Canterbury 0 Buckingham 4
By Zak Jones
Buckingham Bounce Back To Winning Ways
With the late afternoon match delayed by fifteen minutes due to traffic issues on the M25, Buckingham's game against Canterbury finally got underway. Despite the slightly rushed preparation, Buckingham got off to a fast start, creating a penalty corner and scoring opportunity inside the first two minutes. However, both were dealt with by the home sides goalkeeper. Buckingham were dominant in the first quarter but Canterbury’s defence withstood all the pressure until the nineteenth minute, when a fantastic long pass from Zoe Shipperley saw Wales international Eloise Laity place an unstoppable deflection into the top corner for a deserved lead. Against the run of play, the home side fashioned a couple of penalty corner opportunities and Buckingham were thankful to Ella Jackson and the width of the post to remain in the lead. This escape was probably the warning the visitors needed and they immediately reverted to playing their high tempo hockey. After a number of chances and penalty corners, their perseverance was finally rewarded when Shipperley smashed a fierce shot home from Buckingham's fifth penalty corner, with just a minute to go to half time. The score doubled Buckingham’s lead, which which was no more than their first half efforts deserved.
Buckingham came out firing again at the start of the second half, earning two penalty corners inside the opening minute but they were unable to convert. However, the visitors were 3-0 up just a couple of minutes later, when some good build up play down the left hand side resulted in Player of The Match Tash James slotting home from close range, to extend Buckingham's lead. The scoreline seemed to cause a loss of focus, which in turn resulted in a very scrappy period of play, as Buckingham lost all their fluidity and tempo in attack. It was early in this period that the home side managed their only real shot on target as well as bringing another good save from Jackson from another penalty corner. In the final ten minutes Buckingham started to find their rhythm again as the game opened up. A few chances came and went but a fantastic run and pinpoint, weighted pass from Laity put fellow Wales international Phoebe Richards through and she finished superbly past the onrushing goalkeeper to make it 4-0 with five minutes to play. Despite creating another couple of openings, Buckingham could not add to the score but this did not detract from what was a very pleasing result away from home. The victory combined with other results also saw Buckingham move back up to second in the Investec Premier League, behind reigning champions Surbiton. It is Surbiton who they take on at Sugden Road in Saturday nights double header, involving games between the top two mens and women's sides in the country.
4pm Surbiton v Buckingham (Women)
6pm Surbiton v Hampstead and Westminster (Men)
Despite the very pleasing 4-0 scoreline. I actually didn't feel we played particularly well at times, especially in the second half after we went 3-0 up. I thought we got a bit sloppy and started to think about the scoreline, rather than stick to our processes and principles, which is always dangerous and meant that much of the second period was scrappy. However, we started really well and our conversion rate of D penetrations to outcomes was far better than last week. That is positive progress, given that we spent a-lot of time last week working on that aspect. It was also great to keep a clean sheet and put +4 in our goal difference column. This week is a huge one and we are really looking forward to what should be a fantastic top of the table clash on Saturday, in front of a decent crowd.