It was a weekend of contrasting fortunes for teams at Buckingham Hockey Club.
While the first team suffered defeat in the Investec Premier Division, the IIs extended their extraordinary unbeaten run to 100 games to clinch the Trysports Premier One title.
Buckingham IIs have now won all 20 games this season, scoring 123 goals in the process. Their latest success came at Wokingham after second half goals from Andrew Freshwater and Charlie Coumbe.
The team last tasted defeat way back in November 2011 and have lost just six times since their inception in 2008.Next season, they will play in the Regional South League.
The first team have also enjoyed a successful few years, culminating in promotion to the Premier Division last season, but they now seem destined for the end-of-season relegation play-offs following a 2-0 home defeat to a Reading side that contained eight internationals on Saturday.
The home side made an uncharacteristically slow start and were punished in the second minute as Reading went ahead from a well-executed penalty corner before goalkeeper Anna Searle was alert to deny the visitors a second.
Although Buckingham eventually settled into the game, clear-cut chances were few and far between and the home side’s problems deepened when Reading netted a second to lead 2-0 at half-time.
Buckingham’s first clear opportunity came early in the second half as Zoe Shipperley’s tantalising cross into the circle somehow eluded everyone before the same player again came agonisingly close from a penalty corner.
The hosts were now enjoying their best spell of the match as they looked to fight back, but a disallowed goal plus an excellent save from the visiting keeper thwarted Buckingham until full-time.
Buckingham must now beat Birmingham University this weekend and hope Bowdon lose to Beeston if they are to avoid the play-offs.
Head coach Zak Jones said afterwards: “I was a little frustrated that we started so poorly, as at this level you simply cannot give quality sides a head start because it is always going to be a long way back.
“However, on the positive side, I felt we played with a lot of composure, control and spirit. We also defended really well throughout and gave them very few opportunities which was pleasing.
“While we looked pretty impotent in attack in the first half, we were much better second half, creating a number of opportunities to get back in the game and were pushing right to the final whistle.”
Meanwhile, Buckingham’s Kirsty Freshwater has been named in England’s U16s squad that travel to Holland to play in a series of internationals.