The University of Sheffield Netball 2s fell to a 52-33 defeat against Sheffield Hallam despite a strong start at EIS.
Sheffield had led 7-2 early on, but the side, for whom Ellie Hands and Frankie Bunting scored 10 and 12 points respectively, could not hold on.
Hallam finished top of the BUCS Northern 3B division this season, while Sheffield won nine games out of 10 to win the Northern 4B, but there was no sign of a gap in quality as the latter raced out of the blocks, going 5-0 up in three and a half minutes.
Hands and Bunting kept the scoring up for Sheffield with captain Rebecca Haynes providing plenty of chances from Wing Attack, but Hallam began edging their way back into the game and a 9-6 advantage soon turned into a 10-11 deficit.
That transition had straddled the first and second quarters, and it was in the latter that Hallam’s quality started to tell.
Tenacious defending and sharp interceptions foiled multiple Sheffield attacks, and a steady stream of scores meant allam had established a 24-17 lead by the halfway stage.
Mae Hudson entered in place of Hands for the third quarter, and she and Bunting found the target with more consistency, but Hallam continued to capitalised on errors to press home their advantage.
Only briefly did Sheffield restrict their opponents to a lead of just three points, and the BUCS Northern 4B champions showed why they have lost just two league matches all campaign.
Leading by five going into the final quarter, Hallam scored 16 of the next 17 points with only Hudson, who scored nine times in her stint as Goal Attack managing a reply.
Sheffield’s sloppiness in possession was ruthlessly punished, and though Bunting netted twice more in the closing seconds, it was a convincing victory for Hallam.