Clifton 3 Buckingham 4
Buckingham Keep Playoff Hopes Alive with Vital Win
On Saturday, on a snowy St Patricks day, Buckingham travelled away to Bristol for a pivotal match against Clifton Robinsons. Buckingham needed a win in order to keep their hopes of a top four finish alive and also to mathematically guarantee themselves a place in the Investec Premier League next season, whilst their hosts were in a bottom half of the table fighting to avoid relegation. Buckingham started well, took an early lead courtesy of Abbie Brant and looked in control of the game. However, a lack of defensive concentration let Clifton back into the contest when they executed a very well drilled penalty corner mid-way through the half. This meant the two teams went into the break level. Half time caused a moment of drama for the spectators, officials and players alike, as Buckingham came out of the changing rooms only to find the umpires had started the second half without them. Frankie Scott
was the only Buckingham player able to get onto the pitch and she made a courageous effort to stop a goal being scored but unfortunately it was to no avail, as she was no match for the whole of the home side. Needless to say this touched a nerve with Buckingham who now found themselves 2-1 down. However, they responded brilliantly and scored two quick goals, the first through Brant, on forty-one minutes to make the score 2-2. Buckingham then deservedly took the lead five minutes later through Natasha James. Clifton were determined to come away from the game with something and a second penalty corner was superbly executed by Claire Thomas to make the score 3-3, just a couple of minutes later. Both sides were pushing for the win which resulted in the game becoming somewhat frantic and heated. Despite all these distractions, Buckingham showed great character to maintain their composure and seal the win. Captain Kitty Higgins
, doing what she does best, finishing off a trade mark penalty corner routine in the fifty-seventh minute for Buckingham to secure a hugely important 4-3 victory. The result means that Buckingham have secured premier league hockey for next season, a fantastic achievement for the club with two games to still play and can now focus on going all-out for a place in the top four playoffs. Unfortunately, Buckingham’s rearranged league game against Bowdon on Sunday was cancelled once again, so the side still have two league games to play as well as a cup 1/4 final.