Buckingham Ladies Hockey Club began their first ever season in the Investec Premier Division with a battling 1-0 defeat away to one of the title favourites, Bristol-based Clifton.
A nervous but excited Buckingham made an assured start and looked bright in the early stages, although it was the home side that won the first penalty corner.
It came to nothing, though, and the visitors then enjoyed a period of pressure that saw standout performer Jess Bloom go close, but Buckingham’s failure to turn pressure into goals proved costly when, 20 seconds before half-time, a momentary lapse in concentration allowed Clifton to crash the ball into the circle for Claire Thomas to deflect the ball home.
In the second half, Buckingham struggled to put passes together with as much fluidity as they did in the first half with Clifton stepping up the pressure.
However, the game remained as an even contest and both sides had their opportunities but, despite creating a number of good goalscoring chances, the visitors were unable to find a way through the resilient Clifton defence, meaning an opening day defeat on their Premier Division debut.
Despite the result, Buckingham coach Zac Jones took plenty of positives from their first outing but feels his side need to be more clinical when the opportunities arise.
This Saturday, Buckingham play their first ever Premier League home fixture when they entertain local rivals Leicester, who also lost their opening match 1-0. The match starts at 12pm at Stowe School and the club welcome any local support.