Brilliant Buckingham dismantle Sutton to reach semis

Jo Ellis in action for Buckingham against Sutton. Picture by Jake McNulty
Jo Ellis in action for Buckingham against Sutton. Picture by Jake McNulty

Buckingham LHC’s first team produced a superb display on Sunday to thrash Premier Division outfit Sutton Coldfield 6-0 and reach the semi-finals of the Investec National Cup.

After Saturday’s Conference West game against Hawks was postponed due to high winds and falling trees, Buckingham took on Sutton under bright sunshine at Stowe School.

After withstanding an early Sutton onslaught, Buckingham settled into the game and gradually got on top, before opening the scoring on 12 minutes when a swift counter-attack from Kat Nicholson and Fi Farley saw the former score from close range.

That goal visibly lifted Buckingham and they took complete command of the match from then on with captain Kitty Higgins doubling their advantage when she neatly swept the ball home, before three minutes later, some fantastic play involving Leanne Grimsley and Jess Bloom resulted in a back post tap-in for Farley.

Now 3-0 up at half-time, Buckingham came out firing on all cylinders after the break, exerting more pressure on the shell-shocked visitors as some superb passing hockey saw the home side rack up three more goals.

First, Grimsley deflected the ball high into the net following a pinpoint Nicholson cross and then, with Beth Stainsby, Anna Searle and the defence thwarting any Sutton counters, Buckingham added a fifth through Sam Sandham.

With Buckingham now playing with total freedom, they created a number of clear-cut chances in the remaining minutes, but found the Sutton net only once when Bloom rifled home a back-foot shot on the turn.

It had been a brilliant Buckingham display, demonstrating great pace, passing and skill in attack matched with an intensity and desire in defence that few teams could live with. Their reward is a home semi-final against Surbiton .

There was further good news for the club this week when captain and local girl Zoe Shipperley made her first appearance for Great Britain. She returns to Buckingham this weekend as they host bottom of the table Exe.