Sheffield Hallam are on the verge of losing their first Sheffield Varsity in over nine years following a disappointing seventh day.
Postponements of fixtures including the rugby league and the football meant that this years competition wouldn’t be finalised until April 10th however, if University were to take seven of the ten available points from day 7, they would be crowned champions.
The day started well for the Black and Gold, taking a point in the women’s badminton after winning five out of a possible eight matches.
Meanwhile in the sports hall a ‘not sure what to expect’ atmosphere was in the air in anticipation of the Korfball. Mix together the movement of netball with the physicality of basketball along with the scoring frequency of lacrosse, perhaps and well, you get the idea.
Hallam second’s started on the front foot taking early an early 2-1 lead. However after conceding a sloppy against the run of play just before half-time, Hallam began to look nervous. It was University who came quickest out of the traps in the second half, storming into a 4-2 lead and looking value for more. A 3rd Hallam goal for Hallam five minutes before the end proved too little too late as Uni clung on for the all important Varsity point.
The onus was left to the first team to gain a well-needed point for Hallam. The game started well for Hallam who scored a few early goal but Uni refused to lie down, constantly narrowing the gap to just one. The noisy crowd were soon silenced after a ‘RAWR’ was heard from Tommy Derrick. The Hallam number 4 was cautioned for unsporting behaviour in what might proved to be one of Varsity 2013′s strangest moments. Hallam began to get a foothold in the second half, shooting a couple of hoops in quick succession. A wonderful piece of athleticism from Hallam’s Gregg helped his team to put the nail in Uni’s coffin as he dived into the crowd to save a lose ball and assist the final hoop.
Back in the badminton arena Hallam’s men were struggling. After narrow losses for their second and third seeds, the men in maroon found themselves 4-1 down with just the three to play. Strong performances from Craig Barry and James Lait gave Hallam a fighting chance and at 3-4 down _____ held his nerve to ensure that both University’s would take a share of the spoils.
Following the badminton, it was over to the impressive athletics zone. University dominated the early events with a 1,2,3 finish in the women’s 400m and an easy victory for triple jump elite athlete member Jazz Sawyers catching the eye. Although first place finishes were hard to come by, the Hallam girls began to occupy many of the the second and third spots, something which helped them narrow the overall gap and they eventually took the lead in the shape of Moe Sasegbon and Laura Hanagan. The pairing produced fine performances in the women’s 60m hurdles taking a 1 and 2 finishes respectively, a result that would see Hallam take the overall Varsity women’s point.
Meanwhile in the men’s, a false start from the 60m sprint favourite Andy Wilkinson meant Hallam lost out on a possible 7 points, a move that would prove vitally costly in the overall standings. Uni’s Jamie Roden, dubbed the ‘Usain Bolt of the 300m’ strolled to victory in the 3000m, lapping most of his opponents. A wonderful solo performance from Ed Dawes in the 800m put Hallam into a 45-44 lead but University were still to be awarded with 9 points following their 10k victory on Sunday and as such they were to take the overall Varsity point.
At a sunny yet snowy Abbeydale, Hallam’s men’s firsts Hockey team produced one of the performances of Varsity so far with a 10-1 victory over their University rivals. They got off to a flyer following a well worked penalty corner which was scooped to the back post and nodded in. Hallam dominated possession for large spells of the match and two brilliantly worked goals just after half-time took them into an unassailable 6-0 lead. Hallam hit the magnificent seven following a few cheeky lob attempts but not to be completely embarrased, University hit back with a consolation but conceded a further three more with little time in the match remaining. It’s a shame for Hallam that such an impressive scoreline only counted for one overall point, but that’s Varsity.
In the climbing at Foundry Hallam’s Jake Haddock won the highest scoring male with 194 points whilst University took highest scoring female leaving the third point to go the highest scoring team. It was University who just scraped the victory with a 1,342-1,290 over Hallam. They won the overall event 2-1.
Meanwhile the snowy conditions at the downhill cycling meant riders were given over an hours practice time. Hallam quickly moved into a 3.5 second lead and as a result, became outright favourites for victory. But Uni weren’t to give up and rapidly narrowed the deficit to just over a second. Eventually it came down to the last ride where uni pedalled one of the fastest downhills of the day, taking the overall event by just 0.65 seconds.
So, what does this do to the Varsity scores? With 8 points left on offer The University of Sheffield now lead Sheffield Hallam by 35.5 points to 28. If Hallam are to retain their Varsity crown, the best they can hope for is a draw. Is it possible to win every event left in Varsity? Find out on April 10th.