Buckingham earn top-flight status

Buckingham celebrate promotion in the Premier Division at the Investec Women's Finals Weekend 450x299

Buckingham 2 (1)

Zoe Shipperley 21, 70 (PC, PC)

Sutton Coldfield 0 (0)

In what was a closely-fought encounter, Buckingham secured their place in next year’s Premier Division with a gutsy 2-0 victory over Sutton Coldfield.
Buckingham went into their final fixture needing a win to secure Premier Division status next season; for Sutton Coldfield a draw would have been enough to stay in the top flight.

The first half saw Buckingham largely dominate possession with a number of early chances for the team in black. Buckingham’s Katrina Nicholson made a great attempt on goal in the opening minutes forcing Sutton Coldfield’s keeper, Batsford into making an important save. This was followed by Buckingham’s Jo Ellis almost giving her team an early lead with a great solo effort weaving her way into the circle forcing Batsford into making another great save.

The early pressure from Buckingham eventually resulted in a penalty corner which was blocked efficiently by Emma McCabe. A second penalty corner followed shortly for Buckingham, given for obstruction. Sam Sandham took the penalty but another great save from Batsford kept Buckingham off the score sheet. Sutton Coldfield made a good shot on goal to break the run of play at the end of the opening quarter but failed to capitalise as Laura Price’s shot drifted wide of the goal.

It was a third penalty corner which gave Buckingham the lead. A well worked routine in the 20th minute saw captain Zoe Shipperley convert what was a well-deserved lead for her team. Sutton had a couple of chances in the last ten minutes of the first half, however they were unable to capitalise.  A couple of last minute opportunities for the team in pink saw Sutton defend brilliantly and keep an equalising goal at bay. The first half ended 1-0 to Buckingham.

The second half got underway with a much stronger performance from Sutton Coldfield. Both teams had a number of chances to add their efforts to the score sheet. Sutton’s Emma McCabe made a great tackle and pass which resulted in a foot in the circle and a penalty corner to her side. Sutton, however were unable to convert their penalty and minutes later a green card was given to Buckingham’s Katrina Nicholson. On her return to the pitch, Nicholson almost put her side two goals ahead with a good shot on goal saved by Batsford.

It came down to the last five minutes of the match with both teams still very much in with a chance of Premier Division hockey. Sutton Coldfield had a chance from a penalty corner but were unable to find the target and it was Buckingham who had the final word. Captain Shipperley fired home her second goal of the day to give her team a well-deserved 2-0 win and promotion into the Premier Division on their fourth attempt.

Speaking after the game, Buckingham captain and goal scorer Zoe Shipperley was immensely proud of her team. “It wasn’t our best performance but we were tough and resilient. Sutton pressed us really hard in the second half and we just had to dig deep. It’s an unbelievable feeling to secure promotion and I’m absolutely thrilled to be in the Premiership next year – bring it on! Hopefully we can continue the good work and keep moving forward.”