Buckingham 2 Bowdon Hightown 1
By Zak Jones
Victory Moves Buckingham To Third In Investec Premier League
On Saturday Buckingham welcomed Bowdon Hightown to Stowe for their latest Investec Premier League match.
The home side were out of the blocks sharply and were very unfortunate not to have been awarded a penalty stroke as early as the second minute when Natasha James was upended in the attacking D. Despite this setback, Buckingham were soon in the ascendency, playing with real intent and tempo and in the process putting together some flowing, attacking phases of play. Katrina Nicholson came close to opening the scoring on three separate occasions but it was Captain and England and Great Britain international Zoe Shipperley who broke the deadlock midway through the half, from Buckingham's first penalty corner. Although her initial shot was half saved by the visiting goalkeeper and cleared off the line, Shipperley made no mistake with the rebound, smashing her volley into the back of the net to give the home side a deserved lead. The visitors had a couple of penalty corners of their own shortly afterwards but could not execute their routines and it was Buckingham who extended their lead after twenty-six minutes. A fine, penetrating, long ball from Shipperley found Player of the Match James, who showed great strength and skill to hold off the last defender and round the goalkeeper for her second goal of the season. Bowdon fought back and had a period of pressure towards the end of the half but the home sides defence stood firm to leave them 2-0 up at the break.
Buckingham began well after the restart and should really have extended their lead in the period immediately after half time. They created a number of chances with some incisive attacking play but unfortunately, could not capitalise on any of the openings they created. Bowdon took full advantage of this and were back in the game after ten minutes of the half when a defensive turnover resulted in a penalty stroke which was calmly dispatched by Welsh International Sian French. With the visitors now pushing for an equaliser, the gaps began to open up further. Buckingham, once again, created numerous opportunities but could not convert, whilst the visitors remained a constant threat on the counter attack. Despite the openings at both ends, neither side was able to capitalise and the game ended 2-1 in the home sides favour. The result means Buckingham remain unbeaten and move up to third place in the table, just two points behind Surbiton and Holcombe. The victory was made even more satisfying for the squad due to the fact that it was Buckingham’s official unveiling of their new 1st team sponsor VacSax, whose Managing Director John Bennett was in attendance and joined the squad following the game (photo attached).
Whilst I was delighted to come away with all three points after draws in our last two outings, the result was still a little frustrating, as I felt it could and should have been more comfortable than it was. Bowdon are a very difficult side to play against, so I was really pleased with our tempo, the way we were able to pass the ball and number of opportunities we created. However, the frustrations lie in the fact we were unable to kill the game off and some lapses in concentration let them back into it. However, those factors are also positives in many ways, as they are all aspects that are within our control and we can look to improve upon.
The 1st XI, the club and I are also delighted to have our new sponsors VacSax on board. They are a company that share our values and like us have a real commitment to excellence. They are a proud British company who have been manufacturing in the UK for the last 21 years and now supply over 50% of UK NHS and Private Sector Hospitals as well as a growing International Market. They are also the only UK manufacturer of a totally antimicrobial suction liner system which helps in the fight against HAI’s (Hospital Acquired Infection) and we are proud to building a relationship with a company that is so committed to quality and making a difference in such a vital area.