It was a familiar story for Buckingham Hockey Club at the weekend as they again came up agonisingly short despite another spirited and determined performance against Investec Premier Division league leaders University of Birmingham.
It’s been a recurring theme this season for the club who remain bottom of the table ahead of the Christmas break.
The high-flying home side started the sharper and enjoyed the early pressure but Buckingham weathered the storm and it was they who had the first real opportunity of the game with a penalty corner in the fifth minute. Unfortunately, Leanne Grimsley’s reverse deflection from a well-worked routine flashed just over the bar with the goalkeeper beaten.
Chances were few and far between in an even first half as Phoebe Richards and Fiona Farley both came close for Buckingham while Birmingham went even closer when they struck the woodwork before the teams went into half-time all square.
The second half began with Birmingham having the slightly better of possession and territory, however it was Buckingham who again carved out a decent opportunity to break the deadlock when Lottie Porter’s shot ran along the goal line behind the home goalkeeper but somehow stayed out of the net.
With both sides playing attacking hockey, there were openings at both ends but neither side were able to capitalise until Buckingham gifted the Birmingham students only their third penalty corner.
The home side’s captain fired the ball into the bottom corner for a 54th minute lead.
Birmingham pushed for a second but Buckingham’s defence, led by player of the match Aly Billington, held firm and kept themselves in the match as they remained just one behind.
The visitors then pushed forward in search of a late equaliser as Richards three times forced the home keeper into action but despite winning two penalty corners, Buckingham were unable to break through and slipped to another defeat.
Head coach Zak Jones said afterwards: “At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I was once again very proud of the performance but frustrated with the result.
“I felt like we deserved something out of the game but unfortunately in our sport you don’t always get what you deserve.
“However, it was another good performance and we will continue to work hard, improve and build on the positives from this half of the season when we get back to outdoor in January.
“Our focus now moves to indoor, so the squad will enjoy the break from league hockey, recharge their batteries while working hard on their physical conditioning and fitness during this period in order to hit the ground running when the league resumes in February.”
Buckingham remain bottom of the Premier Division with two points from 11 games, five behind the team above them.