Jones not giving up hope as Buckingham suffer damaging defeat

Izzy Peskett in action against Holcombe. Pictures by Jake McNulty
Izzy Peskett in action against Holcombe. Pictures by Jake McNulty

Buckingham’s survival hopes took a potentially fatal blow at the weekend when they were beaten in a home clash against Holcombe.

The defeat leaves them four points adrift at the bottom of the Investec Premier Division with just three games remaining.

Head coach Zak Jones said: “It was a really good performance which given our injuries and the poor performance last week which was really pleasing, however it was yet another frustrating result.

“We played some really good hockey at times and competed really well, but a couple of errors and our inability convert from more than one of our seven penalty corners ultimately proved to be the difference.

“With Bowdon and Reading both winning, our destiny in no longer in our own hands and we are now left in a precarious position where our only opportunity of avoiding relegation is to earn the playoff spot.

“However, the girls are totally committed to continue to put in performances like this one in our final three games and if we continue to do so, we will give ourselves the chance of earning that play-off berth.”

Despite missing captain Zoe Shipperley as well as Amie Hone and Leanne Grimsley, Buckingham made a dream start on Saturday when Lauren Thomas fired her penalty corner flick past the visitors goalkeeper as early as the third minute.

With both sides desperate to take home all three points for differing reasons, it proved to be an open game as plenty of opportunities were created.

Buckingham conceded an unfortunate penalty corner and although the move broke down at the top of the D, Holcombe’s Welsh International Leah Wilkinson fired the ball home with a backhand finish.

As half-time approached, both sides went in search of the goal which would give them the lead and it was Holcombe who found it through another penalty corner.

With Australian midfielder and player of the match Izzy Peskett to the fore, Buckingham pushed hard for an equaliser but despite earning a number of penalty corners, and creating a some openings, they couldn’t get back on level terms.

With ten minutes to go, a cheap defensive turnover gifted the visitors a counter-attack opportunity and they eventually scrambled the ball home on the far post to effectively seal the result.

Buckingham fought bravely in the remaining minutes and came close to reducing the deficit from another couple of penalty corner chances but they could not convert and the game ended 3-1.