Brilliant Buckingham retain Premier Division status

Zoe Shipperley

Zoe Shipperley

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Buckingham will once again play in the top tier of English women’s hockey next season after they won the end-of-season promotion play-offs held at the Lee Valley Hockey centre in the Olympic Park in London over the weekend.

Having started their play-off campaign with victory over East Grinstead the week before, Buckingham went top of the group on Saturday when they beat Wakefield 2-1 thanks to goals from Kirsty Freshwater and Leanne Grimsley.

Buckingham captain Zoe Shipperley said afterwards: “Today was really tough, we knew that it was going to be a hard game, we knew that it was probably going to be a bit of a battle, but we thoroughly believed that if we could stick to our game plan, then we would come out on top.

“We went a goal down early, but I think it showed in the second half how much we believe in how we play, and we came through in the end, but we’ve definitely played in nicer games.”

That win meant Buckingham needed just a single point from Sunday’s game against Slough and after again falling behind to an early goal, Beth Stainsby kept her cool to convert a second half penalty flick and ensure Buckingham retain their place in the Investec Premier Division.

Stainsby said: “We always knew it was going to be really tough game, Slough are local rivals and when we’ve played them in the past it’s always been a battle. Luckily, we came into the match with a bit of leeway and we knew if we played to our game plan and did the right things then we’d get the result we needed.”