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Hockey: Marlborough lose first post-Christmas game to Cardiff Metropolitan University

Marlborough vs Cardiff UWIC*            Marlborough lose 2-0

After the long Christmas break Marlborough welcomed second placed Cardiff for the first game of the New Year in what was sure to be a tough test of fitness and commitment.

Cardiff started very brightly and were soon causing Marlborough problems down both flanks with high quality dribbles and precise passing. 

This pressure led to several short corners being conceded by the home side within the first ten minutes.  Fortunately for Marlborough they held firm aided immensely by several high quality saves from goalkeeper Brian Marnane.   

After weathering the initial Cardiff onslaught Marlborough made several inroads into the game with some fast counter attacks and well timed forward runs.  With the game being evenly contested Marlborough suddenly found themselves down to ten men for a contentious sin bin offence.  

This allowed Cardiff to assume the ascendancy once more, but with some astute tactical changes Marlborough were able to hold the score line at 0-0 until parity of numbers was restored.  Ironically only a few minutes later a lapse in concentration allowed Cardiff to burst forward and score from close range - the only goal of the first half.

The second half began with Cardiff pressing higher up the field when Marlborough had the ball and allowing the defence and midfield no time or space to operate.  To their credit Marlborough were able to weave some intricate passes through the Cardiff net and almost broke free several times.  

Mid-way through the second half Cardiff scored a second goal with Marlborough once again just switching off for a split second which was ruthlessly pounced on by the visitors.  Marlborough sought for a goal of their own towards the end of the game but were unable to convert several short corner routines.

The game ended 2-0 with Marlborough goalkeeper Brian Marnane a deserved Man of the Match.  Skipper Richard Holman voiced his pride at the levels of application and effort displayed by his team in the first game back against a very strong Cardiff side.

A fair result for both sides after a hard fought game which was decided in two moments of extra quality from Cardiff.

[*The University of Wales Institute Cardiff is now known as Cardiff Metropolitan University.]

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Hockey: Spirited Marlborough lose 2-5 to Robinsons

Marlborough vs Robinsons A            Marlborough lose 2-5

With the season fifty per cent complete, Marlborough travelled to Bristol to face Robinsons in the return leg of the opening fixture of the 2012-13 season.  The first meeting between the two sides had been an attacking, exciting game in which Robinsons had edged home seven goals to four.

The game began with Marlborough looking the brighter of the two sides, showing a confidence and calmness controlling the game through some excellent ball retention.   Their bright start was rewarded after some intricate passing and sharp work down the right hand side led to Anil Sud scoring with a quick-fire shot on the angle. 

The opening goal led to Robinsons changing their tactics as they had not been able to pass their way through Marlborough’s midfield.  They levelled after a slight lapse in Marlborough concentration and soon took the lead after a crash ball deflection.

With such a quick turn around in the score line Marlborough rededicated themselves to the game and were soon making inroads themselves but without the final touch necessary to score. 

Just before the half time break Robinsons increased their lead to 3-1 after another crash ball made its way to an unmarked striker for an easy tap in.

The second half could not have started any worse for Marlborough as within a minute the score was 4-1 after another Robinsons deflection.  The game then ebbed and flowed with both sides pressing for goals and Marlborough’s endeavour was rewarded when Sud struck again from the top of the ‘d’ to bring some hope of a result back.

Unfortunately thoughts of a Marlborough comeback were stopped after Robinsons scored from an incorrectly awarded short corner towards the end of the second half. 

The game ended 5-2 but with Marlborough captain Rich Holman proud of his young side's brave, spirited performance.

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Hockey: Marlborough go down 1-9 to university team

Marlborough vs Bristol UWE            Bristol win 9-1

After the disappointment of a cancelled game and training session the previous week due to the weather, Marlborough made the short trip to Bristol UWE (University of the West of England.) This team had secured second place in the league table after a string of impressive victories.

The game began with Bristol UWE setting the tone with quick ball movement from their defence and midfield in an attempt to suss out Marlborough game plan and strategy.  The home side took the lead scoring from a close range shot following a frantic scramble by Marlborough’s goal mouth.  

Bristol UWE then doubled their advantage following a short corner routine which Marlborough were unable to clear.  With their lead established Bristol UWE visibly relaxed and Marlborough used this to their advantage by stringing together several attacking moves of their own until the end of the first half.

The second half began with Bristol UWE once again taking the initiative scoring quickly after the start from a short corner before cashing in again with a reverse stick strike.  At 4-0 down Marlborough could have let their heads drop but to their credit they harried their opponents in all areas of the pitch and were rewarded when captain Rich Holman scored with a strike from the top of the area.  

Sensing a potential Marlborough come back Bristol UWE stepped up their game again and scored another three quick goals to put to rest any doubts about the final result.  Despite their best efforts Marlborough were unable to score any more goals and in the dying minutes suffered further anguish as the home team scored twice more.  

The game ended 9-1 with Bristol UWE clinching top spot in the league following the day’s other results.

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Hockey: Marlborough lose to West Wilts at Warminster by four goals

West Wilts vs Marlborough            Marlborough lose 6-2

Looking to get back on track after the previous week’s loss, Marlborough travelled to Warminster to face off against West Wilts.  Both teams were sitting towards the bottom of the league table with the winner of the game likely to be out of the relegation zone come the end of the day.

The game started brightly for Marlborough as they played the ball around with purpose and nullified Wilts’ attacking play down the middle of the pitch.  Marlborough were unlucky to find themselves one-nil down after a slight lapse in concentration allowed West Wilts to bag the opening goal following a close range shot in to the left hand corner.

The game continued with Marlborough breaking quickly down both flanks in an attempt to respond.  One such attack down the left led to captain Rich Holman squaring the ball to the unmarked John Bromley who powered his shot past the helpless goalkeeper into the bottom corner.  

Back on level terms Marlborough pressed further up the pitch leaving gaps which Wilts were soon to exploit with two lighting fast counter attacks finished by almost identical reverse stick strikes - putting the home side 3-1 up.  

With minutes to go before half time Marlborough pulled a goal back through their skipper following a short corner routine. Marlborough were very unlucky not to be awarded a penalty flick following some questionable use of feet near the goal line. West Wilts were 3-2 up at half time.

The second half began with Wilts showing their dominance and excellence in possession which frustrated Marlborough in their bid to get back in to the game.  Marlborough found themselves with further arrears after Wilts scored again after a drag flick short corner routine and another with a quick break away after suckering Marlborough high up the pitch.

Marlborough pressed as hard as they could but were chasing the ball for large parts of the second half due to Wilts’ well devised tactics and execution.  The final goal of the game was scored by Wilts with only a couple of minutes to go making the final score 6-2 at the end of the game.

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Hockey: goals galore as Marlborough lose at home to Gloucester

Marlborough vs Gloucester City                Marlborough lose 8-5

After back to back wins had galvanised their season, Marlborough welcomed Gloucester who were one place above them in the current league standings and out of the relegation zone.  The game began at breakneck speed with both sides having chances to score within the first couple of minutes, a clear omen for what was to come.

Marlborough opened the scoring after a Chris Jones drag flick found the net following a short corner routine.  With the lead established Marlborough looked to settle the game down but Gloucester had other ideas.

They equalised barely a minute later and then scoring a further two quick fire goals to lead 3-1 with the game only ten minutes old.  The frenetic nature of the game did not stop there as Marlborough pulled a goal back after some sharp play down the right wing by Matt Ashton which led to striker Will Hughes finishing from close range.

The scoreline 3-2 became 4-2 as another lightning fast Gloucester break away restored their two goal advantage.  Not to be discouraged, Marlborough hit back with a goal of their own via skipper Richard Holman and shortly after levelled the playing field with Matt Osbourne finishing a flowing move once again created down the right hand side.   

The first half ended 4-4 with several players on both sides somewhat bewildered at the number of goals and the frantic action.

The second half started at a much slower pace with both teams happier to let the ball do the work with quick, snappy passing mainly in the midfield areas.  With little happening in the first fifteen minutes of the second half, a slight lapse in concentration by Marlborough allowed Gloucester to re-take the lead at 5-4.

Desperate for their earlier efforts not to be in vain Marlborough reasserted themselves and were soon piling forward in numbers which led to a penalty flick being awarded in their favour which was despatched by Anil Sud.  

With the game once again level one could have been forgiven for thinking that with ten minutes left to play, the scoring might have been finished for the day. However the Gloucester forwards again broke free and with two more goals left Marlborough in dire straits with little time remaining.  

Marlborough pressed as hard as they could but were unable to convert any further chances before Gloucester closed out the game with their eighth goal leaving the final score 8-5.

A bizarre, frenetic game with both sides wondering what on earth is in store for the return fixture after Christmas.

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Hockey: Marlborough first team’s convincing win over important league rivals

Marlborough vs Bath Buccs B                Marlborough win 4-2

After their recent improved results and off the back of the previous week’s  first win of the season, Marlborough went in to their game against Bath Buccs B believing they had a good chance of securing all three points.  

Level on points with the visitors, Marlborough knew that this and the return fixture later in the season could prove vital in their bid to stay in the league.

The game started with Bath Buccs entirely dominant and Marlborough were very fortunate not to find themselves one or perhaps two goals down after the first ten minutes.  Marlborough struggled to string together any meaningful periods of possession and Bath deservedly took the lead after a short corner routine.  

Shortly afterwards Bath were fairly awarded a penalty stroke after a Marlborough foot on the line denied a clear goal.  Bath converted the stroke leaving several Marlborough players wondering if they were in for an extremely difficult day.

Fortunately the 2-0 deficit seemed to galvanise the team and soon Marlborough were creating chances of their own with quick breakaways after breakdown in Bath play.  

Right on the stroke of half-time Matt Osbourne finished off a flowing move through the midfield and attacked with a slap shot which found the far left corner.  A perfect end to the half for Marlborough.

The second half began quite differently to the first - with Marlborough enjoying a lot of possession and with creative play exhibited by both sides.  Mid-way through the second half attacking midfielder Will Seward found himself unmarked several yards out from goal and took his opportunity to level the scores by powering  a shot between the Bath goalkeepers legs.  

With the game finely in the balance Marlborough had several ‘heart in mouth’ moments with Bath unlucky not to retake the lead after some lightning fast attacks.

The game finally swung fully in Marlborough’s favour when Seward scored his second after some brilliant instant control and a precise reverse stick strike that left the Bath goalkeeper helpless once more.  

With six minutes to go Bath pressed their players higher, desperate to equalise having held the lead earlier in the game, but Marlborough seemed to be holding firm with some composed play through the defence and midfield.

The result was finally put beyond any reasonable doubt when newly acquired right back James Richardson scored his first goal for Marlborough with a thunderous undercut strike in to the top left corner after further great set up play by man of the match Seward.  

The game ended 4-2 with Marlborough deserved winners after showing determination, doggedness and zeal  - after a somewhat hesitant start.

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