Marlborough's impressive start to the season continued with a fourth straight win away at near neighbours Great Bedwyn.
After winning the toss and deciding to bat, Marlborough openers Tom Norris 44 and Nick Crabbe 58 shared an opening partnership of 83 to give the visitors a strong platform to build on.
Bob Homani 61 and Peter Day 27 built on this platform as Marlborough reached 235-6 off their 50 overs with Max Andrews 2-57. and Rich Bosson 1-43 the best of the Bedwyn bowlers.
In reply Bedwyn started brightly with an opening partnership of 85 mainly thanks to Bosson 47 and John Palmer 30, and Rob Palmer 16 ensured that Bedwyn were still in the game at 117-4.
Bedwyn then collapsed however losing the last 6 wickets for just 21 as they were bowled out for 138 in the 45th over with Harrison Painter 3-14, Mike Bush 3-6, Ben Head 2-36 and Alex Cox 1-28 taking the wickets for Marlborough.
Winning skipper Norris said "We had a solid start which Bob and Peter built on, Bedwyn made a postive start but Cox got the vital wicket of Bosson which turned the game in our favour, Painter and Head turned the screw and Bush cleaned up the tail"
Marlborough's early season promise continued with a comprehensive victory at home to Devizes in the match kindly sponsored by Crosby and Lawerence sports shop of Marlborough.
After winning the toss and batting first Marlborough reached 197 for 8 off their 50 overs with Peter Day 75 and Bob Homani 31 the leading run scorers, with Duncan Lorrain 13 and George Fox 13 not out helping out at the end of the innings to ensure that Devizes faced an uphill task with bat with James Dunford 3-40 and Jon Couch 2-43 the best of the bowlers for the visiting side.
In reply Devizes crumbled with the bat with only Gerald Schmitt 17, Jon Couch 16 and skipper Tom Grant 12 reaching double figures as they were bowled out for 68 in just 29 overs.
Star all rounder Ben Head took 4-4 off 7 overs with 5 maidens included while George Fox 2-25,Will Langton 2-25 and Harrison Painter 1-13 were the other wicket takers for the Savernake Forrest based outfit
South African star Bob Homani scored a brilliant 144 as Marlborough crushed Calne at home in the match sponsored by The Bear inn in Marlborough.
Put into bat by the visitors Marlborough were in early trouble when skipper Tom Norris fell with just 8 on the board but a vital 91 2nd wicket partnership between Homani and Nick Crabbe 24 steadied the ship and Homani pushed on with an array of high class shots as Marlborough posted 239-6 of their 50 overs with James Smears 1-19,Julian Kearney 1-37 and Courtney Earl 1-38 the pick of Calne's bowlers.
In reply Calne were in deep trouble as early as the 2nd ball of the innings thanks to a breathtaking one handed catch from Ben Head. Calne then crumbled to 49 all out in the 24th over with only Stuart Windsor 15 and George Sykes 12 offering any resistance as Marlborough's bowling attacked ripped through Calne's batting line up with George Fox 3-14 and Ben Head 3-15 taking the bowling honours for the home side.
Skipper Norris was delighted with his sides win " Bob showed his class today and victory was set up by a brilliant catch by Ben, it was a thoroughly professional performance and it was great to see Fox back to his best"
St Mary’s Church Hall on a Monday evening and a faithful band of men and women, girls and boys are dressed in traditional white gear to learn the skills of Shotokan karate. Ian Binge teaches the martial art to classes in Marlborough and Newbury.
Shotokan karate is a no-contact version of the oriental sport that develops bodily agility, strength and control. The attacking and defensive moves are practised in the air but facing a partner.
“You will learn,” says Ian, “fighting techniques which can, if the need arises, be used for self-defence.”
Each session begins with an energetic warm-up to get the muscles ready for the series of sometimes complex moves that Ian teaches. In Marlborough he has a class of ten students studying the complex moves of Shotokan.
Ian Binge (3rd from left) with Marlborough studentsAs with other oriental martial arts, there is a series of levels through which students progress. And if you have trouble remembering the order of colours in snooker, there are many more colours to remember for Shotokan.
You begin at the white level, and proceed to orange, red, yellow, green, purple, purple and white, brown, brown and white, brown and two whites – and finally to black. The whole series can take up to four years to achieve.
Shotokan karate came from Okinawa, was taken up in Japan and was first taught in Britain in the early 1960s. The more widely practised TaeKonDo karate – which is a contact sport – originated in Korea, came to Britain in the 1950s, and has been an Olympic sport since 2000.
Shotokan karate is certainly not a sport that needs expensive equipment – just a set of loose white clothes and the right colour of belt. What is more it does not need the latest line in fashionable trainers as it is definitely a bare-foot sport.
Ian Binge lives near Reading at Caversham and works in the computer industry. His weekly sessions at St Mary’s Hall cost £5. The governing Southern Shotokan Karate Association (SSKA) charges £43 to qualify at each grade level and that includes two ninety minute lessons from a six dan instructor.
Ian is keen to develop the sport in Marlborough and will be talking to the Marlborough Sports Forum to see how that development can be encouraged.
Marlborough vs Bristol UWE Marlborough lose 5-1
With hopes of finishing the last league game on a high, Marlborough welcomed Bristol UWE who had been vying with Cardiff for top spot the whole year and knew coming in to the game that a win would secure their position as league champions.
The game started with Bristol taking control and attacking with great pace and skill down both Marlborough flanks. Marlborough stood firm and soon worked their way into the game with some insightful break away play which almost led to a goal.
The deadlock was broken by the visitors mid way through the first half after excellent forward play from the ever rotating UWE strikers allowed one of them an easy tap in. Before half time, a second goal for the visitors soon followed in almost identical circumstances.
The second half began much as the first with Bristol claiming most of the possession and creating the clearer chances to score. Marlborough roared on by their vociferous home support pressed on and were soon back in touch with UWE after Chris Jones scored from a short corner routine.
Both sides sensed the potential shift in momentum and the pace of the game became frantic.
Unfortunately for the home side UWE showed their class in the last fifteen minutes of the game and rattled off three quick goals leaving Marlborough with far too much to do in the remaining minutes.
Congratulations must go to Bristol UWE - an exciting, attacking team who with this victory were crowned worthy league champions five points clear of Cardiff in second place.