The University of Sheffield Netball 2s have reached the last 16 of the Northern Conference Cup after beating Northumbria University 3s 39-34 in a very close match.
Sheffield came into the match on an unbeaten run in the league, while Northumbria are also top of their current league as well, making for a well-matched encounter between two in-form teams.
Once the match began it was plain to see why both teams were top of their respected leagues, as Northumbria were making some great passing displays, as well as showing off some sublime skill to take the lead early in the match.
However, Sheffield responded almost immediately with some superb shots from very tight angles to level it up. Both teams went into the break on level terms, at 8-8.
The second quarter started just like the first quarter, with some great end to end play and both teams trading goals, but nobody really opening up a secure lead. However, once the score reached 16-16, Sheffield managed to capitalise on a string of sloppy Northumbria passes to snatch the lead just before halftime, making it 22-17.
Cup ties can be heated affairs, and this one was no different. The third quarter started off with a few collisions coming from either side, with both sets of players desperate to extend their stay in the cup. Despite Northumbria getting some more momentum as the half went on, Sheffield’s defence held strong, and they managed to hold the lead going into the final break with the score at 30-26.
As soon as the sides began the final quarter, Northumbria struck quickly to remind their hosts that were not out the match just yet. The visitors managed to surprise Sheffield with a very quick offensive display to take the game to 31-30. However, the quality of Sheffield managed to overcome this pressure, and after some brilliant, incisive passing, they put the game to bed to make them the winners at 39-34.
Sheffield captain Megan Howard, told Forge Sport: “It was a very tough game but we all pulled together and we absolutely smashed it.”
Sheffield’s Wing Attack Chantal Rees picked up the player of the match award at the end for her amazing work in orchestrating some key Sheffield attacks and even adding to the goal tally herself with some great goals.
After this win, Sheffield 2s will join the Sheffield 1s in the last 16, and will face either York 1s, who they beat recently in the league or Liverpool 2s. Their next league match will be against Hull 2s, who currently sit in fourth place.