Sheffield Hallam reduced the overall score to just two points yesterday as varsity hit fever pitch at the English Institute of Sport. A total of thirteen points were up for grabs across a wide range of sports including hockey, badminton and volleyball. The main event of the day however was between both Universities’ basketball teams, and the game certainly lived up to expectations.
After a relatively nervous and tight first quarter the men’s team began to open up a vast lead in the second and the team began to look more comfortable as the game went on. Zach Gachette showed his class and proved why he is now playing for the British basketball cup winners. Displaying some fine basketball and even producing the odd slam dunk, much to the Hallam’s crowd delight. Hallam ended the second quarter leading 52-30 and it was going to take a minor miracle for Sheffield Uni to force a comeback. Any hope’s appeared to be dashed by the new addition this year of Nick Lewis, the 19 year old point guard from Canada seemingly shooting three points for fun, toying with the University team. Hallam ran out comfortable winners in the end, with the match finishing 99-59, a solid performance from the Hallam firsts who were always favourites to take the point.
It was a similar story for the women’s team two hours earlier. A rampant display by the girls from the start lead to them easing to victory over their city rivals. After finishing the second quarter with a 52 point lead it became apparent that the win was sealed and the real question was whether they could surpass the 100 point mark. The team didn’t disappoint and the score ended 104-37.
The day didn’t all go Hallam’s way however as the University took the point in the match between the netball first teams. Uni raced into a 9-1 lead before the first quarter had ended and Hallam were struggling to get any sort of foothold on the game. A dismal first quarter proved costly for the girls who were always facing an uphill challenge against a strong Sheffield University outfit. Hallam began to find a way into the match producing some fine netball leading to some well worked goals. But the girls began to become frustrated as a stern University side refused to roll over. 42-24 was the final score, and the University girls celebrated in style, running onto the court to celebrate with their team mates after the final whistle blew.
One of the highlights of the day proved to be the futsal. For all those that are unsure, the sport is pretty much football played inside. Both Universities’ had a lot of support with a full crowd, producing an electric atmosphere. Sheffield University dominated the opening half going four goals ahead. But a resurgent Hallam side were determined not to give up and they got the score back to 6-4, and a comeback looked possible. A quick fire three goals however put an end to Hallam’s challenge and despite a goal from the Hallam goalkeeper Mitzu late on in the second the score ended 12-6 to Uni.
It was a tight affair between the women’s volleyball team earlier on in the day. Hallam looked as if they could take the first set when they went 21-20 ahead, but Uni battled hard and took the set narrowly, 25-23. The Hallam side didn’t let their head’s drop though, and they took the second set and were hopeful of going on to win the match. But Uni stepped up a gear in the third and fourth, eventually running out winners three sets to one. The men’s volleyball tie proved to be a lot more one sided, Hallam took the first, dropping just 12 points, and from then there was no looking back for the team, winning in straight sets.
Going into the last two days of competition Hallam are just two points behind University with a lot of points still on offer. Hallam will remain upbeat that this time last year we were slightly further behind, and the varsity trophy could well make its way back to us for the tenth year in a row.
Hallam 3’s 21 – 33 University 3’s
Hallam 2’s 50 – 28 University 2’s
Hallam 1’s 24 – 42 University 1’s
Women’s: Hallam 1 – 3 University
Men’s: Hallam 3 – 0 University
Hallam Men’s 1’s 99 – 59 University Men’s 1’s
Hallam Women’s 1’s 104 – 37 University Women’s 1’s
Hallam Women’s 2’s 127 – 12 University Women’s 2’s
Hallam Men’s 2’s 57 – 76 University Men’s 2’s
Men’s: Hallam 6 – 12 University
Hallam Men’s 2’s 2 – 0 University Men’s 2’s