Buckingham Claim Division 1 Jaffa Super 6's Division 1 Title
By Zak Jones
Buckingham Begin 2018 With A Bang Earning Promotion Back Into The Indoor Premier League After a Years Absence
Over the past two weekends the 1st XI have been playing two games a day in the Division 1 Super 6’s indoor league.
The first weekend took place in Bristol, where the side started with a solid 3-2 win against the University of Birmingham. They then dispatched St Albans 6-1 later that afternoon, to sit on maximum points at the end of day one. The following morning the side came through a tight match, defeating Surbiton 3-2. Buckingham had looked comfortable and in control after going 2-0 up inside the first five minutes, through Katrina Nicholson and Rebecca Van Berkel but with ten minutes remaining, two quick goals brought Surbiton level. However, the girls showed great composure, with Van Berkel netting the winner three minutes from time for a very important victory. Next they took on Harleston Magpies and ran out comfortable 6-0 winners, to sit in first place following the first round of matches.
Last weekend, the the tournament moved to Nottingham where Buckingham once again came through a tough and physical encounter to beat fellow title contenders Sevenoaks 2-1, with goals from Abbie Brant and Van Berkel. The only down side was that during the game they lost the outstanding Nicholson with a nasty hand injury. In their next match, Buckingham raced into a 4-0 lead by half time and although the result was never in doubt, they struggled to find their rhythm in the second half, eventually running out 4-2 winners.
Despite being without key players Nicholson and Kitty Higgins and with captain Alex Naughalty playing through the pain of a fractured foot. Going into the final day, Buckingham knew that a single point from their final two matches would see them crowned champions. Their goal was duly achieved with an impressive and comprehensive 7-1 victory over Brooklands Manchester University. With the title in the bag and nothing really riding on their final game, the now somewhat depleted squad went into the final match determined to try and go 8 from 8. In the event a fantastic game of indoor ensued between the best two sides in the competition. With under a minute to go, the game was evenly poised at 4-4, Beeston having removed their goal keeper in an effort to claim the win they needed, in order to finish second and secure promotion. With just twenty seconds remaining, Buckingham broke out of defence and Brant looked to have scored the winner into an empty net but for some reason the goal was controversially chalked off and Beeston awarded a free hit in the Buckingham half. From the restart Beeston earned a penalty corner on the final whistle. Despite blocking the first attempt, another corner was awarded and Beeston scored to take the game 5-4 and secure second spot in the table, three points behind champions Buckingham.
"I am really proud of the indoor crew. They created another little bit of club history. Although we were promoted into the premier league two years ago, it was as runners up. This time it is as champions! This is the first time ever that Buckingham have won the Division 1 Indoor Title. The girls epitomised what Buckingham is about throughout the competition. They worked hard for each other played with real intensity and as well as playing some very good indoor hockey, they showed great spirit, resilience and composure when it was required which bodes really well for the second half of the season. We will look to take that confidence and feel-good factor back outdoors when we return to outdoor training on Tuesday. We then have a couple of weeks preparation to build towards the resumption of the league, which for us starts with a tough away fixture agains fourth placed University of Birmingham on Sunday 4th February."