Newent 3 Marlborough 3
After a long trip north Marlborough were to face tough opposition from Newent, who were second in the table.
The home side needed a win to remain in contention to win the league and Marlborough needed a win to have a slim hope of avoiding relegation. With so much resting on results elsewhere in the league, the pressure was off and Marlborough were going out to cause an upset.
Marlborough started strongly pushing Newent deep into their own half and the forwards' movements were quick allowing the wide ball to be picked up and the D attacked. The home side were very much on the back foot but were also quick on the attack so Marlborough needed to be careful.
This pressure paid off and Marlborough were first on the scoresheet with a very slick penalty routine: Becki Marnane passing to a waiting Sophie Fynn whose shot was expertly deflected into the net by Rosie Buckley.
Marlborough upped the pace of their attacks, but a Newent break and a very bubbly ball gave them an easy goal. In the last play before half time a penalty was awarded to Marlborough and Rachel Cox calmly stepped up, wrong footing the goalkeeper, and smashed the ball into the back of the net.
The second half started off in a similar vein to the first with Marlborough mounting increasing pressure on the home side. Another penalty corner and another Marlborough goal with a straight strike from Rachel Jackson scoring her first goal for the club.
This third goal seemed to wake Newent up and they started showing why they are second in the league. A battle was on!
Ness Pickford-Smith took a nasty ball to the knee and Rachel Cox broke a finger, but as Marlborough did not have the luxury of any subs both battled on courageously.
Marlborough dug deep and fought hard to hold onto their lead. But a well drilled corner routine and some intense pressure in Marlborough's D put the scores level at three all.
Newent smelt blood, but Marlborough were desperate to deny them and get the win themselves - so the last ten minutes was a frantic affair with neither side able to get ahead.
A courageous and determined performance by a Marlborough team very much on the up. Though unfortunately a resurgence just too late to keep the team in the Premier Division 2A.
At their last game of the season (April 2) Marlborough aim to show the visiting Hereford team how much they have improved.
Marlborough News Online player of the match was awarded to Rachel Cox well deserved for giving her all even with a broken finger - and her fantastic penalty goal.
"It was," Captain Vicky Moxham told Marlborough News Online, "A big result against second in the table. Unfortunately it has all come together too late in the season and we have been relegated."
"There is a lot of positivity about next season and determination to start where we left off playing good hockey and hopefully getting lots of goals. Every opposition captain I have spoken to since Christmas has said they can't understand why we are at the bottom of the league as we are really tough opposition!"
"The last two seasons have been tough having lost a good proportion of the team over the summer on both occasions. This year I think we may only lose two or three which out of a settled squad of 16 doesn't disrupt things too much."
L to r: Back Row: Rich Fynn, Brian Marnane, Ed Watson, John Berry. Second row: John Bromley, Chris Jones, Will Hodge. Third row: Anil Sud, Rich Holman, Matt Way. Front row: Alex Renwick, Rhys Davies, Ollie Davies.Sidmouth & Ottery 1 Marlborough 3
After the long trip down to the coast for a day in the sun and on the pebbly beach of Sidmouth, Marlborough faced a team (March 5) on the rise since Christmas. With nothing but a win being an option for Marlborough in their bid for promotion, the game promised to be an attacking affair with no shortage of hairy moments for both sides.
Sidmouth started the stronger of the two sides and Marlborough goalkeeper Brian Marnane was called into action in the first few minutes of the game making a splendid double save from close range. An early warning shot across the bows of the visiting vessel.
Marlborough responded with several near misses of their own and certainly had the better of the play for the majority of the first half with quick attacks down both flanks. Only the final killer ball was missing.
For the opening minutes of the second half neither team was able to score - until Will Radnedge snuck in at the far post for a controversial deflection goal following a short corner routine. Sidmouth felt slighted by the decision and upped their efforts which looked on the rise until a marauding run from central defender Will Hodge left both sides speechless.
Hodge picked the ball up near the half way and with a burst of unexpected pace, he rifled down the right hand side, past several players before slotting the ball home from an impossible angle…I don’t know what to say!
Stunned by this Sidmouth pulled a goal back quickly before Marlborough veteran defender John Bromley put the game to bed with a sensational slap hit on a short corner routine.
On the whistle it was 3-1. With the game finished Marlborough enjoyed a well earned ice cream on the beach. But sadly results elsewhere in the league were not in their favour.
The Marlborough News Online man of the match was Will Radnedge.
A close encounter in front of the UWE goalMarlborough 2 Bristol UWE A 0
With promotion now an impossibility due to the week's previous results, Marlborough turned up to the last game of the season (March 12) determined to go out on a high. After almost a decade in charge of the first team skipper Richard Holman was stepping down, so this was a must win game.
The amount of blood sweat and tears that Holman has invested in the development of the club during his tenure cannot be understated and as a result the rest of the Marlborough team were determined to garner him a final three points.
Despite their relegation UWE actually started the brighter of the two sides and used their pace to cause Marlborough some problems early on. Soon Marlborough were able to get a grip on the game and from then on never really looked like relinquishing the momentum of the game.
Ironically skipper Holman was only able to play 3 minutes before substituting himself with a calf injury. That was probably a wise move considering he was due to run the Bath Half-marathon the following day - alongside fellow team members John Bromley and Anil Sud.
A close save by Marlborough's goalkeeperThat so nearly went over the line
Marlborough were made to work heard for their first goal which turned out to be something straight from the training ground. Newcomer Rich Fynn fired the ball to the back post in perfect timing with coach Matt Way’s run before coach Way deftly deflected the ball past the UWE keeper. That is what I call good coaching!
The final play of the first half led to Marlborough's second goal when John Berry picked out Anil Sud for an easy finish as part of a short corner routine. Two-nil at half time.
The second half began with UWE trying to press high, but the gaps created by this allowed Marlborough to flourish with several more near misses. Marlborough completely dominated the second half but were unable to add to their lead and UWE could not muster much to bother the Marlborough defence and goalkeeper.
Another win and just missing out on promotion was tough to take for Marlborough. But there is plenty to look forward to next season.
Following a heartfelt speech from their outgoing captain, members of Marlborough men’s section and the hockey club at large thanked Rich Holman for his huge efforts and exemplary leadership.
The Marlborough News Online Man of the Match was Richard Holman.Retiring Captain Rich Holman nursing his injured calf