HOCKEY: Marlborough reap rewards

This Is Wiltshire: Ed Gosling will spearhead Marlborough's challenge this season Ed Gosling will spearhead Marlborough's challenge this season

MARLBOROUGH captain Richard Holman believes that his side’s promotion into the new Championship division is the reward for their consistency in recent years.

Marlborough were third in the Premier Division Three last season and, following the restructuring of the Davis Wood Hockey League, Holman’s side will begin competing in the second tier this weekend.

He said: “We’ve finished third in the last three seasons and that means we’ve been consistent so going up feels like a bit of a reward for that.

“It’s a bit of a mash-up of Premier Two and Three teams so I think that we’ve got a good chance of doing well and I’d love for us to try to finish in the top five if we can.

“We’ve got to travel to teams like Truro, and that means that there are some long trips, but I don’t mind us having to do that to play some better hockey.

“We’ve kept pretty much the same side and Ed Gosling will still be an important player for us.

“Will Seward, who’s come up through our youth and has played for England U16s, will also be important.”

Marlborough have recruited Matt Ashton, who featured for Taunton Vale last season, and host Robinsons A this weekend.

Devizes coach Ollie Smith is looking forward to getting his side’s rebuilding job underway this weekend in the new Central 2 division.

After struggling to adapt to life in the top tier last season, finishing without a single win under their belts, Devizes have effectively dropped down three divisions in a bid to be more competitive in the new campaign.

“The players found it too hard in that league last year so it’s about rebuilding now and trying to get back up through the leagues again,” said Smith.

“I think it will be a much more exciting season because we’ll be able to compete against sides who are at the same level as us. I’m quite optimistic after the way we’ve performed in pre-season.

“We had about 20 players leave over the summer, with a few coming in to the club, but the aim is to have a solid squad of 16 players, instead of a group of 11 or so who are demoralised.

“We’ve got all three teams playing at home on Saturday this weekend too, so it would be nice to get some support.”

Devizes start their new season at home to West Wilts A on Saturday.

SEND YOUR HOCKEY REPORTS THIS SEASON TO ohoulihan@newswilts.co.uk

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