Buckingham will head into 2018 still very much in the hunt for the Investec Premier Division title after blitzing Slough 4-1 in their final fixture of the year at the weekend.
With the current top two facing one another, Buckingham’s home clash with struggling Slough was a chance to make up ground and they didn’t miss out, scoring two goals in each half to move up to second and within two points of leaders Surbiton ahead of the Christmas break.
Zak Jones, the team’s delighted head coach, said: “It was another good performance. Overall we played very well and our execution around D showed a marked improvement from last week.
“However, we still left some opportunities out there and apart from our first penalty corner, which was perfect, our execution from set-piece was not at the level we would want.
“Apart from the odd lapse, our defensive diligence was also much better this week, so this remains an area we will continue to keep working on.
“Pleasingly, we go into the break in second place but more importantly in a good shape both offensively and defensively. We have been pretty consistent in what we have delivered week to week over the first part of the season and I am confident tha there is still more to come from this group.
“We will be working hard on our physical conditioning during the break and will look forward to the league restarting again in February where we begin with a tough away match at third-placed Birmingham University.”
With Phoebe Richards’ turn and shot on five minutes signalling Buckingham’s early intentions in Saturday’s contest, they didn’t have to wait long to go in front with captain Kitty Higgins finishing off a well-executed penalty corner routine on 14 minutes.
Abbie Brant forced in her first goal of the season to double Buckingham’s lead at the break, and the hosts upped the ante in the second-half when player of the match Brant claimed her second, ghosting in with with a neat deflection just in front of the keeper.
She was denied her hat-trick two minutes later and though a freakish goal handed the visitors an unlikely lifeline, Buckingham wrapped up the points through Tash James’ smart finish.