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MEN'S HOCKEY: Fine Marjon-s for Swindon
SWINDON’S return to the top flight of the Davis Wood Hockey League began in dramatic style as they stole three points at Plymouth Marjon.
Jake Biddle crashed home inside the final 10 minutes to give his side a 2-1 victory on the south coast.
Swindon started well but could not find a way through, while at the other end Tom Wickens made a brilliant mid-air save on the goalline at a penalty corner, after keeper Alan Gough was beaten.
Moments later Gough made a important double save, but he was beaten midway through the half courtesy of a scrambled effort.
Within five minutes the scores were level as Tom Gillingham deflected a cross home, to send his side into the break in positive mood.
The second half was end to end but the score remained level until the closing stages.
Initially Swindon looked up against it after a rash tackle from youngster Lewis Dyer saw him binned and his side reduced to 10 men.
However, soon after they took the lead when Wickens broke quickly down the left and his cross-pitch pass deflected to Gillingham off a Plymouth man.
Gillingham picked out Biddle and he smashed into the net from the top of the area to seal victory.
On Saturday, Swindon have the chance to extend their unbeaten home record, which lasted the entire 2011/12 season, when they face Bristol outfit Robinsons (11am).
Ex-Swindon player Charlie Rutherford is expected to face the team he represented for over a decade at Isambard Community School.
WOOTTON Bassett let in three goals in a nine-minute second-half spell in their 6-4 defeat at Bristol side Robinsons B.
Bassett opened positively in the Central 2 clash but were unable to convert a short corner opportunity in the third minute.
They were punished as Robinsons took the lead moments later and added another with 19 minutes played.
Keeper Paul Warren kept Bassett in the game with a couple of solid stops before at the other end, a quick counter-attack saw Patrick Law grab a goal back.
Two minutes into the second half, Bassett pressure paid off as Jake Nunns found the net.
The visitors then took the lead for the first time when a shot from Mark Turner forced an own goal.
Robinsons hit back from a short corner but straight after pushback, an aerial from Mark Turner found Matt Daniel, who set up Nunns for his second.
That was as good as it got for Bassett, though, as Robinsons staged a late charge to score three times in the 53rd, 59th and 62nd minutes.
Had it not been for Warren in goal, the margin of victory could have been greater.
Bassett are at home to Old Bristolians A at Wootton Bassett School on Saturday (1.45pm).
NORTH Wilts opened their East Central 1 campaign in emphatic fashion as they crushed City of Bath B 4-0 at Dorcan.
The hosts shot into a 3-0 lead in the first 10 minutes and added another later to begin the league season with a flourish.
The opener arrived within moments of the start when eventual man of the match Jim Towers fed Darren Hillier down the right and he found the net.
Good work from Towers and Max Bartholomew resulted in Darran Cragg tapping in from close range.
Again Towers was involved in the third, passing to Hillier who tormented the defence before setting up Cragg for his second.
Makeshift midfielder Dominic Ellis missed several chances to open his account before finally doing so from a short corner, via the foot of an opposing player.
Wilts travel to West Wilts C at Warminster Training Centre on Saturday (3pm).
DEPLETED North Wilts A were on the end of a 6-1 thrashing by West Wilts E as their East Central 2 campaign got off to a disappointing start.
The A side had to cope with three players pulling out in the morning, and Ben Emmerson selflessly volunteered to play in goal.
A Mike Green own goal and two more efforts gave West Wilts a 3-0 advantage at half time.
After the break the onslaught continued with the hosts adding three more goals.
However, North Wilts A skipper Kiran Momi flicked in a short corner to salvage some pride.
North Wilts welcome Chippenham D at Dorcan Recreation Complex on Saturday (12.30pm).