After last week's win over West Wilts which saw the team clinch the second spot in the league, this final game of the season against the league winners Bournemouth was an opportunity for Marlborough to go out, relax and play some great hockey.
West Wilts 2 Marlborough 3
With four teams battling it out for second place in the East Division, Marlborough travelled to third-placed team West Wilts eager for three points that would cement their position as runners-up in the league.
Hockey: Marlborough men celebrate their league promotion with five-one victory over second place Bath Buccs
Marlborough 5 Bath Buccs C 1
Marlborough men's first team celebrated their promotion from the Central 1 Division of the GoCrea8 (Davis Wood) Hockey League with a resounding victory over their second placed rivals - Bath Buccs C. A great way to end the season - finishing fourteen points clear at the top of the table.
After disappointing performances over the last few weeks, there was a welcome to return to the high tempo that has seen Marlborough utterly dominate their league.
Marlborough started the game brightly, applying pressure to the Bath defence and looking to win the ball high up the pitch. They did exactly that and should have taken the lead when Matt Way intercepted a cross field ball and carried it into the circle, only to pull his shot wide of the target with the goal at his mercy.
Fortunately the lead wasn't long in coming when a flowing passing move down the left channel allowed Mark Kinder the space to fire the ball across the circle to a diving Will Hughes who got just enough on the shot to turn it home. What a goal to start the day!
Bath began to get more of the ball in dangerous areas of the pitch and pulled level shortly later through a well taken penalty stroke following the ball being judged to as hitting a Marlborough foot on its way into the goal.
Marlborough didn't let this break their momentum and duly retook the lead when Vice Captain Will Radnedge went on one of his trademark stick blocking runs through the inside left channel before rolling onto his strong side and firing the ball into the circle. It was met perfectly by Mark Kinder who adjusted his hands well to deflect the ball over the keeper and into the net.
Marlborough had made it 3 - 1 by half time following a well placed short corner from Captain Anil Sud.
The game continued to be a competitive one with Bath enjoying spells of possession, but struggling to turn it into any meaningful attacks. The Marlborough defensive line was once again showing its value to the team.
Marlborough extended the lead when Anil Sud won the ball in midfield. He played a well timed one-two with Matt Way before carrying the ball into the circle and finishing low on his backhand.
The icing was well and truly put on the cake when Will Radnedge - (likely) playing in his last game for Marlborough before heading off to some bleak northern town for Uni - carried the ball through numerous tackles, reaching the baseline before cutting back, driving across goal onto his strong side and finishing the ball into the top corner of the net.
A comfortable 5-1 win against Marlborough men first team's nearest rivals to finish fourteen points clear at the top really does tell the story of the season...
Marlborough News Online Man of the Match was awarded to Chris Jones for his superb defensive work all afternoon.
Wootton Bassett 3 Marlborough 4
With the league title already secured, Marlborough claimed their eighteenth win of the season despite a below par performance at Wootton Bassett.
Marlborough really struggled to make the adjustment to a hard sandy pitch, never really finding the rhythm in their link-up play that has been such a characteristic of the season so far.
Marlborough still started the game the brighter, racing into the lead after a spell of early pressure lead to a John Berry deflection at a short corner. Marlborough did not let their foot off the gas and extended their lead through two goals from Captain Anil Sud.
His first was a well placed shot across goal following a good first save by the Wootton Bassett keeper, and the second an absolute rocket on his backhand from the top of the D following a high turnover.
Despite the score line, Marlborough seemed a yard off their normal pace, making poor decisions and running the ball into contact far more than necessary.
Marlborough once again found themselves at a numerical disadvantage when Chris Jones received green card and then Rich Holman received yellow card following a last ditch play at the ball with the back of his stick.
This disadvantage coupled with Marlborough's poor performance, allowed Wootton Bassett right back into the game. They eventually drew level and missed a sure-fire opportunity to take the lead with five minutes to go.
With their backs well and truly against the wall Marlborough remained composed. Even when playing so poorly they had created several chances to extend their earlier lead - including a potential penalty stroke that was only given as a corner after Toby Sampson was bought down by their keeper.
Marlborough managed to get more of a foothold in the game and started to apply late pressure to the Wootton Bassett circle, eventually winning a short corner following Will Radnedge's strong carry and early shot which found a defenders foot.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man as Captain Anil Sud stepped up, demanding the ball. Sud picked his spot between the keeper and the back post defender, the ball thundering into the backboard to the relief of everyone wearing green.
Marlborough saw out the last couple of minutes with no fuss so adding another three points to their tally for the season. Credit must go to Wootton Bassett, who fought back bravely from 3-0 and will quite rightly feel unlucky not to have taken something from the game in their battle against relegation.
Marlborough News Online Man of the Match was awarded to the captain Anil Sud for a superbly taken hat-trick.
On Sunday (March 12) Marlborough men's first team played their second game of the weekend.
Marlborough once again started the game with lots of possession, the opposition looking to sit with lots of players behind the ball and then counter when the chances arrived.
Marlborough opened the scoring. Captain Anil Sud's pass found Ed Watson on the baseline, he played the ball across goal and it was finished by Toby Sampson.
Marlborough quickly extended their lead when Matt Way won the ball in his own half, drove to the left to create space to play a defence splitting pass to Alex Renwick on the edge of the circle. Alex rolled his man smartly and found himself one-on-one with the keeper, he dummied to his left to finish from a tight angle.
Marlborough's territorial dominance led to a number of short corners from which Rich Fynn extended the lead to three with a pin-point strike into the sideboard. Marlborough ended the first half with a three goal lead but back to back green cards for Ollie Davies and Chris Jones was just the tip of the iceberg...
The second half of the game was an incredibly frustrating one, with Marlborough controlling the game anytime they had their full complement of players on the pitch.
Unfortunately this totalled all of about 10 minutes as they found themselves under pressure from their own ill-discipline.
The cards continued with a further green card shown to Freddie Hazlitt before yellows for Will Radnedge, Ryan Noble and Toby Sampson. Fortunately Marlborough managed to retain enough of their composure to remain strong despite conceding two goals and a barrage of short corners.
Will Radnedge in particular managed the game well by breaking up the play and carrying the ball well into space.
Marlborough will have to learn from this game to prepare themselves for next season. Playing in a higher league, these sort of mistakes and mass cardings will get punished.
Marlborough News Online Man of the Match was awarded to Alex Renwick for his continuing development and in particular his calmness in front of goal.
Marlborough 5 Swanage & Wareham 1
Marlborough were all fired up to maintain their winning streak as they entertained Swanage and Wareham for the final home game of the season.
Marlnborough started strongly with making great passages of play - with streaming moves down both left and right sides of the pitch from Annabel Ashley, Sophie Fynn, Rachel Cox, Ness Pickford-Smith and linking passes to forwards Jess Pugh, Alex Crosby-Jones and Milly Dawson.
There were plenty of attempts on goal and a rush of short corners. Marlborough were unfortunate not to find the back of the net on a number of occasions and the opposition's goalkeeper was keeping them in the game.
Keeping the pressure high and executing their passes well, Marlborough finally got their first goal. A hard reverse shot from Jess Pugh, rebounded perfectly to Sophie Fynn's stick and with a clean finish it was 1-0 to Marlborough.
Defending Swanage & Wareham's breaks, the Marlborough defence were on top and reducing their passes into the D. Hard work from Beth Palfrey Tori Williams and Annabel Ashley out wide, and Anna Scott and Emily Carter-Davies transferring around the middle, allowed Marlborough to utilise the space.
With an unlucky bouncy ball into the D hitting one of the Marlboroughs' defenders foot, the opposition had their first short corner. They got a glimmer of hope, but with a cracking save from Vicky Moxham, and the follow up clearance, Marlborough were back on the attack.
At half time Marlborough were only 1-0 and the second half started hard - but a little bit rockily.
With great play from Rachel Cox in the middle linking to all players, Neve Beer, Ness Pickford-Smith, Lou Griffiths, Milly Dawson, and Sophie Fynn were putting lots pressure on the opposition defence.
Another strong strike from Jess Pugh and the defender stopping the ball on the line with their foot, Marlborough were awarded a penalty shot. The team had time to have a little chat and get their composure back. With a perfectly executed flick from Jess, the keeper had no chance, and it was 2-0 to Marlborough.
Taking advantage of the momentum, Marlborough were pushing hard and fast. There were cracking hits from Neve Beer and Ness Pickford-Smith across the D, but no sticks could finish them off. All the hard work finally paid off with a short corner that allowed Rachel Cox to score her first goal of the game, with a perfectly placed shot in the corner.
The opposition were not giving up just yet, with a few breaks and some fast players, meant the Marlborough defenders had some work to do. But with solid work from the back, Swanage & Wareham were finding it difficult to get into the D. When they did Vicky Moxham was ready and waiting to make sure nothing was getting in her goal.
With some great linking passes through the defence, midfield and forwards, another goal was looming. A whopping strike from Rachel Cox from the top of the D which no goal keeper could save, increased Marlborough's lead to 4-0.
There was excellent composure throughout the team. Marlborough were playing hockey their way and the opposition were none too happy .
Another Marlborough attack followed and Sophie Fynn slotted the ball home.
The game was not over just yet, with Swanage & Wareham still persistently looking for the break. They were awarded a short corner for their efforts. With a perfectly performed move and a good bending slap from the right slip, they scored their first goal of the game.
How did the supporters sum up the morning's work? "A really brilliant result for their last home game of the season."
A much-deserved Marlborough News Online Player of the Match went to Sophie Fynn, for her fast, skilful play throughout the game - and two excellent goals.
Marlborough ladies first team travel to Warminster next week to play West Wilts for a clash between the second and third teams in the league.
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