Buckingham Hockey Club head coach Zak Jones was encouraged by his side’s performance despite losing 4-1 to Canterbury in their first Investec Premier Division match since November.
The result, combined with Bowdon’s win over Holcombe, sees Buckingham drop back into the relegation zone.
However, Jones remained upbeat afterwards, saying: “It was another pleasing performance where once again we competed in so many areas.
“However, Canterbury showed their experience and why they have consistently been one of best sides in the country by taking their opportunities when they came.
“This ability to execute when the opportunities arise is an area we will continue to work on in training as it is the next stage in our development as a squad.”
Having had two-month break, Buckingham resumed their league campaign when they welcome Canterbury to Stowe School on Saturday, but it was the visitors who started well and forced the hosts onto the back foot with South African international Jen Wilson opening the scoring as early as the eighth minute.
Buckingham could have found themselves further behind but for some fine goalkeeping from Anna Searle.
Despite this poor opening spell, though, Buckingham fought their way back into the match and were on level terms on 15 minutes when Zoe Shipperley smashed the ball home from their first penalty corner.
However, just four minutes later, it was Canterbury’s Great Britain international and recently crowned Player of the Season Susannah Townsend who restored the visitors’ advantage.
Shipperley had another fierce penalty corner strike cleared off the line shortly afterwards but despite chances for both sides, the score remained 2-1 at the break.
Buckingham enjoyed some early pressure in the second half but they failed to capitalise on their good play and Townsend made them pay when she extended Canterbury’s lead.
The home side continued to create a number of openings but again they couldn’t take advantage and instead it was the visitors who scored again to clinch a 4-1 victory.
There was, however, some good news for the club as Great Britain and Scotland international Morag Mclellan was selected to travel to Spain with the Great Britain squad this week for a three test series against their hosts.
Buckingham face another daunting task this weekend when they host leaders Surbiton.