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Hockey: they're top of the league, but Marlborough men made heavy weather of this victory

Anil Sud - Captain & Man of the MatchAnil Sud - Captain & Man of the MatchWootton 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.

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Hockey: Marlborough men earn three points - despite a wad of cards both yellow and green

Marlborough     3     Robinson B   2

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.

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Hockey: five goals from Marlborough ladies delight the team’s home supporters

Rachel Cox makes a run towards goalRachel Cox makes a run towards goalMarlborough       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.

That's a goal for MarlboroughThat's a goal for Marlborough  ...and that's another...and that's another

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.

Jess Pugh takes the penalty shot...with a fine flickJess Pugh takes the penalty shot...with a fine flick  ...job done...job done

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 .

Swanage and Wareham's short corner goalSwanage and Wareham's short corner goalAnother 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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Hockey: Marlborough ladies' four-nil victory takes them to second in league table

Team Bath Buccaneers III     0        Marlborough       4    


After last week's resounding victory over Wimborne which saw the team rise to third in the league, Marlborough were positive from the off, applying pressure to Bath Buccs’ push back and turning the ball over before they could gain purchase on the game.

From then on, Marlborough created a sustained period of pressure on the Buccs’ defence, moving the ball with increasing confidence and making probing runs into the D.

A driving run from Vanessa Pickford-Smith down the right opened up a channel into the D through which she threaded a well weighted pass to Catherine Manley who was able to slot the ball past the keeper.

As play restarted, Marlborough maintained their drive to move the ball forwards with the defensive line of Anna Scott, Torie Williams, Annabel Ashley and Beth Palfrey mopping up any attempts from Bath to push towards their goal and transferring the ball away from trouble towards the midfield.

A string of passes from Sophie Fynn and Rachel Cox provided Catherine Manley with another opportunity to score which she did with a neat and controlled spin to front up the keeper and ease the ball past into goal.

Penny Bowen, Rachel Cox and Vanessa Pickford-Smith continued to hound Buccs’ midfield whenever they gained possession, making them step up their accuracy and supportive runs in order to work the ball through their attacking half. As well as tracking back tirelessly when Marlborough lost possession, the forward line of Anna Strover, Milly Dawson and Catherine Manley were working hard with their forward runs, drawing the defence and creating space for the midfield to drive into.

Vanessa Pickford-Smith, who was putting in some serious leg work to close down any Bath player within her vicinity, began to make some excellent drives into the D, firing off a number of shots before one finally crossed the line for a goal.

Despite going into half time 3-0 ahead Marlborough still had areas of their game to work on. With renewed focus Marlborough picked up the attack once more and continued to dominate the game despite Bath moving the ball well between their players and making some dangerous attacking play towards and around the goal.

The defensive back line, now including Emily Carter-Davies,  was transferring the ball confidently around the back and picking some great forward balls. During the middle of the second half, play moved rapidly up and down the pitch as both teams attempted to break the deadlock once more.

Marlborough won three short corners over the following few minutes finally converting the third with a clean strike from Sophie Fynn. Minutes later, a great save from Vicky Moxham ensured a clean sheet was kept and Marlborough were able to walk off the pitch with three points secured.

The 4-0 victory has seen the team rise to second in the league and ensure that Marlborough continued to put themselves in contention for a top two finish as the season draws towards its climax.

Marlborough News Online player of the match was deservedly awarded to Anna Strover whose work rate both on and off the ball was terrific.

 

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Hockey: Marlborough men clinch league title with comfortable win - as next in table rivals lose

Team captain Anil SudTeam captain Anil SudMarlborough       6     Taunton Vale       1

Taunton Vale are the only team so far this season to have beaten Marlborough so the home team were determined to win the return game. But at stake too was probably the GoCrea8 (Davis Wood) Hockey League's Central 1 section title.

Marlborough controlled the early exchanges with lots of possession and created several half chances before they eventually took the lead.  

Charlie Hawley read an attempted clearance well to intercept the ball in the Taunton half, he quickly moved the ball infield and it eventually found its way to Toby Sampson who was ready and waiting to turn the ball into goal.

Marlborough soon extended their lead when Alex Renwick carried the ball well to beat two players and enter the circle, he managed to draw the keeper towards him and then play the ball square to vice captain Will Radnedge, who calmly applied the finish.

Unfortunately Marlborough turned the ball over in the midfield which allowed a quick switch of play to the Taunton left wing, their forward controlled the ball well on his reverse and made his way to the baseline, he somehow managed to burrow his way through several tackles and pulled the ball back for his team mate to put into the bottom corner.

Marlborough reacted well to this setback and restored their two goal cushion when a flowing passing move down the right hand side allowed John Bromley space to advance. His entry pass found Rhys Davies who deflected the ball across goal to Will Hughes who calmly put the ball into the net.

After half time, Marlborough extended their lead to 4-1 when captain Anil Sud found space inside the circle.  He calmly dragged the ball onto his reverse and fired it underneath the keeper.

Marlborough continued to dominate the game, restricting Taunton to hopeful passes as they tried to set up a counter attack.

The fifth goal duly arrived from a lovely interchange of passing between Toby Sampson and Charlie Hawley.   Toby received the ball with his back to goal, rolled strong to beat the first man and then exchanged a quick one two with Charlie. Toby found himself one-on-one with the keeper and rounded him on his reverse before slotting the ball into the corner of the goal.

Marlborough rounded the game off when a quickly taken free hit and direct carry from Matt Way - allowing him the space to fire the ball into the circle. Toby Sampson had cleverly led across goal to create space for himself, met the pass without breaking stride and deflected the ball back across his body into the corner of the goal.

At the final whistle news filtered through from watching members of the men's second team that Bath had failed to win today and therefore Marlborough had clinched the league title - safe with twelve points clear.

As one senior player said: "It's all down to the hard work put in by the whole squad both every Wednesday at training and the commitment and determination to convert that into quality performances on Saturdays."

Marlborough go into their last three games looking to protect their perfect home record and continue building momentum into the new challenges of next season.

Marlborough News Online Man of the Match was awarded to Charlie Hawley for his dynamic work through the midfield.

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Hockey: Marlborough men take another step towards promotion with a 3-2 victory

Westbury & UB A         2     Marlborough     3

Marlborough started the game reasonably well, controlling the tempo of the game and enjoying large amounts of possession. Several half chances were created and the Westbury goalkeeper made several smart saves to keep the scores level.

It was Westbury who took the lead after Marlborough turned the ball over in their own half and then failed to stop the breakaway.

The same pattern of play emerged with Marlborough creating more half chances and it was from one of these that they equalised.

The ball was carried strongly through the middle of the pitch by Captain Will Radnedge, he attempted to play the ball in for a deflection, but the Westbury keeper came out to smother the attempt.  The ball bobbled up in the air to Alex Renwick who sent it towards goal, only to be saved again by the recovering Westbury keeper. The second rebound fell kindly for Matt Way who pulled the ball onto his backhand and played it into the corner of the goal.

With half time approaching, Marlborough looked ready to retake the lead, but were once again hit by a sucker punch following another defensive error, which meant they entered half time trailing 2-1.

Marlborough adjusted their tactics for the second half, swapping back to their normal formation and seeking to win the ball higher up the pitch. This plan paid off immediately with Marlborough winning the ball several times in dangerous areas.

It was from one of these that they equalised when John Berry carried the ball strongly through the inside left channel, he saw Matt Way lose his defender in the circle and played the ball in towards him - just outside the near post. Matt adjusted his body position to sweep the ball first time into the far corner of the goal.

Marlborough continued their increased intensity and managed to take the lead when John Berry, who was at the heart of everything positive, broke through the midfield. He played a one-two with Alex Renwick before firing the ball into the corner of the goal.

Marlborough saw the game out without any fuss, showing the kind of game management which is going to be crucial for them as they move up through the leagues. To their credit, Westbury kept playing right until the end in an attempt to get something out of the game but failed to create much to threaten the Marlborough goal.

With their nearest rivals surprisingly losing, Marlborough extended their lead at the top of the league table to nine points with only four games remaining. Marlborough now have their fate in their own hands and will hope to wrap up the title with two wins in their double header next weekend.

The Marlborough News Online Man of the Match was awarded to John Berry for a superb combination of direct, yet unselfish hockey and excellent pressing play.

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