Buckingham Hockey Club Ladies’ First XI made the long journey to Holcombe on Sunday for a rearranged league fixture.
The fixture carried significance with victory for either side lifting them into the top four going into the Christmas break.
Buckingham began well, moving the ball to good effect in an evenly-contested first quarter, with neither side able to break through.
The visitors also began the second period well, and Tash James made it 1-0 two minutes into the second quarter with a well-taken poacher’s finish, for her fourth goals in three games.
The hosts levelled just four minutes later after a swift counter-attack, but a diving Katrina Nicholson restored the lead two minutes before half-time, reacting first to a loose ball.
Holcombe fought back after the break and levelled again early in the third quarter with a well-worked penalty corner.
Buckingham’s defence and Ella Jackson in goal stood up to some sustained pressure.
Both sides went in search of a winner for the remainder of the of match, but neither found a way through until six minute from time.
A superb move involving Zoe Shipperley, Rebecca Van Arrowsmith and Maddy Newlyn left Lottie Porter with the easiest of finishes to put the visitors 3-2 up. The hsts pushed for a third equaliser, and Buckingham were thankful to player-of-the-match Jackson for another important stop with three minutes left.
Following that scare, Buckingham remained composed to see out the final minutes well for an important win which lifted them back into fourth place.
* The ladies made cup progress on Saturday as they eased into the quarter-finals with a narrow win over North Division One side Stourport.
With goalkeeper Ella Jackson, defender Megan Lewis-Williams and midfielder Eloise Laity away on Wales duty, and former England international forward Lucy Wood also unavailable, the strength and depth of Buckingham’s squad was tested.
Player-of-the match Maddy Newlyn was superb, and youngsters Charlotte Yates and Emma Onien also performed well against the hard-working visitors.
Buckingham struggled to play with their usual tempo and flow in attack, but defended very well, limiting Stourport to few chances.
Lottie Porter’s goal three minutes before half-time decided the outcome.