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)
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.