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Hockey: Marlborough men keep their unbeaten record with a display of 'grit and grind'

Marlborough     2      Westbury UB       1

Marlborough men's first team were delighted to keep their one hundred per cent record with their eighth consecutive win of the season - a home win over Westbury UB.

Marlborough started the game slowly, allowing Westbury lots of possession high up the pitch and they took a deserved lead when hesitation in the Marlborough defensive line allowed their forward to find the back of the net.

In the unusual position of being a goal down, Marlborough still looked nervous and following a misplaced pass in their own half were very nearly two goals down when a Westbury forward deflected the ball just wide with Brian Marnane narrowing the angle well.

Marlborough eventually found some more rhythm and managed to find space down the left hand side of the pitch to apply pressure to the Westbury circle. However they found their route to goal blocked by some resolute defending.  Westbury's game-plan to sit in deep and try to counter was working well.

Eventually the pressure told and Marlborough equalised following strong work down the right hand side of the pitch, the ball was fired across goal and Alex Renwick was able to hold off the physical marking to finish the move.

Marlborough continued to apply pressure until the half time whistle - to no avail.

The half time break allowed Marlborough to set out clear objectives for the second half, knowing full well that they had just played their most disjointed half of hockey this season.

The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, with Marlborough in the ascendancy, but Westbury holding firm under the pressure. The game swung in Marlborough's favour following an incisive move down the left hand side with Freddie Hazlitt finding WIll Radnedge in space.

He carried the ball powerfully into the circle, drawing the defender in before spinning into the defenders foot to win the short corner. Marlborough chose to use their newest routine and executed it well with Will Hughes sliding in at the back post to finish at the second attempt.

This goal seemed to galvanise Westbury as an attacking force, but they only looked truly dangerous through sloppy play from Marlborough inside their own half.

Thankfully, Marlborough were able to adjust their formation to protect the middle of the pitch and these numbers allowed Marlborough to manage the game intelligently by winning the ball back and aiming to retain possession under the high pressing of Westbury.

Marlborough were given an excellent game by an impressive Westbury team who are fully expected to rise up the table as the season goes on.

This was the sort of game in which Marlborough would - in previous few seasons - have found a way to drop points.  Now a real 'grind it out' attitude is being developed and making a big difference on the pitch.

The Marlborough News Online Man of the Match was awarded to Will Hughes for his fantastic energy in the forward line.

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Hockey: It rained & rained & Marlborough ladies' game at Swanage ended in a four-all draw

Lottie Colquhoun - Marlborough News Online player of the matchLottie Colquhoun - Marlborough News Online player of the matchSwanage       4        Marlborough      4


On Saturday (November 19) Marlborough ladies travelled to play fellow mid-table team Swanage.   On the back of two strong wins they had their sights firmly set on making that three in a row.

The pre-match pep talk was conducted in the changing rooms as the rain hammered down outside.

Marlborough started the stronger of the two sides ploughing into the Swanage half and applying wave after wave of pressure, but the all important first goal evaded the visitors.

Swanage suddenly came to life and started moving the ball around themselves trying to find gaps in the Marlborough midfield and putting pressure on the defence. The play bounced back and forth from the Marlborough end to the Swanage end with both goalkeepers called upon to make crucial saves.

What happened next left Marlborough reeling: THREE Swanage goals in the space of about 15 minutes.   Two came from free play in the goalmouth and the third from a nasty bouncing short corner shot which just sneaked inside the post.

The rain came down more heavily as the whistle blew for half time.

After an inspiring team talk at half time, Marlborough left the pain of the first half behind them and showed Swanage they were not down or out.

Every member of the Marlborough team came out fighting and the team spirit was incredible. Marlborough upped the ante and won a short corner.  With a well worked routine Neve Beer calmly slotted in a goal.

The rain fell ever more heavily, but Marlborough started playing their own style of hockey.  The defence held firm, the midfield feeding the forwards who in turn worked tirelessly passing the ball and peppering the Swanage goal and finally the ball went in thanks to Catherine Manley's dogged persistence.

Now Swanage were getting worried and so they should as Lottie Colquhoun in a one on one with the keeper brought the score level - three goals each. The rain continued to bucket down, but Marlborough smelled victory and Swanage were in no mood to lose the game.

The drenched spectators on the sidelines willed their sides on. Swanage managed to make a couple of solo runs into Marlborough's D - each one snubbed out efficiently by the ever vigilant and determined Vicky Moxham in goal. Then just when Marlborough thought they were getting the upper hand, Swanage managed to sneak a shot just inside the Marlborough post.  

Less than 10 minutes to go and Marlborough piled on the pressure once more.  With Milly Dawson putting on a determined performance in front of goal only to watch her first shot saved...she then smashed the rebound into the back of the net. Four goals each and so the game ended.

The Marlborough News Online player of the match went to Lottie Colquhoun who worked tirelessly making attacked after attack.

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Hockey: Marlborough ladies are smiling with three 'beautiful points' against second in the table Team Bath Buccs 3

Marlborough         3       Team Bath Buccaneers 3        1

 

Marlborough ladies first team entertained Team Bath Buccaneers 3 - who held second place in the league table - and hoped to continue their winning streak on home turf.

From the first whistle the Green Army fought hard. The majority of the possession was held by Marlborough.  This resulted from a clear structure at the back where the defensive unit held their own - not allowing any balls to enter Marlborough's 25 for the first 10 minutes.

The structure was held through the pitch and was well communicated by Rachel Cox who played superbly in the middle using her high ball pace to distribute the ball up the pitch to the forward line.

Although Marlborough had the majority of the possession, the forwards struggled within the first 35 minutes to get the ball in the net. Team Bath Buccs were stiff competition and always looked menacing.  Their best chance came just before half time with a looping shot from a short corner which was aimed to sneak under the crossbar - fortunately stopped by a big goalkeeper glove.

The teams went into half time at nil all - and all to play for.

From the off Marlborough applied the pressure and the break finally came with a text book play starting from the back with a dream ball from Amy Davidson up the line which was nudged into the path of Lottie Colquhoun who calmly slotted it past the goalkeeper.

This gave Marlborough a boost and led to the team delivering more energy. Team Bath Buccs were defiant and upped their work rate trying to bring the scores even but Marlborough held firm.

Once more applying a strangling pressure on Buccs in their goalmouth, Jess Pugh slotted in following a one on one with the goalkeeper. 

Buccs didn't give up though and once again they came back fighting with goalkeeper Vicky Moxham called upon once more to make some fantastic saves off her line.

Marlborough then put the game beyond Team Bath Buccs' reach when Ness Pickford-Smith rocketed a shot into the back of the net from a text book short corner routine.  As the heavy legs started to kick in within the last minutes of the game Team Bath managed to grab a goal in the last minute making the final score 3-1.

The Ladies are now in fourth position in the East Division of the West Clubs Womens Hockey League - separated from Team Bath Buccs 3 by goal difference - but Buccs have a game in hand.

Marlborough News Online players of the match was jointly given to Jess Pugh along with all the very impressive juniors (Beth Palfrey, Annabel Ashley, Victoria Williams, Milly Dawson and Amy Davidson)

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Hockey: Marlborough men continue assault on promotion with seventh consecutive win - and a Rich Fynn hat-trick

Mid Somerset       2         Marlborough     5

Marlborough's first team made the journey to Mid Somerset (November 12) knowing it is a venue where they have failed to perform in previous years.

Marlborough set out their game plan to press high to win the ball and attack with speed, this was demonstrated brilliantly with the opening goals scored by the impressive John Berry. The ball was won by Chris Jones who passed to Alex Renwick who in turn moved the ball on to John Berry who drove hard through middle of the pitch, exchanged passes with Rich Fynn and accelerated to deflect the ball in at the back post.

Marlborough's dominance continued through the opening twenty minutes and their lead was extended when Will Hughes won the ball high up the pitch and squared it to Alex Renwick at the top of the circle, he allowed the ball to come across his body and then unleashed on his reverse.

Marlborough's lead was extended to three when they carved open the Mid Somerset defence with some fantastically incisive passing - once again RIch Fynn and John Berry combined in the attacking twenty-five. John Berry carried the ball expertly across his body to draw the final defender in before playing the ball on his reverse across goal for Rich Fynn to deflect past the keeper.

Unfortunately it was not all plain sailing for Marlborough and to their credit Mid Somerset started to come back into the game. Following a poor period of passing from Marlborough, Mid Somerset won the ball and broke to win a short corner. The score was pegged back to 3-1 when their forward fired the ball into the corner of the goal, hitting half way up the sideboard.

Before half time Marlborough were able to restore the three goal cushion when Rich Fynn scored his second of the game. Marlborough transferred the ball well around the back to find Matt Way with space in front of him.

Rhys Davies made an unselfish lead wide to the left wing channel which opened up space for the inside ball to Rich Fynn. The covering defender managed to get a desperate touch on the ball, but a composed Rich Fynn got the ball out from between his feet and flicked it past the advancing keeper for the fourth goal.

The second half was a fairly scrappy affair with Mid Somerset playing a very direct brand of hockey which Marlborough coped with will through their disciplined front marking across the backline.

Unfortunately Marlborough were once again the architects of their own downfall when some sloppy passing in their own half allowed Mid Somerset to win the ball high up the pitch and force another short corner. Once again their forward took aim and found the corner of the goal with pin-point accuracy.

At 4-2 with the momentum against them, Marlborough of previous years might well have found a way to let the opposition back into the game. However this year there is a real belief in the side and they managed to put together a spell of possession which frustrated Mid Somerset as well as physically tiring them out.

From one of these passages of play Marlborough extinguished any hope of a comeback when Rich Fynn completed his hat-trick following an expertly taken deflection from between his feet which left the Mid Somerset keeper no chance.

The last ten minutes of the game petered out without any incident of note and the win now sees Marlborough sitting pretty at the top of the league with maximum points through their first seven games.

It is testament to the high standards being set that despite playing some excellent team hockey throughout the game (and scoring some cracking goals) they were somewhat disappointed that they didn't put the game out of sight earlier.

Marlborough News Online Man of the Match was rightly awarded to Rich Fynn for his superb work in front of goal.  But a special mention must go to John "I'll put it on a plate for you" Berry for his dynamic work and excellent decision making inside the attack half.

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Hockey: an excellent weekend for Marlborough men - still unbeaten after the season's first six fixtures

Eyes on the ball - a moment of danger in front of the Marlborough goalEyes on the ball - a moment of danger in front of the Marlborough goalMarlborough       5        City of Bath          2

Marlborough extended their 100 per cent record to five games with a comfortable victory over City of Bath (Saturday, November 5.)

The team welcomed Will Radnedge back to the team following his endeavours in the Under 18 Futures Cup last week, reaching the final and scoring a goal in the process was a fantastic achievement.

Marlborough started the game brightly, moving the ball well and looking to create space high up the pitch. The opening goal was created when Chris Jones won the ball just inside the Marlborough half before playing a series of passes down the right hand side of the pitch. This interchange of passing resulting in John Berry finding space inside the circle to fire the ball into the goal form a narrow angle.

Marlborough continued to control the first half and extended their lead when Rhys Davies lifted the ball over the onrushing keeper.

CIty of Bath did pose a threat on the break, all of their play coming from their defender either looking to carry the ball aggressively through the pitch or aerial the ball into space for his forwards. Marlborough defended the situation well, finding themselves under the ball on numerous occasions to win possession back.

A Marlborough shot just goes wide A Marlborough shot just goes wide   Stern words...Stern words...

Towards the end of the half, a City of Bath player was given a Green Card following a series of clumsy tackles, culminating in what can only be described as an 'Axe-chop' as captain Anil Sud cleverly lifted the ball into space outside their circle. Marlborough made it three when some quick thinking after a long corner, Will Radnedge found space to fire the ball into the net.

Marlborough continued to play the better hockey throughout the second half, working the ball well from half-backs into the middle of the pitch and building form there. This patient play was rewarded when Will Radnedge doubled his tally by turning the ball in at the back post.

At 4-0 up Marlborough seemed to lose some focus and allowed the opposition back into the game. City of Bath scored when a free hit awarded just outside the 25 was crashed into the circle by their defender. The ball took an unfortunate touch off a Marlborough stick leaving Brian Marnane no chance.

City of Bath continued to press forward and their 'Hero ball' brand of hockey was rewarded when the very same defender eventually managed to escape numerous Marlborough challenges. He carried the ball well through four Marlborough players and fired the ball into the roof of the net from the top of the circle.

This seemed to rally Marlborough back to their best hockey- they began to move the ball with more pace and managed to advance the ball forward to create several scoring opportunities, the game was eventually put to bed when Will Hughes received the ball with his back to goal, span onto his strong side and played the ball into the far corner of the goal.

Marlborough were pleased with the result, played some excellent hockey and scored some cracking team goals.

Marlborough News Online Man of the Match was awarded to Rich Holman for some extremely composed defending.

 

Bristol University B      1        Marlborough      2


Marlborough continued their push for promotion by picking up a valuable away win over fellow high flyers Bristol University B (Sunday, November 6.)

Marlborough's fifteen man squad made the familiar drive along the M4 knowing the match would be very different from the day before where all of the opposition's play came from a single player.

The game started with both teams showing each other respect but Bristol Uni making the better of the play with neat interchanges of passing. During the opening spell Brian Marnane was forced into a couple of reaction saves which kept the game level.  Marlborough began to grow into the game, but were just unable to connect with the final pass.

Half time arrived with the scores level and the game flowing well from end to end. At half time Marlborough made a tactical shift in their press to force the Bristol Uni defenders into playing higher risk passes in the hope of creating more turnovers. This plan worked well.

Unfortunately Marlborough fell behind when they lost concentration at a free hit just outside their circle, a lack of communication meant that no-one defended the route to goal and the Bristol forward was able to convert an uncontested shot from the edge of the circle.

Marlborough didn't let this moment dampen their spirits and began to press higher up the pitch, it was from one of these situations that Marlborough were able to draw level.   Matt Way started the move by throwing a cross-field aerial from a sideline hit to allow Rich Holman space to take the ball forward,  

The initial ball into the circle has half stopped but Anil Sud managed to pounce onto the loose ball and play it forward to the P spot where Matt Way was now waiting. He held off his defender, rolled onto his strong side and slipped the ball past the onrushing keeper.

Marlborough felt a real shift in momentum and fully believed that all three points were there to be won. They were proved right when a nice interchange of passing down the right hand side of the pitch allowed the ball to be played into the circle. As the ball came across it was redirected towards the back post where it was gratefully finished off by Mark Kinder.

Marlborough closed the game out without any further scares and now sit clear at the top of the table with six wins from six games.  It was an enjoyable game between well matched teams and played in good spirits throughout.

Marlborough News Online Man of the Match was shared by Freddie Hazlitt and Matt Way with Freddie Hazlitt winning on the re-vote for his excellent link play in only his second game for the first team.

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Hockey: Marlborough ladies delighted to take full points in convincing 5-1 home victory

Back L-R: Annabel Ashley, Victoria Williams, Beth Palfrey, Neve Beer, Catherine Manley, Emily Carter-Davies, Rachel Cox, Penny Bowen (capt), Anna Scott, Amy Davidson. Front L-R: Milly Dawson, Ness Pickford-Smith, Sarah Kendall, Vicky Moxham (capt), Jess Pugh, Lottie ColquhounBack L-R: Annabel Ashley, Victoria Williams, Beth Palfrey, Neve Beer, Catherine Manley, Emily Carter-Davies, Rachel Cox, Penny Bowen (capt), Anna Scott, Amy Davidson. Front L-R: Milly Dawson, Ness Pickford-Smith, Sarah Kendall, Vicky Moxham (capt), Jess Pugh, Lottie ColquhounAfter a run of bad luck which has seen Marlborough take home only one point from the last four matches, a win on home soil against Wimborne Wayfarers was crucial, and the ladies in green were hungry for victory.

After fending off an early attack from the travelling side, Marlborough were soon in control, putting the Wayfarers defence under constant pressure with some fast and flowing offensive play.

In a bizarre episode in Marlborough’s attacking D, a Wayfarers defender caught a lifted ball in front of goal - as happens to test cricketers - and Marlborough were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty flick.

They kept up the pressure and their patience was soon rewarded after Lottie Colquhoun came off the bench to slot the first goal home from the left post.

A second goal quickly followed, with the pace of Milly Dawson, Jess Pugh and Catherine Manley up front proving too much for the Wayfarers defensive line. Jess finished in style from close range making it two-nil up to the greens.

With the home team growing in confidence, Marlborough closed the first half demonstrating the best hockey they have played all season, with some excellent attacking play up the flanks from half-backs Tori Williams, Annabel Ashley and Amy Davidson, and some killer balls distributed from the ever-dependable Rachel Cox in the centre of the park.

Neve Beer chases a loose ball [click to enlarge]Neve Beer chases a loose ball [click to enlarge]  Lottie Colquhoun makes a runLottie Colquhoun makes a run  Escape for Marlborough as short corner ball ends up on top of the nettingEscape for Marlborough as short corner ball ends up on top of the netting

Keen to put clear water between themselves and the opposition, Marlborough looked the keener side early in the second half. After some excellent displays of passing hockey, orchestrated by the ‘link-men’ Ness Pickford-Smith and Penny Bowen, goal number three was quickly on the board.

This one came from a turnover won convincingly by Tori Williams, who coolly fired the ball down the right to give Lottie Colquhoun her second of the game. Jess Pugh followed suite with her second, calmly slotting a penalty flick away after finding a Wayfarer’s foot on the goal line.

That's Jess' goalThat's Jess' goal  Vicky makes a...Vicky makes a...  ...a great save...a great save

It didn’t all go Marlborough’s way however, with Emily Carter-Davies and Beth Palfrey rallying the defence and goalkeeper Vicky Moxham demonstrating her cat-like reactions with some heroic saves to keep the Wayfarers off the score sheet.

Sadly, Ness Pickford-Smith’s over-enthusiastic tackling caught the eye of the umpire, attracting a green card and, never one to be left out, Janeve Beer quickly joined her on the naughty step for the same offence.

Down to nine players, Marlborough fought hard, but the numerical advantage proved too much and the Wayfarer’s scored a well-earned goal.

With both players out of the sin-bin, Marlborough were once more in control, leaving Catherine Manley to put the icing on the cake of a very successful morning’s hockey - final score 5-1 to Marlborough. 

Marlborough News Online player of the match was awarded to an on fire Lottie Colquhoun.

 

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