Buckingham’s woes continue despite cup success

Zoe Shipperley
Zoe Shipperley

Buckingham’s frustrating debut season in the Investec Premier Division continued when they were beaten 3-2 by Birmingham University.

Buckingham had led 2-1 at half-time but Birmingham struck twice without reply after the break to condemn the home side to their sixth defeat of the season that keeps them second from bottom.

The Stowe-based side did hit back on Sunday, however, when they eased to a 5-0 win over local rivals Bedford in the Investec Cup.

Head coach Zak Jones said afterwards: “Saturday was another incredibly frustrating result in yet another tight match. We had a pretty brutal video debrief on Thursday, so I was delighted with our response after the disappointment of last week.

“It was a really good performance where we showed small improvements in many areas. It was great to get back to scoring and to have put ourselves in a position to win the game.

“We now just need to take that next step of turning winning positions and good performances into tangible results.

“This cup game was a welcome respite from the pressures of Premier League hockey and allowed me to rotate our squad and give a number of first team squad members who have not had that many opportunities in the league campaign a chance to push their case for selection.

“Despite it not being one of our best performances, it was a comfortable win and also good to score a few goals in the process.”

Against Birmingham University on Saturday, Buckingham enjoyed the better of the early exchanges and they almost took a deserved lead on 23 minutes when some fantastic build-up play resulted in Sam Sandham rounding the visiting goalkeeper, only to see her reverse stick effort go just wide of the open net.

Just a minute later, Buckingham paid a heavy price when the visitors swept upfield on a swift counter attack to score from only their second shot of the match.

Buckingham’s response was immediate, though, as a great ball in by Beth Stainsby saw Alex Naughalty deflect the ball home to level the scores.

With Buckingham now in the ascendency, a superb quick free hit and pass by Amie Hone found Jess Bloom who utilised her pace down the baseline to pull the ball back to Sandham, whose cross found Naughalty on the far post and she calmly finished to put the hosts ahead.

With the last play of the half, Buckingham came close to extending their lead further with a penalty corner strike that flashed just wide.

Frustratingly for the home side, it took just two minutes of the second half for the visitors to pull level through a penalty corner, before things got even worse four minutes later when a cheap turnover and quick snap-shot resulted in a third for Birmingham.

Again Buckingham looked to hit back immediately as they earned two penalty corners, both of which were saved, but, despite exerting continuous pressure, the hosts were unable to break down the visiting defence.

On Sunday, Buckingham made the short trip to East Conference side Bedford and didn’t need long to take control of the game with captain Zoe Shipperly putting Buckingham one ahead at the break.

The visitors came out with renewed vigour in the second period as they looked to cement their advantage and goals from Shipperley and Naughalty put Buckingham three ahead before Jess Bloom’s brace sealed their place in the next round, where they will face Chelmsford away on November 9,

Buckingham are without a fixture this weekend.