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2016-2017 hockey season roundup: ups & downs for Marlborough Hockey Club's lower teams - this year it's mainly ups

Marlborough Ladies' Second Team: Back Row: Millie Morgan, Louisa Gostling, Becky Blair, Becky Ford, Sarah Kendall, Katie King, Verity Langfield.  Front Row: Nyah Brooks, Katie McQue, Ellie Davis, Freya Renwick, Gabbie Painting, Alex Knighton Marlborough Ladies' Second Team: Back Row: Millie Morgan, Louisa Gostling, Becky Blair, Becky Ford, Sarah Kendall, Katie King, Verity Langfield. Front Row: Nyah Brooks, Katie McQue, Ellie Davis, Freya Renwick, Gabbie Painting, Alex Knighton All through the 2016-2017 hockey season Marlborough.News has been reporting on the successes of the Marlborough Hockey Club's first men's and first ladies' teams.  Keeping up with the lower teams in the club hierarchy is a bit of a challenge.  

So here, at the end of the season, is a brief roundup of how the seconds, thirds and juniors have fared.

Louisa Gostling, Captain of the Ladies' Second Team, writes:  

Having won the Wessex 2 league in 2016 and subsequently been promoted, Marlborough Hockey Club Ladies Seconds knew they would have a tough season ahead of them. Team captain Louisa Gostling set the aim for the season to remain in the league with a mid-table placing.

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Hockey: Marlborough men celebrate their league promotion with five-one victory over second place Bath Buccs

End of the season: Marlborough men's first team celebrate their promotionEnd of the season: Marlborough men's first team celebrate their promotionMarlborough      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!

Marlborough's first goal...Marlborough's first goal...  ...switly followed by Bath Buccs' penalty stroke......switly followed by Bath Buccs' penalty stroke...

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's second goalMarlborough's second goal

Marlborough had made it 3 - 1 by half time following a well placed short corner from Captain Anil Sud.

Captain Anil Sud makes a run...Captain Anil Sud makes a run...  ...Captain Anil Sud floored...Captain Anil Sud floored

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.

Another Marlborough attackAnother Marlborough attack   Shadowing...Shadowing...

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.

The official pre-game-end-of-season group - Back row: Chris Jones, John Bromley, Matt Way, Brian Marmane, John Berry, Will Hughes, Rhys Davies, Ollie Davies  Front row: Charlie Hawley, Will Radnedge, Rich Holman, Alex Renwick , Anil Sud, Mark Kinder The official pre-game-end-of-season group - Back row: Chris Jones, John Bromley, Matt Way, Brian Marmane, John Berry, Will Hughes, Rhys Davies, Ollie Davies Front row: Charlie Hawley, Will Radnedge, Rich Holman, Alex Renwick , Anil Sud, Mark Kinder

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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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