October 24 marked the first round of BUCS fixtures which reaped the benefits of the wide scale developments at Norton Sports Park.
New 3G and astroturf pitches have been installed at the site to the south of Sheffield, catering for rugby, football and hockey. These new additions accompany the already outstanding facilities which include five 11-a-side grass football pitches and two full size rugby pitches, as well as surfaces suitable for cricket, nine-a-side football, lacrosse, ultimate Frisbee and American football. The pavilion has also been refurbished which enhances the thoroughly professional set-up.
Speaking to Sport Sheffield, Director of Sport and Physical Activity Andy Cox highlighted the significance of the improvements.
“I am delighted to be up at Norton Sports Park,” he said.
“It’s been here since 1910, so I’m absolutely delighted we can get students using the facilities.”
He was also clear that the new-look Norton will bring benefits both to the university and the region as a whole.
“It’s not only for students, it’s going to be for the community as well so it’s going to be a fantastic asset for everyone in this area,” he added.
“We’ve spent a considerable investment from the university: multi-million pounds to put [in] two artificial grass pitches, a sand dressed hockey pitch and a 3G rugby and football pitch as well, so it’s multi-sport, and it’s going to be great that we can use it for all sorts of different things and different events.
“By having these fantastic facilities it’s going to enable us to hopefully recruit some more talent and to add to the ones that we’re developing at the moment, but having the new facilities [and] new surfaces should enable top class sport to be played here for rugby, lacrosse, football and hockey.”
The Black and Golds christened a new era with some fine successes.
The first fixture on one of the new 3G pitches could scarcely have gone better, as the Ultimate Frisbee Men’s 1s hammered their counterparts from Sheffield Hallam 15-1.
After that, on one of the new astroturfs, Uni of’s Hockey Men’s 4s recorded an 11-0 rout against the University of Huddersfield’s Men’s 1s.
Success continued throughout the afternoon as the Lacrosse Men’s 1s marked their debut on the new 3G surface with a fantastic 33-0 victory against Northumbria University Men’s 1s.
It was a similarly good afternoon for the Lacrosse Women’s 1s, who made the short trip to Sheffield Hallam Women’s 1s and triumphed 29-1.
It should also be remembered that alongside the tremendous hub of activity at Norton is a first-class complex at Goodwin Sports Centre. This retains artificial pitches, a multi-purpose sports hall, swimming pool, squash courts, a tennis court and the S10 Health Fitness Centre.
And it was at Goodwin where the Fencing Women’s 1s trounced Durham University Women’s 5s 135-31.
In the evening, the Basketball Men’s 2s recorded an equally impressive 100-38 win against University of Leeds Men’s 3s.
These were among 20 wins for the University of Sheffield’s teams on another busy Wednesday in what was the second week of the season for most sides.
The results have the Black and Golds in 23rd place in the BUCS Points Table at the time of writing.