Marlborough vs Goucester
By John Berry
Giant killers... almost.
Match report by Matt Osborne.
A determined Marlborough Men’s 1s side travelled the short jaunt down the A419 with a single objective in mind, draw blood from the seemingly unstoppable Gloucester side; who sat at the top of the table by a clear 5 points going into this fixture.
After a quick watch of some truly staggering youth tennis on the courts adjacent, followed swiftly by a high intensity warm-up, the game was underway.
Marlborough looked strong from the off, immediately putting the Gloucester side under pressure in every area of the pitch. And after 10 minutes of relentless play, the forward line were able to squeeze the press towards the floundering Gloucester Left-Back where Matt Osborne was able to steal the ball, and with a swift nutmeg countered at pace towards the opposition goal. Osborne then linked up with Hamish Fyfe, successfully pulling off the ol’ 1-2 around two more despairing defenders as the ball was then slid across goal by Osborne where it could be effortlessly slotted by the man, myth and legend: Kendall, Ed Kendall.
Marlborough looked in control of the play following this, however after a Gloucester breakaway that drew sharp action from Luc Renwick between the sticks; a short-corner was awarded by the Umpire. But then, shock and horror! The Umpires conversed and decided to upgrade the short-corner to a penalty flick. Oh how the tables can turn. Despite Renwick’s best efforts and nearly getting a pad to the stick-side flick, the penalty was scored. 1-1.
As the first half started to draw to a close a series of short corners were awarded to the Gloucester side, the first of which pulled out a stunning post save from Anil Sud, However just before the whistle could temporarily halt proceedings, Gloucester were able to find the backboard with their second short-corner. We went into the break trailing to the home-side 2-1.
After a quick team-talk from our leader, our skipper, our ever-blazing talisman of hope; John Berry, The second half was underway with the Marlborough side immediately getting right back into the grills’ of the Gloucester back line. They looked nervous. They were right to. 10 minutes or so into the half, Hamish Fyfe managed to work himself into the corner of the Gloucester 23, and with a precisely lifted pass along the base line, Matt Osborne was able to bounce the ball over the stick of the oncoming defender before swiftly dispatching a well struck reverse through the legs of the Gloucester Goalkeeper. The scores had been levelled and the game was in the hands of those brave enough to snatch it from the other’s grasp.
For the next 25 minutes the game flowed back and forth, back and forth with Marlborough looking the most threatening. However, even with a final press from the travelling side, Marlborough were unable to convert in the dying moments.
And so it was that the score would remain in the balance. Both teams taking a point from the fixture but the Marlborough Men’s 1s came away with something more; the knowledge that they had drawn blood where others in the league had not. The Gloucester giants may not have been toppled on this occasion, but they had shown weakness, a weakness that Marlborough had chiselled through their conviction and performance.
Man of the Match: Matt Osborne
Dick of the Day: Matt Osborne (for his weekly meeting with the sin-bin)