Buckingham are through to the quarter-finals of the National Investec Cup after easing to a 3-0 victory over East Conference side Chelmsford.
Without Great Britain players Zoe Shipperley and Morag Mclellan, coach Zak Jones opted to take a youthful side that included three U18 players and the visitors made a bright start but, despite creating several chances, Buckingham were unable to find a way through Chelmsford’s organised defence in a goalless first period.
The second period continued in the same vein until Buckingham finally broke the deadlock through a rare goal for left-back Aly Billington.
A scrappy and disjointed 10 minutes followed but the visitors added a second when Amie Hone poked home from a corner before Player of the Match Jess Bloom converted a late penalty to seal Buckingham’s place in the quarter-finals, where they will travel to Loughborough in February.
On Saturday, Buckingham’s Investec Premier Division woes continued with a 5-0 defeat to league leaders and defending champions Surbiton.
After head coach Jones handed a Premier Division debut to 15-year-old Kirsty Freshwater, Buckingham held their own against the country’s top team in the opening 15 minutes, but once Great Britain star Georgie Twigg opened the scoring on 16 minutes, the home side took control.
The visitors struggled to cope with Surbiton’s slick passing and movement as another GB international, this time Giselle Ainsley, fired home a second before the hosts added to further goals to take a 4-0 lead into half-time.
In the second period, Surbiton continued to dominate but Buckingham defended far better and displayed great character and resilience, and with goalkeeper and Player of the Match Anna Searle in fine form, they managed to restrict their hosts to solitary Ainsley penalty corner goal.
This week Buckingham host Beeston at 12pm on Sunday in what is a huge game for both sides. Beeston have lost every game this season and are the only side below Buckingham in the table. The match is at Stowe School and the squad would welcome any support.