A tempestuous game that saw both teams play with less than 15 players for large spells ended in a hard fought 12-12 draw.
The University of Sheffield came into this match on the back of a five match losing streak stretching back to December, hoping to avenge their 5-17 defeat from last year. The University of Hallam meanwhile were looking to carry on their winning run against Uni, having beaten them 24-7 last time out. Neither team came into the tie as favourites, with Uni’s slightly higher league position being balanced out by Hallam’s recent form against them.
Uni started brightly from the Hallam kick-off, driving forward with several incisive runs from Emily Bentley. Although the game became quite scrappy, that changed after a Hallam turnover led to a well worked Uni try scored in the 10th minute by (Lucy Davies?). The difficult conversion from the far left corner of the pitch was missed by Lauren Brookshaw. The wet, slippery conditions did not help matters, with several fumbled catches and knock-ons resulting in a very stop start game punctuated by numerous scrums. The rivalry fuelled passion was also evident, with thumping tackles flying in from both sides. Hallam’s Lauren Bolger was sent to the sin bin in the 30th minute for one such tackle which the referee deemed to be too dangerous. Uni capitalised on this player advantage, with the effervescent Eleanor Moss spotting a hole in the Hallam defence and streaking clear to score a try under the posts in the 35th minute. The try was then converted by Brookshaw to put Uni up 12-0. Hallam would have the final say however for the first half, capitalising on a late Uni sin bin for Emily Topping and scoring in additional time through a powerful run from Jessica Staley-Boyle. This was then converted from a central position by Hannah Courtney to take the score to 12-7 at half time.
The second half saw Elli Cousins sent off in the 51st minute for a second dangerously high challenge just minutes after Lauren Bolger had been sent again to the sin bin. Staunch Hallam defending however ensured that Uni couldn’t press the advantage, with Hallam holding on in a scrappy game of rugby. Uni then came under some pressure themselves, as the 14 woman Hallam team desperately tried to keep themselves in the match. Hallam’s pressure paid off in the 79th minute, as a Uni player was sin binned and they immediately took advantage of the player count being equal again to power through and score a try, levelling the scores at 12-12. Despite the large amount of additional time for two lengthy injury delays, neither team managed to score again and the game finished 12-12.