of the game that this would yet again be a hard fought battle against a team of similar standard and ambitions.  

Marlborough were able to contain their opponents to great affect with some sterling defensive work and from this solid foundation were able to launch sustained attacks on Bridgwater’s  D.  

Marlborough were awarded a penalty stroke after a deliberate foot on the line from a Bridgwater defender which was duly despatched by Anil Sud.  The lead did not last for long however after a quick move by Bridgwater led to an easy tap in at the far post to make it 1-1 at half time.

The second half began with Marlborough playing some of their best hockey of the season to date.  

Crisp, fast and accurate passing with excellent control and a willingness to work off the ball which Bridgwater simply could not cope with.  Marlborough restored their lead when John Bromley smashed home a rebound from a short corner under extreme duress from several defenders.

Marlborough were now in full flight and Bridgwater were unable to cope, the frustration highlighted by one of their number receiving a red card following several repeats of the same misdemeanour followed by an outburst at the referee.  

The game was there for taking and Marlborough did not let up with the third goal scored shortly after.  

After some mazy dribbling and excellent positional play within the D captain Rich Holman produced what can only be described as a once in a lifetime moment of pure hockey genius.  

Seeing the goalkeeper barely off his line but advancing to close down his shooting angle, Holman changed his approach mid shot and calmly lobbed the keeper from the reverse stick side.  Simply stupendous!

The relentless waves of Marlborough attacks continued and they were awarded another penalty stroke following a professional foul to deny an open goal chance.  Sud once again scored to make it 4-1.

To their credit Bridgwater tried as hard as they could under such pressure and managed to pick up a second goal following a goal mouth melee. The result was finally put to bed when Sud combined with Gareth Playfair for an easy tap in leaving the result at the final whistle 5-2.  

A thoroughly deserved win for Marlborough after an excellent performance - just the kick start they needed with an important few weeks of fixtures coming up.

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Hockey: Marlborough men finish 1-3 down to Firebrands A at home

Note the new kit...Note the new kit...Marlborough vs Firebrands A            Firebrands A win 3-1

After two draws to start the season Marlborough welcomed Firebrands A from Bristol for the first home league game on the newly laid College pitch.  The feeling within the Marlborough camp was one of optimism and determination knowing full well that Brands would provide the sternest test to date.

Marlborough started the brighter of the two sides with some precision passes and fantastic leading runs being made by the defence and forwards respectively.  

However, completely against the run of play, Brands took the lead which left the throngs of Marlborough supporters stunned to silence.  

Fearing the worst their encouraging shouts lifted Marlborough’s spirits and within only a couple of minutes the scores were level.  A pinpoint pass from midfield maestro Dan Crossman found Charley Horley whose lighting fast turn left the Brands centre back floundering. He followed up with a precision reverse stick strike under the onrushing keeper.

The second half began with both sides looking dangerous as they attacked, but Brands just seemed to have the edge in almost all areas of the pitch.

Mid-way through the half they deservedly took the lead surprisingly in a somewhat fortuitous fashion.  After a ‘hit-and-hope’ ball into the D took a wicked deflection and ended up in the back of the net – the source of this touch remains unknown.

Knowing they were running out of time Marlborough pressed as much as they could and were mere inches away from setting up several goal scoring chances.  

Unfortunately for the home side the game was put beyond their reach five minutes before full time when a breakaway Brands move resulted in their third goal of the game despite the best efforts of Marlborough keeper Brian Marnane.

The game ended 3-1 with Marlborough desperately disappointed but knowing a lesson had been learned as to the levels needed to compete in the league.MARLBOROUGH HOCKEY CLUB - MEN'S 1ST TEAM: Back row l to r: John Bromley, Tom Palmer, Matt Way, Will Hughes, Brian Marnane, Charlie Hawley, Anil Sud, Chris Jones. Front row: John Duffy, Charlie Down, Richard Holman, James Richardson, Dan Crossman.MARLBOROUGH HOCKEY CLUB - MEN'S 1ST TEAM: Back row l to r: John Bromley, Tom Palmer, Matt Way, Will Hughes, Brian Marnane, Charlie Hawley, Anil Sud, Chris Jones. Front row: John Duffy, Charlie Down, Richard Holman, James Richardson, Dan Crossman.

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