The Varsity point was shared in the Women’s Hockey 3s after the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam drew 1-1 in a hard-fought encounter at Goodwin Sports Centre.
Uni of were looking to put a challenging BUCS league campaign behind them, while Sheffield Hallam – who play two leagues below their counterparts – enjoyed an impressive season by finishing second in their respective league.
In glorious twilight conditions, the opening stages lacked momentum until Uni of ramped up the pressure with consecutive penalty corners, but Sheffield Hallam’s defence withheld the pressure.
In symmetrical fashion, two more penalty corners went in favour of Uni of, but again they couldn’t find a way through a stubborn Hallam defence.
The onslaught of pressure paid off as Martha Kieran broke the deadlock with a tidy close-range finish after another penalty corner.
Sheffield Hallam grew into the game after conceding and began to creep past the Uni of’s 23-metre line, but lacked any serious threat to test Nicola Rhodes in the Uni of Sheffield goal.
The first half ended 1-0 to the University of Sheffield, leaving Sheffield Hallam with a challenge to overcome in the second period.
Uni of again took control of the match and they came close to doubling their lead minutes after the restart. A cross was fizzed across the box by Anna Durkin, but it eluded Rachel Stratton’s outstretched hockey stick.
The miss proved costly as Sheffield Hallam levelled with a clinical finish from their first penalty corner of the match.
Just moments later, Uni of forward Frances Wilson missed the target after she was found by a defence-splitting pass by Hannah Barrett. Their frustration in front of goal was growing.
In a topsy-turvy second period, the pressure was ramped up on the Hallam defence again as Uni of sought desperately to score.
A goalmouth scramble ensued but they were stopped in their tracks by some fantastic goalkeeping.
Under a wave of black and gold pressure, Sheffield Hallam counter-attacked and won consecutive short corners. However, Uni of withstood the attack with Freya Tremble defending well in the situation.
The game showed no signs of petering out as Anna Durkin weaved her way through Sheffield Hallam’s final third with a mazy dribble and passed to Hannah Barrett whose shot went agonisingly wide.
The chance went begging and so too did victory as it proved to be the final play of the match in a gutsy, entertaining encounter.