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Hockey: in tightly fought contest Marlborough ladies first team just miss draw with West Wilts

Sarah KendallSarah KendallMarlborough     3         West Wilts         4

After last weeks rain-drenched game at Swanage, Marlborough were very pleased to have a home fixture in the sunshine! The visitors were local rivals West Wilts who were sitting second in the league. 

A strong start was required by Marlborough to exert great pressure on the opposition and get them on the back foot from the off - and this is what the home side achieved.

Marlborough's attacking formation paid off and with some great linking between the forwards and midfield more and more pressure was put on West Wilts which resulted in a goal within the first ten minutes, scored by Jess Pugh who skillfully out-manoeuvred the opposition in their goalmouth.

Unfortunately Marlborough's strangle hold on the game could not be maintained and the visitors started stringing together plays testing the home sides defence. However great team work and tackling from Emily Carter-Davies, Beth Palfrey, Amy Davidson, Victoria Williams and Annabel Ashley kept these attacks at bay.

Then two West Wilts goals in quick succession gave Marlborough a shock but spurred them into action. Marlborough were resilient and continued to work hard, mid field held the middle of the park and then connected with Lottie Colquhoun up front who skillfully moved the ball around the goalkeeper to put the ball in the back of the net.

The game then opened up with the play bouncing back and forth from one goal mouth to the other. Once more West Wilts took the lead and once more Marlborough counter attacked and with intense pressure on the goalmouth Jess Pugh scored her second goal of the game. Then the whistle blew for half time.

After a motivating half time team talk by Sarah Kendall, Marlborough knew on paper that their squad could beat this team, but they needed to modify their game plan to secure a victory.

The second half was a very edgy affair with both sides evenly matched. Both sides attacked with great set plays, both defences and goalkeepers held firm and the spectators were treated to some free flowing end to end hockey.

Unfortunately for Marlborough West Wilts were awarded a short corner in the final ten minutes which resulted in a goal. Despite their best efforts Marlborough just could not find the equaliser in the short time left. The closely fought game finished 4-3 to West Wilts.

Marlborough ladies finish the first half of the league season seventh in the league with a great team spirit evident. After a well-deserved break for Christmas, the team look to improve their league position in the second half of the season. 

Marlborough News Online player of the match was awarded to Sarah Kendall.

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Hockey: Taunton Vale B end Marlborough men's unbroken run of victories

Taunton Vale B       4       Marlborough        2

Marlborough's unbeaten start to the season came to an abrupt end after a disappointing performance in a late afternoon fixture at Taunton.

Marlborough started the game in a positive manner, retaining possession high up the pitch and restricting Taunton to long balls to clear their own defensive circle.

This pressure led to the opening goal when Freddie Hazlitt drove down the left wing channel before turning the ball square to Matt Way who played the ball in towards the back post.  Mark Kinder had gone back towards the P spot where he expertly diverted the ball into the corner.

Marlborough extended their lead with a carbon copy of the opener with captain Anil Sud this time supplying the pass and Will Radnedge the finish.

So far this season at 2-0 up Marlborough have been routinely turning these situations into three points.  This time it was not to be. The game swung when Taunton were harshly awarded a penalty stroke after Rich Newton was adjudged to have covered the ball following a rebound from an initial save. Taunton put the strike into the top corner.

Marlborough seemed rattled and their previous dominance over the game was lost as it became an end-to-end affair. Half time arrived with the scores even - Taunton had levelled the game with a straight strike from a short corner.

Marlborough tried to refocus on what had worked well this season, but were just unable to assert themselves. Taunton continued to play with more and more confidence and made Marlborough look rushed through the middle of the pitch.

The game was very much in the balance when Taunton were awarded another short corner. The initial strike was saved, but the loose ball fell kindly and was played back across goal. The ball was then turned in at the far post by the forward after he initially controlled the ball with his foot.

Unfortunately the near side umpire was unsighted and the umpire at the other end was busy watching a Taunton substitution so the goal stood.

With momentum against them Marlborough started to re-establish their territorial advantage and started to threaten the Taunton circle. Unfortunately they could not quite find the finishing touch and credit has to go to Taunton who defended their circle exceptionally well.

Marlborough had to resort to a chasing game pushing bodies forward.  This allowed Taunton to secure the game when they scored their fourth goal from another penalty corner.

Marlborough were quite rightly disappointed with their performance, but need to maintain the positivity they have built over the start of the season. They will be looking to bounce back with a positive performance and result next week at home to Wootton Bassett.

Marlborough News Online Man of the Match was awarded to Will Radnedge for being a constant driving force through the midfield.

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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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