University of Sheffield 14-27 Sheffield Hallam University
American Football icon Vince Lombardi once said that perfection is not attainable, but if you chase it, you can still achieve excellence. In some way, it provided the narrative for Hallam Warriors’ Varsity clash against Sheffield Sabres as the Warriors won 27-14.
Watch Hallam Warriors creep to victory against Sheffield Sabres
Earlier this year Hallam beat Uni of 75-12 in a demolition job. The match on the shining green astro turf at Goodwin told a tale of a Sabres side eager not to be embarrassed again.
In front of the 200 partisan crowd, dressed in yellow and black and maroon, the 50 plus strong squads entered the field with a roar of emotion and ambition.
Hallam, led by the charismatic Olamide Olagbaju, won the toss and looked to take the game to the Sabres early on.
To the eye, American Football is judged by some as boring and slow, but in the blazing sun, the first three minutes were frantic, frenetic and ferocious.
The Warriors’, who had recently lost to Leeds Beckett in their second Division One Northern Final in three years, were confident but in a blink of an eye fell behind.
After winning the toss and electing to kick the Sabres knew that they could catch their complacent opponents off guard, Mark Price scoring a touchdown within 30 seconds of play. An extra two points from Rowan Huggins put the home side 8-0 to the good.
The response was instant. After Uni of failed to gain ten yards in four downs the Warriors’ offence entered the game and Ronel Thomas, Hallam’s wide receiver, found space down the left-hand side to burst through to the end zone. Thomas Martin decided to take the one point through a kick and bring down the score-line deficit to just one.
Within half a minute the Sabres were back in front, as the black and gold faithful leapt up in joy. Uni of retained possession after successfully making 30 yards, with quarterback James Wege finding Huggins in space for the touchdown.
After failing to gain the extra points, Hallam used that momentum swing to their favour, Reece McGuiness scoring a touchdown after breaking past the Sabres’ cornerback.
Martin, again, played it safe and took the extra point to level up the score at 14-14, with the next 20 minutes a battle of attrition, patience and experience. Both teams struggled to utilise their quarterbacks, losing possession frequently.
The Sabres’ wide receivers fumbled the ball too often when Wege found them, but the Warriors’ linebackers were just too good and in the end forced Wege off with an injury. Bruno Schatten, Uni of’s replacement, raced onto the field but couldn’t get into his rhythm as Hallam dictated the game.
Once the Warrior’s found confidence in their defence, the quarterback David Brown became an ever-present threat when they had the ball, summed up by his third quarter touchdown to put Hallam in front for the first time in the game.
And the away side never looked back. A touchdown from Keith Kapishe, who raced into the end zone down the left, put the result in any doubt.
An injury to the Sabres’ Rob Ebbatson compounded their misery and with just two minutes to go looked to Schatten to find the space out wide, but it was not to be. By this stage Uni of needed to show the dynamism of the Sheffield Sabrecat’s half-time performance, but it was obvious that the fuel tank had nearly run out.
Many predicted that Hallam would slaughter their opponents in an arrogant fashion, but when doubted Uni of looked at the theory of winning, not stats, and nearly proved everyone wrong.