Varsity may be a few months away but the battle was just as fierce this week as the University of Sheffield Lacrosse Men’s 1s played out a thrilling 10-10 draw with city rivals Sheffield Hallam University at Goodwin.
Although Sheffield were unable to avenge their Varsity defeat from April, they most certainly showed intent for the season having been promoted to the BUCS Northern Division 1A, a league that Hallam won last season with a 100 per cent win record.
Despite Hallam being considered the team to beat in the league this season, Sheffield started the match the more confident. The home side were rewarded in the 14th minute, when Cameron Parks opened the scoring, before Elliot Banks cancelled out Parks’ opener to ensure there was nothing to separate the two sides after the first quarter.
This was the story for the rest of the match, as every time one team scored, their goal was quickly cancelled out. Oli Murray put Sheffield ahead within seconds of the start of the second quarter, before Hallam equalised while taking full advantage of having a player extra as Ben Page-Laycock served a penalty on the sidelines.
Sheffield were back ahead as Parks scored his second goal of the game to restore the hosts’ advantage. Hallam then scored two goals in quick succession to ensure Sheffield trailed for the first time in the game at the end of the second quarter.
With just one goal in the match at the halfway stage, the match was tightly poised, and could have gone either way. It looked like it would be Hallam celebrating at the full time-whistle after they extended their lead to 5-3 at the start of the third quarter.
Sheffield showed great character, however, and were soon back on level terms. Marcus Goodlad pulled one back, before Parks completed his hat-trick to make it 5-5. The rest of the quarter saw each goal scored by either side quickly cancelled out. Page-Laycock equalised twice for Sheffield after Hallam had seized the advantage, before he completed his hat-trick to put the home side ahead, only for the visitors to draw back level.
The score was 8-8 heading into the final 20 minutes, setting up a tense final quarter, and that certainly proved to be the case. Goodlad equalised after Hallam had gone ahead, before Tatton put Sheffield ahead with 10 minutes left.
Hallam refused to be beaten though, and equalised to make it 10-10 with five minutes left. Despite both teams pressing for a winner, neither side could find the winning goal and had to settle for a point from their opening game.