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Hockey: hail & frustration - with many chances Marlborough ladies rue those elusive goals

Marlborough      0          Salisbury        2

Marlborough felt very optimistic going into this week's game following on from their confident win in their last match.

From the first whistle Marlborough piled on the pressure with early attacking play from Alice Fanshaw, Milly Dawson, Alice Thompson and Catherine Manley. The ball remained in the home team's attacking third for most of the first half thanks to Marlborough's superior press organised from the back by Rachel Cox and Anna Scott.  

Despite all this Marlborough were repeatedly denied a goal by the experienced Salisbury keeper who skillfully managed to save a great number and variety of attempts on her goal.

Salisbury were always waiting to pounce and were very quick on the break when the opportunity arose. The Marlborough defence were made to work hard to catch the breaks and the few opportunities Salisbury had were dealt with efficiently.

Marlborough went into the second half believing it was just a matter of time before the breakthrough came. Once again Marlborough dominated the Salisbury goalmouth and once again the ball just wouldn't go in the goal.

Salisbury were always dangerous and quick on the break and frustrated Marlborough on a handful of occasions. Unable to capitalise from short corners or open play Marlborough began to become a little frantic.

Following a dramatic hailstorm which turned the blue pitch white, Salisbury maintained their composure and leapt on a momentary loss of concentration to score within the last ten minutes of the game.

With momentum of the game suddenly changed in Salisbury's favour, it was not long before they added a second leaving Marlborough in despair over what should have been.

The score line did not reflect how well Marlborough played and the home side can take many positives from the game. Oh for that elusive goal!

Marlborough News Online player of the match went to Rachel Cox for her attacking and defensive role at centre midfield.

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Hockey: "Just about good enough..." - Marlborough men's shaky times & a fortunate winner

Old Bristolians   3    Marlborough   4

Marlborough's first league game after the Christmas break has traditionally not produced the best of results. So when they went 1-0 down to Old Bristolians following a poor defensive turnover, they could have been forgiven for thinking that they had their work cut out.

However they steadied the ship well and began to exert their dominance on the game with lots of pressure on the OB's circle. Marlborough started to turn this pressure into scoring opportunities, but the OB's defence stood firm with numerous blocks and saves to deny an equaliser.

Marlborough did eventually pull themselves level following a well placed flick by Rich Fynn which the OB's keeper could only deflect onto the body of one of his own players standing on the goal-line. With the umpire about to award the penalty stroke, Matt Way was able to react quickest to the loose ball and "prod" the ball over the line.

Following the equaliser, Marlborough began to force mistakes form the OB's back line which resulted in Alex Renwick winning the ball high up the pitch. He intelligently recycled the ball back to Rhys Davies who was working hard to get up with play.   

Davies managed to control the ball well under pressure and play it square to Matt Way who crashed it into the circle towards Will Radnedge who deflected it across goal and into the top corner of the net - a lovely team goal.

Marlborough looked to have survived the storm and were heading for half time when OB's were awarded a short corner following Chris Jones being hit in the head in the circle.  Fortunately the ball wasn't travelling at too great of a pace and so he was able to carry on.

However from the resulting corner OB's were awarded a penalty stroke when following Brian Marnane's first save the ball rebounded high into the air. With numerous bodies underneath the ball and stick's raised above head height play would normally stop and another corner be awarded, however in this instance the umpire decided it "wasn't dangerous" and so allowed play to continue.

The miss-hit from the OB's forward bounced into the turf and up into Chris Jones' body and a penalty stroke was duly awarded.  Brian Marnane was left with no chance with a flick dispatched low to his right and into the sideboard.

Half time at 2-2 and Marlborough knew that OB's would come out with a renewed energy. Once again Marlborough found themselves behind in the game when they conceded a third goal early in the second half due to some more uncharacteristic defending.

Having to chase the game Marlborough upped their intensity and applied high pressure to the OB's defensive line. This resulted in more turnovers inside the OB's half with continued territorial advantage. To their credit OB's defended their circle resolutely and looked dangerous on the counter attack with their lively attacking line.

In the end, Marlborough's efforts were rewarded when they built the ball well to the baseline, Rich Fynn pulled the ball across and the first effort by Marlborough was saved well by the OB's keeper. However the rebound fell to John Berry, who had continued his run from midfield and he calmly slotted the ball into the open goal on his reverse.

OB's seemed to physically drop off with this goal and Marlborough were able to make it a fantastic come-from-behind victory after they scored a fortunate winner.  

John Berry was once again at the centre of it, carrying the ball well to the top of the circle. He saw a gap and drove hard into the circle and got his shot off, unfortunately for OB's, their keeper had misjudged the situation and allowed the ball to roll into the corner of the goal.

Not the way in which you would want to win a game, but Marlborough felt they deserved the victory for their territorial dominance in the game despite some excellent counter-attacking play from OB's.   As one Marlborough player said: "Just about good enough..."

Marlborough News Online Man of the Match was awarded to John Berry for his involvement in most of Marlborough's positive forward play.

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Hockey: Marlborough ladies firsts in seventh heaven as Milly Dawson scores four

The goalie was hoarse from shouting encouragement - etcThe goalie was hoarse from shouting encouragement - etcMarlborough    7      Devizes     0

After a slightly pedestrian start to 2017 the previous week (a three-all draw in a friendly against Wootton Bassett), Marlborough were keen to open the return leg of their league campaign in style.

Taking three points at home against league-strugglers Devizes was the only acceptable outcome, and after the pitch was given the ‘thumbs-up’, the team were raring to go.

A well-drilled warm-up led by Rachel Cox and team-talk from captain Penny Bowen got the team in the right mindset and they felt in control from the first whistle, demonstrating tempo and passion that Devizes were unable to match.

Possession was relatively even in the first quarter, but territory very much in Marlborough’s favour, and after a penetrating attack down the right flank, Ness Pickford-Smith slotted the first home to break the 0-0 deadlock.

Resident terrier, Lottie Colquhoun, was up to her usual tricks, hunting down every Devizes loose ball and placing their defenders under real pressure. Her efforts were soon rewarded with a goal - a fitting way to finish her season before she goes travelling.

Marlborough started the second half positively, attempting to improve their goal difference that could prove crucial in a tight league table. What followed was sensational.

In what can only be described as a bombing raid, Milly Dawson then slotted away four goals in quick succession, ably fed by a supporting cast of Neve Beer, Catherine Manley and new-comer Alice Thompson.

It didn’t all go Marlborough's way, with Devizes testing their defensive line on occasions. However, Anna Scott, Annabel Ashley, Amy Davidson, Beth Palfrey and Tori Williams all held firm and Devizes rarely troubled keeper Vicky Moxham.

Whilst her pads may not have been kept busy however, her vocal chords definitely were! The icing on a pretty successful cake was a final goal scored from a tight angle by Neve Beer, with a significant ‘assist’ from the unfortunate Devizes keeper.  Neve had been unlucky not to score a few minutes earlier from an impressive undercut, and this final goal seemed just reward.

Marlborough News Online Player of the Match was shared between goal-demon Milly Dawson and centre-half Rachel Cox, who deserves the final shout out for her fantastic work rate, tackling and ball distribution throughout the game.

All in all, a very successful day at the office, setting Marlborough up for a meeting with top of the league Bournemouth next weekend.

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Football: Marlborough Town Ladies go into 2017 with optimism

Swindon Supermarine 4 Marlborough Town Ladies 1

The last game of 2016 was another tough one for Marlborough Town Ladies, who lost 4-1 against Swindon Supermarine away.

The game started off positively; the central midfield passing the ball well and distributing to the wingers who worked tirelessly up and down the pitch. The defence was solid and Goalie, Robyn Hill made some tremendous one-on-one saves.

Even with the hard work and consistent quality, a momentary lapse in communication ended with a Supermarine goal 30 seconds before the half.

It was unfortunate but Marlborough did not let it get them down. They came out strong in the second half and continued to battle for every ball.

Abbii Demir had to work especially hard in a new position. She helped win tackles in the midfield whilst the team continued to pass well and communicate superbly.

A penalty and two other Supermarine attacks meant that Swindon took a greater lead but Marlborough never gave up. In the last ten minutes of the game Dani Hull made a great run down the centre of the pitch and punished Supermarine with a brilliantly placed ball in the back corner.

It was too late in the game to change the result but it was an uplifting end to a hard fought battle.

2016 was a difficult year of injuries for Marlborough Town Ladies but they can hold their heads high and look forward to the second half of the season in the new year.

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Hockey: Marlborough men back to winning ways - despite a team thinned by injuries

Brian Marnane - Marlborough News Online Man of the MatchBrian Marnane - Marlborough News Online Man of the MatchMarlborough        3           Wootton Bassett      1

Marlborough put last week's surprise defeat behind them in an efficient and professional manner in their home game against Wootton Bassett (December 3).

Injuries were beginning to mount leaving the squad thin on the ground. The lack of fit defensive players forced Marlborough to make a tactical shift away from the formation which has served them so well in the season to date.

Marlborough started the game in a slightly shaky way as they adjusted to the new passing angles and defensive responsibilities. Some intelligent covering defence keep the scoreline level.

As they began to find their feet, Marlborough started to dominate both possession and territory. They opened the scoring when Matt Way took a quick free hit just outside the attacking 25, he played the ball in towards the P spot where Rich Fynn had found space inside the circle and deftly turned the ball into the far corner of the goal - one straight off the training ground.

Their lead was extended following good play down the right hand side of the pitch. The Wootton Basset keeper made the first save, but the rebound was gathered by Will Radnedge who calmly rounded a last ditch tackle before flicking the ball into the goal from a tight angle.

Marlborough's two goal lead was held into half time thanks to several smart saves from Brian Marnane who once again showed his value to the team.

The message at half time was simple: don't drop standards and the game would be won.

Marlborough started the second half well with their adapted press forcing Bassett to rush their attempts at clearing ball and allowing Marlborough to win several high turnovers.

It was from one of these where they extended their lead in a carbon copy of the first goal - with Matt Way once again playing the ball into Rich Fynn. This time their keeper made the initial save, but Rich Fynn collected his own rebound and slotted it calmly into the net.

Marlborough continued to press for another, but then conceded a goal from a well taken dragflick. This meant there were some nerves through the last ten minutes, especially when reduced to 10 men following a very harsh Green card for vice captain Will Radnedge.

Marlborough held firm with some intelligent game management and got themselves back on track in their bid for promotion. They now go into their top of the table clash away at Bath Buccs full of confidence and look forward to seeing several players back to full fitness.

Marlborough News Online man of the match was awarded to Brian Marnane for some very timely saves to preserve the two goal lead going in to half time.

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Football: Marlborough keep their spot at top of Wiltshire league

Marlborough TownMarlborough TownMarlborough Town 2 Royal Wootton Bassett Town 2

Marlborough Town went into Saturday’s game against Royal Wootton Bassett Town Reserves top of the Wiltshire Senior League looking to maintain their good run of form having won the last six games in a row.

The first half got off to a quick start with Bassett nearly going ahead in the first 30 second as Marlborough were caught on their heels, but thanks to a good save from Andy Neale denying the visitors an early lead.

Slowly Marlborough started to get into their passing against Bassett’s direct game and Marlborough had a few changes to take the lead but could not convert any of the opportunities.

Marlborough managed to take the lead on the 35th minute when some good work from Billy Sly down the left hand side and he cut the ball back to Devan Bryan who finished off the move for his 28th goal of the season.

Marlborough had another opportunity to go in to half time further in front when Devan Bryan had his shot blocked by a Bassett defender, then the ball fell to Chris Deane whose shot hit the cross bar and the ball bounced out to Ryan Banks who shot was then saved by the Bassett goalkeeper.

The second half started and Marlborough went out searching for a second goal but it was Bassett who pulled a goal back early in the half.

Marlborough made a change 20 minutes into the half when they brought on Craig Simmons for Chris Deane and it was the substitute who got Marlborough’s second goal when he converted Jordan Ball’s free kick with a glancing header into the top left hand corner to go 2-1 up.
Bassett came back at Marlborough looking for the equaliser and they were successful when they converted a chance in the last minute to grab a point.

Straight from the kick-off Marlborough threw everything forward and nearly snatched the victory when Luke Little’s header rattled the cross bar and Bassett managed to clear the ball away as the referee blew the final whistle.

Marlborough remain joint top of the league with four other teams all on 37 points and go into this week’s game away to Melksham Town FC Reserves looking to get back to winning ways.

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Marlborough Rugby: Poor overall performance by the visitors after a promising start

Trowbridge 43 - 20 Marlborough

Marlborough lose after a promising start.  Marlborough travelled to Trowbridge for their third encounter of the season.

This time honours went to the home team after what ended up as a poor performance for Marlborough.  The game started well with a penalty after just 2 minutes from James Clancy and then after a loose pass was picked up by Jake Williams the ball as passed out to Russ Westcott to feed Michael SIms who sprinted down teh wing to score.  Clancy converted and the score was 10-0 after just 10 minutes.

Things looked good but then some poor tackling started to cost the visitors.  Trowbridge were getting good phases of play and uses some strong lines of running.

They scored a couple of quick converted tries to lead 14-10. Marlborough were looking to attack but were guilty of losing the ball in contact areas and not protecting the ball at key times.  This was emphasised when once again they conceded an interception try.  This has happened in the last few games and forcing of passes at wrong times.  Trowbridge intercepted and ran through and despite a great chase by Michael Sims, Trowbridge scored and converted for 21-10.  Clancy did get a penalty but a a quick tapped penalty right on half time gave Trowbridge another score and a 28-13 lead.

Trowbridge added to their lead in the 10th minute of the 2nd half with a penalty. Marlborough then seemed to wake up and started to get some good phases.

The lineout which has started to work well gave good possession and the ball was moved out to Inosi Laqekoro, he once aqain made a good hard run and broke through some tackles, the ball was moved out and scrum half Jake Williams was in support to take the pass and run in to score.  Clancy converted for 31-20. Both teams now knew it was game on. Marlborough significantly raised their tackling and Trowbridge were applying lots of pressure.

After some great defence on their own line Marlborough eventually conceded and the conversion went over for 38-20. Marlborough did push hard to try to score but again a handling error meant a pass went to ground and again Trowbridge gathered the loose ball and ran in for another interception try.

A final score of 43-20 reflected a bad day for Marlborough, good in patches of the game but not for long enough.

Next Saturday is Frome at home in the rearranged game.


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Five goals in second half see Marlborough Ladies fall to top-of-table Swindon team

Marlborough Town Ladies 0 Swindon Town Development 5

Marlborough began the new year with a difficult battle against top of the league, Swindon Town Development on Sunday.

It was a great game of football but another loss for Marlborough with a final score of 5 nil.

Marlborough started strong; they worked hard to win everything and made it difficult for Swindon to develop any long-term possession. It was physical and fast paced but Marlborough kept their mind on the game.

Abbi Demir showed great spirit in central midfield and played some good passes to Kerry Ash and Dani Hull, who worked tirelessly up and down the wings. The defence was consistent and the strikers worked hard to win every ball.

Marlborough went into the half with a nil nil draw.

Their spirits were high but the depth and talent of the Swindon team was eventually revealed when their patience and fitness came into play in the second half.

Despite countless saves from goalie, Robyn Hill, Marlborough could not keep Swindon from scoring.

They continued to work hard but let in five goals by the end of the game. It was a disappointing result but ultimately a well played game and a good start to 2017.

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Hockey: Marlborough men stay top of the table after tricky drawn game

Team captain Anil SudTeam captain Anil SudTeam Bath Buccs C        1        Marlborough      1

Marlborough maintained top spot on the Central 1 league table with a hard fought draw away against second placed Team Bath Buccs C.

Marlborough took the lead early on when they stole the ball high up the field and John Berry managed to ride two very 'agricultural' tackles before slotting the ball into the far corner of the goal.

Unfortunately, Marlborough's chances of winning the game took a serious dent when John Berry was unable to play any further part in the match.

Marlborough played some very composed hockey in the first half, transferring the ball well and creating space high up the pitch.  But despite several chances Marlborough were unable to extend their lead and Bath began to grow further into the game on the counter attack.

At half-time Marlborough knew they were up against it, down to the bare eleven against a sixteen man squad of energetic students wasn't an ideal situation.

The second half started with Bath beginning to establish more of a foothold in the game, creating several half-chances which Brian Marnane was alert to and saved well.

Unfortunately the change in momentum was being 'helped' by many 50/50 decisions going Bath's way and they were able to draw level following a quickly taken free hit outside the D. With the Marlborough players expecting the hit to go their way they were caught out of position and Bath worked the ball to the baseline. The first attempt was well blocked, but the rebound was played towards goal and left Brian Marnane helpless.

It was obvious that this could be a season defining last twenty minutes and Marlborough began to re-establish themselves as an attacking threat. Some excellent ball carrying through the inside left channel from Will Radnedge enabled him to win Marlborough a short corner with ten minutes to go.

From the corner, Captain Anil Sud slipped the ball towards the back post looking for a deflection. No touch was forthcoming, but the ball bounced back off the post and fell to Rich Fynn, who trapped the ball and fired into the open goal.

Disappointingly the goal was disallowed by one of the Bath umpires as he deemed the ball hit Rich Fynn's foot.

To their credit, Marlborough retained their composure and stuck to the game plan, despite Will Radnedge receiving a green card for 'tackling from the wrong side'. The last ten minutes played out with Bath in the ascendancy and Marlborough resolutely defending their circle.

The game appeared to be over with Worcester Bawden providing an excellent covering tackle to clear the ball away from goal, however, after complaints from the Bath team a short corner was awarded with Worcester judged to have deliberately played the ball over the baseline.

One final chance for Bath and Marlborough players knew the importance of the moment. Fortunately Bath were unable to take advantage of the situation following a poor injection and the ball never leaving the circle.

With the final whistle there were very mixed emotions from the Marlborough team. They knew the potential significance of picking up a point but also felt they had done enough to win the game despite some very challenging circumstances.

They now sit at the top of the league going into the Christmas break, two points ahead of Team Bath Buccs. With Bristol University losing, Marlborough now have a seven point cushion ahead of third place.

Marlborough News Online Man of the Match was awarded to Brian Marnane who once again kept Marlborough ahead in the game at a time when they were really under pressure in the first half.

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Struggling Marlborough Ladies lose to Melksham

Marlborough Town Ladies 2016 17Marlborough Town Ladies 2016 17Melksham Town Ladies 2 Marlborough Town Ladies 0

After a poor start on Sunday, Marlborough lost 2-0 to Melksham away. Marlborough were slow to start and allowed the Melksham team to make quick passes and dominate the game.

It was thirty minutes in, when a scramble in the six yard box led to a mistake and an own goal.

Marlborough struggled to keep up their momentum. They got through to half time when they were able to re-group.

Marlborough came back out a bit sharper and more determined. They communicated better and passed the ball well. It was unfortunate that they weren't able to make anything of their forward play.

Melksham continued to play well and eventually got a great second goal with a strike into the top right corner.

Marlborough finished another game with a tough defeat. Knowing they are capable of more, Marlborough will come out to their next game with more confidence to play their best for the full game.

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