After victories for the University of Sheffield in Varsity in 2014 and 2013, Hallam were looking to bounce back, despite losing the winter Varsity in January and trailing 5-0 before day 1 began hopes were high for the Hallam teams.
The first day began with athletics and a victory for the women’s team and a narrow defeat for the men’s team, the cycling road time trial finished in another defeat for Hallam. The Sports Park action then began with the cricket and a whitewash of wins came for both the men and the women to take the points in the cricket. The women’s football 1’s and 2’s comfortably secured wins in both matches to claim the points. The rugby Union teams of the men and women dominated to take a 3-0 win in union, whilst the rugby league suffered a defeat in the men’s 2’s but triumphed in the men’s 1st match. The American football and the steel city super bowl ended the first day and the first live broadcast of Varsity 2015 on YouTube with a convincing victory for the Hallam Warriors of 42-6 against the Sheffield Sabres. The overall score after day 1 was reduced to 11-9 in favour of the University of Sheffield.
The second day featured three events; the golf, equestrian and the ice hockey 2’s. It was a mixed day for Hallam as the University dominated to win the golf, whilst the ice hockey 2’s had a thrilling end to end game but a 0-0 draw and the Hallam equestrian team saddled to victory. Meaning the score at the end of day 2 was 12.5-10.5 in favour of the University of Sheffield.
Day 3 was time for the men’s football varsity at the Norton Playing Fields, with a surprisingly disappointing day for the Hallam teams. The 1st team hit the woodwork on numerous occasions and failed to convert a variety of chances to slump to a 1-0 defeat, whilst the men’s 3’s suffered a crushing 3-0 defeat. So it was left to the men’s 2’s to try and salvage something on the day for Hallam and they duly obliged with a 91st minute equaliser by Correia from the penalty spot to make it a 1-1 draw to gain half a point. No victory for the men’s football meaning the overall lead for the University of Sheffield increased to 15-11.
The fourth day started early for the rowing teams competing at the Damflask Reservoir. The University of Sheffield secured the points with wins in the men’s and women’s categories claiming an 8-1 victory and the crucial point. Next up was the sailing and the Hallam team didn’t disappoint with victories in three team races and two paired races meaning the points were to go to Hallam. To end the day was an electric atmosphere at the Octagon awaiting the boxing varsity. After four early fights, Chuh Fat Ma got proceedings underway with defeat on points in the first bout before James Prescott was robbed of the victory on points in the second bout. Charlie Perfitt then stepped up to face Robert Dixon of the University of Sheffield to bring Hallam back into contention for the point, and he duly did so with the only knockout of the night within 40 seconds of the bell after an electric start. After worrying scenes at the arena and careful checking by the first aid team, Robert Dixon got to his feet to a rapturous applause from both university fans. So it was left to Brock Neal-Roberts to gain a draw in the boxing for Hallam but his opponent Yaseen Noorani was too strong and held on to the victory for the University of Sheffield Boxing club meaning the overall score was now at 18-12 to the University of Sheffield.
Sunday and the time for the triathlon and trampolining and the triathlon began the day with victory over the University of Sheffield. The trampolining took place at Goodwin and it was a sterling effort from Hallam who claimed victory in the advanced category and inter-advanced, but the University of Sheffield gained the point with a 21-15 triumph. This left the University of Sheffield at an advantage of 19-13 overall going into the final three days.
This was the day Varsity entered the English Institute of Sport and another day of live broadcasting on YouTube for Sheffield Hallam. The women’s volleyball got the day underway in a thrilling and close encounter that the University of Sheffield eventually won 3-1. The men’s volleyball took over and claimed a victory to earn a point in the volleyball. The women’s and men’s badminton teams took to the courts to begin battle in a hotly contested set of matches, with Hallam victorious in the men’s 1st and women’s categories and a 4-4 draw for the men’s 2’s ended a good effort for the Hallam team. A domineering triumph of 116-12 for the women’s basketball 1st and last minute excitement in the Netball 3’s game for a tremendous comeback for Hallam to win 20-28 over the University of Sheffield brought the overall score to within a point in favour of University of Sheffield.
Meanwhile away from the excitement at the EISS the BMX Varsity took place, and the Hallam team claimed a first ever victory in Hallam cycling’s history over the University of Sheffield to tie the points before the final events at the EISS. The Netball 2’s narrowly missed out on a point with a 37-36 defeat in another epic match, up next was the basketball men’s 1st team who dominated with 10 different players over the four quarters to win 94-75 and draw the points level once more. The men’s table tennis suffered defeat to the University of Sheffield whilst the Netball 1st could not overcome a 5 goal deficit in the final ten minutes to lose 35-30. The men’s futsal finished the day with a 5-1 defeat, meaning the overall score stood at 25-22 to the University of Sheffield.
The penultimate day and the hockey and the tennis could finally get their varsity started. The hockey saw a tremendous effort from Hallam winning three of the matches, both men’s teams triumphed 2-1 and 8-4 respectfully whilst the women’s 2’s won 2-0 but sadly a defeat was incurred by Hallam in a 4-0 loss for the women’s 1st team. These results made the overall score 30.5 25.5 going into the final day of war.
The final day and plenty to play for at venues across Sheffield. Ponds Forge arena entered play with the swimming and Hallam claiming victory for both the men’s and women’s teams to start the day off perfectly. Sadly that was not to last as both of the canoe polo teams slummed to defeats 8-0 and 11-1, whilst the men and women’s water polo teams ended eight years of hurt to win 23-7 and 30-9 over the University of Sheffield. Unfortunately their efforts were not enough as it was confirmed shortly after that the University of Sheffield had won Varsity 2015 after securing wins in the ultimate frisbee and the lacrosse women’s event. Pride however, was still to play for and Hallam certainly ended on a high with triumphs in the women’s hockey 3’s match and korfball. Both korfball teams were victorious with 6-4 and 11-10 wins. This left the final, and the last opportunity for Hallam to end 2015 on a high and with a sell-out crowd and a record for attendance outside of North America for a Varsity ice hockey match the Hallam team delivered to claim a 2-1 victory.
Certainly Varsity 2015 was a spectacular show of great performances and a hunger to win for both universities. Although the University of Sheffield won, Hallam can definitely take pride in their performance and I’m sure we will bounce back even stronger in 2016!