Buckingham’s survival hopes suffer huge blow

The in-form Katrina Nicholson suffered a dislocated finger during Saturday's defeat at Bowdon
The in-form Katrina Nicholson suffered a dislocated finger during Saturday's defeat at Bowdon
  • Buckingham drop into relegation zone after slender defeat at Bowdon
  • Jones insists his side will fight “tooth and nail until the final second of the final match”

Buckingham head coach Zak Jones says his side will fight “tooth and nail” to retain their Premier Division status after Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Bowdon Hightown dropped them into the relegation zone with just two games to go.

The result could prove fatal to their hopes of avoiding the relegation play-off and with Bowdon still having to play bottom side Beeston, Buckingham may need to win both of their final two games against Reading and the University of Birmingham to avoid the drop.

“We will fight tooth and nail until the final second of the final match to retain our Premier League status.”

Zak Jones

Speaking after Saturday’s defeat, Jones said: “This was another incredibly frustrating result even though it was another good performance.

“Anna Searle did not touch the ball and faced not one open play shot throughout the 70 minutes while we created a number of good open play chances and seven penalty corners but we could not force the breakthrough.

“In saying that, we have dropped five points against the bottom two sides which is why we find ourselves in the precarious position we are in.

“With six points still up for grabs, we are by no means out of contention and I am certain that we will fight tooth and nail until the final second of the final match to retain our Premier League status.”

With both sides realising the importance of the fixture, the opening exchanges were cagey with Buckingham edging a first half of few chances.

However, it was an incident in the 15h minute that was to prove pivotal to the outcome of the match. A ball was raised dangerously into Kitty Higgins, who suffered a blow to the thumb that left her on the ground but instead of an early whistle, play was allowed to go on for a few seconds, in which time a collision for a loose ball resulted in Katrina Nicholson being left with a badly dislocated finger, ruling her out for the rest of the encounter.

In the period that both players were off, Bowdon scored the only goal of the game when a shot from their first penalty corner somehow found its way into the net.

Buckingham responded with a couple of penalty corners but both were well saved, while Sam Sandham had an effort cleared off the line as the visitors remained 1-0 behind.

After a change in shape at the break, Buckingham began the second half very much in the ascendency, creating two good chances and a penalty corner in the opening six minutes but they were unable to profit and despite earning three penalty corners in a frantic last few minutes, the visitors were once again left to wonder what might have been.

Buckingham host Reading this weekend and know anything but victory will suffice with relegation rivals Bowdon facing table-topping Surbiton on the same day.