SHEPTON MALLET HOCKEY CLUB
Mens 3rd XI Match Reports 2014-2015
21 March North Wilts A 1 Shepton Mallet B 0
Shepton’s new third team finished their first season of league hockey with a battling performance away in Swindon. They started slowly, conceding possession all too easily, but Reina, Treasure together with Harry and Darrell Chainey stood firm in defence, limiting the home side to few clear cut chances. As the half wore on, Shepton started to find their feet, with Jessop and Turner finding more space in midfield to feed Walker, Heath and Broad in attack, but they too struggled to penetrate the circle on all but a few occasions.
The second half continued in a similar vein, with neither side exerting any dominance in a scrappy game. Shepton nearly took the lead on two occasions, both from penalty corners. First Alex Reina narrowly failed to find a stick to deflect the ball home at the far post, before James Walker fired wide from 10 yards.
But it was North Wilts who grabbed the all important goal ten minutes from time when a forward’s shot became stuck under the feet of keeper McCaul before the ball was poked home from close range.
Shepton pushed for an equaliser, with Archie Heath, Max Chainey and Ambrose Hawks breaking strongly from midfield but they struggled to break down the experienced North Wilts defence.
Shepton end their season in a credible 8th place, winning 5 of their last 8 games. The club would love to hear from new players wishing to play next season or in the friendly league over the summer. Please visit www.smhc.gb.com for more details.
Phillips Tyres Man of the Match: Harry Chainey
DOD: Keiran McCaul (it's behide you)
14 March Shepton Mallet B 4 Swindon B 0
Shepton’s third team completed their home fixtures with a dominant display against Swindon B. Shepton enjoyed the majority of possession in the first half, playing some excellent pass and move hockey orchestrated by Phillips, Wilson and Turner in midfield. Walker, Max Chainey and Boyce all probably should have scored but they failed to make the breakthrough that the excellent build-up play deserved.
Shepton’s dominance grew even stronger in the second half and they finally got their just rewards when Boyce fired a blistering shot from 15 yards into the backboards when everyone else waited for a whistle. Shepton’s short corner routine then clicked into gear and Walker doubled the lead with a thunderbolt between the keeper’s legs. Andy Shaw then added a well-deserved third with a solo run and finish into the far corner. Jamie Phillips completed the scoring from another short corner, playing a one-two with Mac Jessop before calmly slipping the ball into the corner of the net.
The win secures Shepton’s 8th position in East Central 2 in their first season back in the leagues. They play their last game of the season next week away at North Wilts in Swindon.
Phillips Tyres Man of the match was shared between Elliot Wilson and Lee Turner.
DOD: James Walker
7 March Bath Buccs G 4 Shepton Mallet 0
Shepton's third team travelled to Bath full of confidence after three consecutive wins moved them up to 8th place in Division East Central 2. But with six enforced changes from the previous week, it proved to be a difficult weekend against a Buccs side that bared little resemblance to the side they narrowly lost to before Christmas.
Two goals in each half for the home side secured a comfortable win but without another man of the match performance from Keiran McCaul in goal and an awesome display from Alex Reina at the back,, it could easily have been more. Shepton struggled to gain a foothold in the game but he young midfield of Hawks, Dickens, Chainey and Heath worked tirelessly in midfield to close down their more experienced opponents. The best chance of the game for the visitors fell to Andy Boyce half way through the first half but his effort drifted wide.
Shepton hope to get back to winning ways this week at home to Swindon, 2.30pm at Bruton School for Girls.
Phillips Tyres Man of the Match: Keiran McCaul
DOD: Harry Chainey
28 Feb Shepton Mallet B 6 West Wilts D 0
Shepton’s third team made it three wins on the bounce with an emphatic victory over bottom club West Wilts.
Shepton could have gone three up inside ten minutes but Andy Boyce, Jamie Phillips and Mark Nash all squandered early chances but it was Boyce who broke the deadlock after quarter of an hour with a neat finish from an acute angle. Shepton piled on the pressure after that with Ambrose Hawks making good inroads down the right flank but the Warminster based club’s veteran keeper kept the visitors in the game. Five minutes before half time the pressure finally told with two quick goals. First Nash expertly converted a through ball from Phillips before Boyce slotted home his second.
The second half continued as the first had ended with numerous chances being created for the Shepton forwards. Boyce could have had six before he finally completed his hat-trick with a sweet strike from just inside the circle. Mallet then made it five when a searing run from Phillips created space for 13-year-old Max Chainey to sweep the ball over the diving keeper for his first senior goal. And the rout was completed 5 minutes later when Hawks beat the keeper at his third attempt.
Phillip’s Tyres Man of the Match: Max Chainey
DOD: Andy Boyce (only one hat-trick?)
Shepton look to continue their climb up the East Central 2 table next week away to Bath Buccs
21 February Wootton Bassett B 0 Shepton Mallet B 2
Shepton’s third team produced their most complete display of the season to notch consecutive victories for the first time this season. Fielding five under 14s, three making their senior debuts, they completely outclassed their more experienced opponents to secure a comfortable 2-0 win.
Mark Nash scored the only goal of the first half, lifting the ball over the outrushing keeper following good work by Billy Dempsey and Archie Killen. It was no more than Mallet deserved after Ambrose Hawks and Nash had both gone close earlier in the half. At the other end, Shepton’s defence of Agabani, Cooper, Reina and Chainey were rock solid, giving McCaul a very quiet outing in goal.
Shepton’s domination continued in the second half as they created numerous chances. Twice Ed Dickens nearly converted right-wing crosses from Hawks; and both Pritchard and Killen went close at the end of flowing passing moves.
But it was centre back Alex Reina who secured the points from a short corner won by Pritchard. His initial shot was saved but he pounced to tuck the rebound home on his reverse stick.
Shepton look to make it three wins in a row next week at home to bottom club West Wilts.
Joint Phillips Tyres Men of the Match: Ambrose Hawks and Billy Dempsey.
DOD: Alex Reina
14 February Shepton Mallet B 3 Yate B 2
Shepton’s third team produced a terrific performance to defeat 5th-placed Yate and move out of the bottom two.
Shepton were by far the better team in the first half, creating numerous chances. Mark Nash, Mac Jessop and Hugo Broad all went close before they finally took the lead ten minutes before half time. Jamie Phillips charged forward from centre midfield before slipping a pass to Ed Dickens who guided the ball into an empty net for his first goal for the club.
Yate responded well and drew level before half time with a clinical finish into the corner from 14 yards.
The visitors improved performance continued in the second half to create a tense but even contest but Mallet’s young midfielders Jessop and Lloyd Howell also upped their game and started to insert more influence on proceedings. And Shepton retook lead when Nash set up Andy Boyce, whose mistimed shot still had enough on it to beat Yate’s keeper.
Once again Yate hit back and equalised when a deflected right wing cross looped up high and was met on the volley by a striker 6 yards out, giving young keeper Tom Fone no chance.
Shepton rallied again and soon went ahead for the third and this time decisive time with an excellent solo effort. Phillips picked the ball up 30 yards out, beat his man before driving into the circle and firing the ball into the bottom corner. It was an excellent finish to earn a well-deserved three points.
Phillips Tyres Man of the Match: Jamie Phillips (had to happen one day)
DOD: Alex Reina (Jamie’s moved!)
7 February 2015 Bristol University D 8 Shepton Mallet B 0
Shepton suffered their heaviest defeat of the season away against a strong University outfit, who should really be challenging for title. Mallet couldn’t match their opponent’s pace and power in the first half, conceding four times and rarely threatening at the other end.
Bristol continued to pile on the pressure in the second half but Shepton kept at bay for over 20 minutes with some resolute defending from Billy Dempsey and Max Chainey and some fine saves from Keiran McCaul. But as Shepton tired University scored four more in quick succession to complete the rout. Shepton nearly grabbed a consolation 5 minutes from time when Ed Dickens fired just wide after being put clean through by Ambrose Hawks, but it wasn’t to be their day.
Phillips Tyres Man of the Match: Billy Dempsey
Shepton entertain Yate at Bruton School for Girls this week at 2.30pm.
31 January 2015 Shepton Mallet B 2 Chippenham C 0
A battling performance by Shepton’s development team saw them leap-frog their visitors in the table after this home win at Bruton School for Girls.
Shepton edged a goalless first half but failed to move the ball around as they had against tougher opposition in previous weeks. They should have taken the lead after 20 minutes when Jessop’s run into the D set up Nash only 8 yards out; but his first time shot flew wide when it seemed easier to score. Nash again went close 5 minutes later but a shot from the top of the circle again couldn’t find the target.
The game continued in a similar vein in the second half, with neither side taking control but Mallet always looked the more likely to score. And it was two of their teenagers who instigated the breakthrough. Heath burst into the circle on the left, evading a couple of challenges, but his shot was smothered by the Chippenham keeper. When the ball broke loose, Jessop was the quickest to react and his first time shot as he ran away from goal, squeezed in at the near post.
The experience Nash wrapped the points up 2 minutes from time with a wonderful solo goal. He danced past two defenders before smashing the ball into the corner from 16 yards.
Phillip’s Tyres Man of the Match: Mac Jessop
DOD: Mark Nash (could have had a hat-trick)
24 January Corsham 2 Shepton Mallet B 1
Shepton's third team gave league leaders Corsham a real scare before eventually going down 2-1 away at Corsham's new astro-turf. Corsham were much the better team in the first half but Shepton defended resolutely with Reina and Harry and Darrell Chainey making timely tackles and McCaul pulling off some great saves in goal. But Corsham took the lead ten minutes before half-time when an aerial pass stretched the defence before the centre forward calmly slotted the ball into the corner from 6 yards.
When the two teams met back in October, Corsham ended up seven-nil winners with six goals in the second half but this time Shepton didn't buckle after the break - evidence of how much the team has developed over the season.. A half-time switch saw Coburn move to right back and he continued the good work at the back with some critical interceptions. McCaul's good form also continued as Corsham pressed for a second. But as the half continued, Shepton got more into the game with the Heath brothers and Dempsey finding more space in midfield and Boyce spraying the ball wide to the wings. And Shepton scored a shock equaliser against the run of play with a great passing move. Archie Heath fed Hugo Broad on the right wing, who in turn found Boyce, The Shepton striker playing only his second game of the season, slipped his man before expertly slotting the ball under the out-rushing keeper. The home side and its supporters were clearly rattled and Shepton stayed in the game right until the end but conceded 5 minutes from time when Corsham's young left-winger poked the ball into the net from close range.
Shepton's last three games have been against the top three in the league, losing by a single goal each time. Next week they host Chippenham on Saturday morning in Bruton.
Phillips Tyres Man of the Match: Andy Boyce
DOD: Darrell Chainey (navigation issues)
17 January Shepton Mallet B 0 Devizes A 1
Shepton's 3s gave third-placed Devizes a tough game but eventually went down to a single second half goal. An even first half saw relatively few clear cut chances. Shepton's defence of Reina, Spencer and Dempsey thwarting the majority of Devizes attacks, and McCaul kicking clear when called upon. Phillips, Turner, Max Chainey, Hawks and Jessop worked tirelessly in midfield linking well with centre-forward Boyce, who was making his first appearance of the season.
Shepton's best chances fell to their young wingers Broad, Harry Chainey and Coburn but they were unable to seriously trouble the Devizes keeper.
Devizes were strengthened in the second half with the arrival of a useful latecomer after a college match. Half-way through the half they took what proved to be a decisive lead with a scrappy goal. The game then started to open up as Shepton pushed for an equaliser. Both Chainey and Boyce failed to control through balls when clean through, and Turner forced an diving save from the keeper at the end of an excellent team move.
Shepton started leaving a few gaps at the back but McCaul was in great form between the posts to keep the goal-tally to just one. Shepton continued to press with some great right-wing moves and won their only penalty corner of the half with minutes remaining. Shepton's routine worked well but Boyce's strike whistled just past the post.
Phillips Tyres Man of the Match: Ambrose Hawks
DOD: Hugo Broad
13 December Marlborough B 1 Shepton Mallet B 0
Shepton arrived in Marlborough to find a strip of the pitch still white with ice and the umpires nervous about playing. But the home side, who boasted a 100% home record, were, like Shepton, keen to play and following a nervous wait, it was agreed to play a slightly shortened game after a delayed start.
The first half was very even with Shepton playing hockey worthy of a team much higher up the league. Dempsey and Jessop often found space in midfield before feeding Fone on the right wing, whose rampaging runs were causing havoc in Marlborough’s defence. At the other end, the more experienced defence of Reina, Chainey and Boot dominated the even more experienced Marlborough attack, keeping Brown relatively quiet in goal.
After the break, Marlborough stepped up a gear dominating territory, if not possession, but without forcing Brown to make too many saves. Shepton found it more difficult to create chances of their own and were limited to a sole short corner which unfortunately came to nothing.
The deadlock was broken with 15 minutes remaining when an initial shot was expertly saved by Brown before the rebound was smashed home on the volley. Mallet then pushed forward looking for an equaliser but it was not to be. But with only two players over 18, the first half performance in particular was something to be proud of against a top-three side.
Phillips Tyres Man of the Match: Billy Dempsey
DOD: Max Chainey (had better days)
22 Nov Shepton Mallet B 2 Team Bath Buccs G 3
With a few morning additions to the squad, Shepton fielded a stronger team than expected against Bath's predominantly veteran side. As well as a few familiar faces helping out, Mallet also welcomed back Lee Turner from a few season's out of the game and Mike Laird making his first outing in a hockey goal since being a teenager (32 years ago so he kept telling us).
Shepton bossed the opening exchanges, controlling the ball and finding width through Broad and Hawks, but without seriously threatening the Bath goal. And it was the visitors who had the clearer early chances when Club Coach Clarke twice gifted the ball to a Bath attacker but on both occasions getting out of jail free. First Laird stretched to keep out a low shot before Spencer sprinted back to make a timely tackle to deny the Buccs left winger.
Shepton quickly got back in the game and had chances of their own. Turner came close at the end of a simple short corner move and Dempsey was denied by the keeper's helmet after good work from Phillips. But at the other end Laid continued to be inspired with a couple of great saves (Wardy watch out!) but was helpless when Bath took lead with a well taken strike into the far corner.
The second half continued in a similar fashion with both teams enjoying good possession. Dickens, Broad and Phillips all went close for Shepton but Buccs doubled their lead early in the half when Shepton were dispossessed in midfield and capitalised on a 4 versus 2 despite the diving Laird almost keeping the ball from crossing the line.
Mallet had to now push forward to try and salvage something from the game which opened play up even more and allowed Bath's younger playmaker space to cause havoc in the Shepton defence. But Laird's heroics continued and included a full length diving save to glove the ball onto a post from a drag flick. But Bath made it 3-0 from a short corner three quarters of the way through the match. The first strike was blocked but the follow up reverse-stick strike was rifled high up into the net.
Given the balance of play losing 3-0 would have been unjust and Shepton were finally rewarded inside the last ten minutes with two goals of their own. Broad's shot from wide left was deflected by a Buccs stick past their keeper and with 2 minutes left Spencer broke down the right before slipping the ball to Broad, whose shot was blocked on the line by a foot. Phillips converted the resulting penalty flick to put some respectability to the score line.
Shepton were buoyant despite defeat, more so when finding out that Bath's main threat came from a player who played for Buccs A team in the Premiership last season and who was returning after a lay off due to Glandular fever.
Phillips Tyres Man of the Match: Mike Laird (unanimous)
DOD: Clarke (Pass 1, Pass 2, Arial - unanimous - but we still love you!!)
6 Dec Shepton Mallet B 1 North Wilts A 0
A terrific team performance gave Shepton’s young third team only their second win of the season at home to 4th placed North Wilts.
An incredibly even, but goalless, first half saw chances at both ends. McCaul pulled off a tremendous save from a close-range deflection before Phillips squandered an opportunity when clean through against the keeper.
The second half continued in a similar vein with Dempsey, Hawks and Howell battling well in midfield, and the more experienced defence holding firm. Phillips continued to find space up front and created chances for Heath and Broad which couldn’t be converted.
With 2 minutes left on the clock Shepton were awarded a penalty corner. Phillips picked the ball up at the top of the circle, danced like Pixie Lott past two defenders before slipping the ball past the Wilts’ keeper. But there was still time for more drama when, with seconds remaining, Wilts were awarded a penalty corner of their own. But with adrenalin running high, Chainey blocked the initial shot before Turner’s clearance was greeted by the final whistle and the three points were confirmed.
Phillip’s Tyres man of the match: Alex Reina
DOD: Joe Heath (a little rusty)
15 Nov West Wilts D 1 Shepton Mallet B 1
Another great performance by Shepton’s young development team, fielding seven under 15s, which was rewarded with the share of the spoils at Warminster Training Camp.
Shepton started well, with the experienced defence of Reina, Clarke, Saunders and Chainey breaking down most attacks allowing the youngsters numerous opportunities to attack the home side’s circle. They worked the ball well through midfield but on most occasions struggled to find the killer final ball to create a clear cut chance.
But eventually the pressure told and Shepton took the led after 25 minutes. Harry Chainey found his younger brother, Max, who beat his man before slipping the ball to Jessop, wide in the circle. Jessop’s cross shot was surprisingly allowed by the West Wilts keeper to pass into the far corner of the goal, and after some confusion the goal was awarded.
West Wilts equalised five minutes later when through a quick break when a right wing cross was tapped home at the far post.
The home side imposed themselves far more in the second half, getting their stronger players into the game, but McCaul in goal was equal to the challenge whenever called upon. Despite defending much more, Shepton still had a few opportunities to threaten the Wilts’ goal. Man of the match Archie Heath almost created a chance for himself at the end of a bulldozing run that saw him charge through three players three times his age. Burnell couldn’t quite find enough space in the circle to get a shot away – possibly due to his double vision, and Jessop failed to connect when swinging at a loose ball 12 yards out.
At the final whistle, a draw was probably a fair result and the team were pleased to finally get on the score sheet again. The draw also means the team is unbeaten in three games away from home.
Phillips Tyres Man of the Match: Archie Heath
DOD: Nathan Burnell (sore head!)
8 Nov: Shepton Mallet B 0 Wootton Bassett B 2
Shepton's young 3rd team were unlucky to go down 2-0 at home to their royal visitors from Wiltshire. They probably enjoyed over twice as much possession and territory than in any other game this season but failed to create anough clear-cut chances to break down their opponents.
Bassett took the lead after only five minutes when a quick break left Shepton short of numbers in defence, and the ball was drilled into the corner of the goal from the top of the circle. They doubled their lead half-way through the first half when a stray pass by club coach Clarke, returning from injury, was picked up 23 metres out by a forward who slipped it to a team mate to slot home from 10 yards.
Shepton rallied and came close a couple of times before the break. First, Broad and Howell combined well down the left to set up debutant Dempsey, whose shot was smothered by the out-rushing keeper. Then man of the match Burnell fired wide from a reverse-stick shot.
The second half saw Shepton dominate possession probing Wootton's back line, with the visitors trying to catch them on the break. Mallet forced a handful of short corners but failed to seriously trouble the keeper with Burnell again coming closest to hitting the target. But it wasn't to be and Bassett held on for their third win of the season.
Phillip's Tyres Man of the Match: Nathan Burnell
DOD: Tim Clarke (a tad rusty for their 2nd goal)
1 Nov: Yate B 0 Shepton Mallet B 0
Given top of the table Yate were at home to third bottom Shepton, all sensible money was on a home win. But the young Shepton third team dug deep and batled throughout to keep their more experienced hosts at bay.
With all three Shepton teams short of players this weekend, Shepton fielded two (first-team wannaby) goalkeepers, Brown and Burnell, without their pads on, leaving 14-year-old and regular goalkeeper McCaul to mind the net. And it proved to be the correct decision with the two Bs grafting at the base of the midfield and McCaul excelling in goal.
McCaul made numerous saves and clearances throughout the match, including a last minute gloved save from a short corner deflection. And when he was beaten and a goal looked inevitable, Townsend popped up to make a goal-line clearance to earn Mallet their first clean sheet of the season. Shepton had few chances with moves often breaking down before they reached Yate's circle but Burnell came closest when a reverse stick strike, which hit the outside of boards with ten minutes remaining.
This was an excellent away performance and point for Shepton with many positives to take away. Fraser and Howell returned to the side and defended heroically on the left (despite the previous night's party) and the young forwards Chainey and Heath held the ball up well to enable Jessop and Hawks to join the attacks. They hope to take this form into their home match next week against Wootton Bassett.
Phillips Tyres Man of the Match: McCaul (more touches than a training session)
DOD: Burnell (asking his marker to stop following him)
25 Oct: Shepton Mallet B 0 Bristol University D 6
Shepton were outclassed by a well drilled university side, but gave a good account of themselves despite the scoreline.
Shepton's hopes were raised when Bristol turned up with only 9 men and without a keeper but they still proved too strong for a team with an average age lower than the undergrads.
Bristol took the lead after ten minutes when a deflected shot was tapped in at the far post and they doubled their lead five minutes later with a clinical finish at the end of a quick break. Shepton played some nice hockey inbetween, looking dangerous when they spread the ball wide, but failed to get a decisive shot on goal to trouble the kicking back. Bristol were lucky to go into the break three up when Brown unfortuantely swept the ball into his own net.
The second half continued in similar fashion with possession fairly evenly split but the visitors being far more clinincal in front of goal. Two reverse stick strikes into the roof of the net plus another low into the bottom corner sealed Shepton's fate.
18 Oct: Chippenham C 1 Shepton Mallet B 6
Shepton’s third team scored their first goals AND picked up their first points of the season, winning 6-1 away at Chippenham C.
Shepton started well obtaining far more possession than they had seen in previous weeks, whilst still looking a little susceptible at the back. They took lead after 10 minutes when debutant Doe, fired in from a short corner. And Doe doubled his and the team’s tally ten minutes later with a reverse-stick strike after good work in the build up by Howell and Broad.
Shepton were living dangerously at the back but keeper and man of the match Luke Brown, dealt with everything that Chippenham could throw at him. And it was Mallet who scored again before the break thanks to James Walker’s first goal for the club.
A decent battled continued in the second half with Chippenham creating the better chances only to find Brown equal to the challenge; but the home side finally managed to pull one back when Boot could only jab the ball into his own net when a goal was inevitable. But this prompted Shepton to step up a gear score three more before time was up. Two more for Doe sandwiched a screamer from Walker to complete the rout.
Phillips Tyres Man of the Match: Luke Brown DOD: Leo Boot (o.g. - harsh!)
11 Oct: Shepton Mallet B 0 Corsham 6
Shepton's difficult start to the season continued when they were outclassed in the second half by a good new Corsham team.
Like the previous week, Shepton started the game well. Despite surrendering the majority of the possession they defended resolutely with Townsend, Fraser and Chainey Snr tackling for their lives and McCaul coming to the rescue in goal when needed. But they fell behind after 15 minutes when a Corsham player cleverly deflected a cross into the roof of the net with his reverse stick.
Shepton rallied with Burrell, Hawks, Chainey Jnr2 and Howell together with debutants Jessop and Dickens putting the Corsham midfield under pressure; so much so that one of their veterans started to lose his cool and received a green card. But Shepton's forwards, including another debutant, Walker, struggled to get into the game and had limited opportunity to make their mark in the final third.
Corsham thought they had doubled their lead on 25 minutes but were denied when a foul on Townsend in the build up was spotted by the umpire.
Unfortunately Shepton couldn't keep their shape and energy levels in the second half and were put under pressure throughout, with only the occasional foray into Corsham's half. Corsham's young, skillful midfield ran riot creating numerous chances and short corners, converting three and adding two more from open play.
So a slightly disappointing result, but fielding four more debutants, three playing only their second game and three more only their third, the side can only improve. And having now played three of the top four, there might be easier games to come.
Phillips Tyres Man of the Match: Jessop (the new jab). DOD Fraser (air short)
4 Oct: Devizes A 7 Shepton Mallet B 0
This one was always likely to be tough against Devizes 2s who just missed out on promotion last year. Shepton started very well, matching their more experienced opponents all over the park and could have gone one up when Mark Nash was denied by the Devizes keper. But 15 minutes in, the home side stepped up a gear and scored three before half time. It could have been more if not for some fine saves from young goalkeeper Fone.
Shepton picked things up again at the start of the second half with midfielders Hawks, Fraser and Wilson getting into the game. Good work from Nash created a scoring opportunity for Broad, but his shot couldn't find the target. But Devizes again started to dominate and their continued pressure resulted in four more goals before the end.
Shepton's young team, with three making their league debuts, continued to battle right to the end and can be proud of their efforts. The core of their opponents started playing league hockey about 3 seasons ago, and in fact lost lots-nil to Shepton's 2s around that time. They've matured into a very good team and there's no reason why Shepton can't do the same.
27 Sept: Shepton Mallet B 0 Marlborough B 2
Shepton's new third team made a promising start in East Central 2 despite losing 2-0 against Marlborough. The young side, with only three players over 18, competed well throughout but lost out to two first half strikes that left keeper McCaul with no chance. The first came after 15 minutes. A rare mistake from Mallet's defence conceded possession and the ball was buried in the corner before they had time to recover. The second came ten minutes later from a penalty corner. Shepton played some excellent hockey themselves in the first half but failed to deliver the key final ball to create many clear cut chances.
Marlborough dominated possession in the second half but the resolute Shepton defence together with some excellent goalkeeping from 14-year-old McCaul kept them at bay. Shepton travel to Devices next week for what is likely to be an even stiffer test.