New-look Buckingham in positive spirits ahead of season opener

Leanne Grimsley
Leanne Grimsley

Following a positive pre-season, which has included wins over conference sides St Albans, Oxford Hawks, Sutton Coldfield and draws with East Grinstead and Birmingham University, Buckingham travelled to current champions Surbiton for their final fixture before their Investec Premier League campaign begins on Saturday at home to Reading.

With an unusual 10am push back, the early start seemed to affect Buckingham more than the home side as Surbiton dominated the early exchanges and Buckingham struggled to maintain possession.

Gradually the visitors battled back into the game and managed to get into half-time on level terms.

The second half was a far more even affair with both sides creating good opportunities. However, it was the home side who broke the deadlock after ten minutes when they executed a slick penalty corner routine to deflect the ball into the net, leaving away goalkeeper Bella Williamson no chance.

Buckingham refused to lie down, though, and were level shortly afterwards as Leanne Grimsley returned the favour by deflecting home Buckingham’s own well-worked penalty corner routine.

Despite further chances for both sides, neither could add to the scoreline and the game ended 1-1.

Following a tough baptism in the Investec Premier League and successful fight to stay up via the play-offs last season, the 1stXI have regrouped over the summer. A new and strengthened squad are looking forward to the coming league campaign and the considerable challenges that their second season in the Investec Premier League will pose.

The team have made a number of new signings in the off season with Welsh internationals Phoebe Richards and Becca Heywood brought in from Beeston and Firebrands respectively, while also signing are midfielder Lottie Porter from St Albans, forward Abbie Brant previously of Beeston and experienced Premier League keeper Bella Williamson.

Buckingham kick-off their campaign at midday on Saturday against Reading.