04/05 Season

This season was probably one to forget for the Sheffield Sabres. Heavy losses at home to Lancaster, Loughborough and away at Staffordshire dented their chances of playoff glories.

However, a Varsity beasting of Hallam left a sweet taste of victory in the mouth of the Sabres.

Massive thanks to Jon Weller, Ben Griffiths and Chris Doneghan who all performed admirably and contributed hugely off the field.

Schedule
Away Team Home Team
Lancaster Bombers 43-24 Sheffield Sabres
Sheffield Sabres 8-26 Hallam Warriors
Sheffield Sabres 0-28 Lancaster Bombers
Loughborough Aces 40-0 Sheffield Sabres
Hallam Warriors P-P Sheffield Sabres
Hallam Warriors 34-22 Sheffield Sabres
Sheffield Sabres 0-49 Staffordshire Stallions
Sheffield Sabres 0-20 Nottingham Outlaws
Staffordshire Stallions 25-0 Sheffield Sabres
Hallam Warriors 8-46 Sheffield Sabres
BCAFL Northern Conference – Western Division Standings
Team Won Lost Tied PCT. For Against
Sheffield Hallam Warriors 6 1 1 0.813 139 84
Lancaster Bombers 6 2 0 0.750 216 105
Staffordshire Stallions 4 3 1 0.563 152 147
Sheffield Sabres 0 8 0 0.000 54 265
Roster
No. Name Position
1 Tom Onyeador FB
3 Matt Harding WR
4 Paul Musker QB
5 Aaron Johnson WR
7 Nick Jephson CB
8 Dan Redikin CB
9 OJ Isiavwe RB
10 Pete Thorley RB
11 Gershom Kuduba RB
12 Martin Hindmarch RB
13 Jonathan Weller QB
14 Ian Clark RB
16 Rob Nudds DB
17 Neil Jefferson TE
18 Ray Manning RB
19 Phil Hindes WR
20 James Lomas CB
21 Stratos Kyriakopulos CB
22 Ben Palin RB
23 Robert Palin DB
24 Daniel Smyth CB
25 Terry Burke RB
26 Nathan Waller CB
27 Jon Cuthbert WR
28 Luis Rodriguez DB
29 Mike Jones RB
30 Simon Vardy CB
31 Jasper Chandal DL
32 James Smith LB
33 Chris Doneghan CB
34 Scott Davies FS
35 Shaun Gibbons CB
36 Phil Russ DB
40 Andreas Muller OL
41 Will Arran LB
45 Tom Marchant LB
51 Chidi Edordu LB
52 Tom Guy OL
54 Gavin Bones DL
59 Rob Oxley DL
60 Ross Whalebelly LB
65 Andrew Rose OL
66 Chris Lakin DL
67 Noel Garcia DL
68 Lee Dyche OL
68 Eddie Mellor OL/DL
69 Eddie Mellor DL
70 Barney Sagar OL
71 James Padbury OL
72 Chris Rodgers OL
74 Iain Adams LB
75 Sam McIlroy OL
76 Harry Fellowes OL
77 Matt Wetton DL
79 Ben Griffiths OL
80 Nick Crawford WR/TE
81 Ed Sluys WR
82 Adam Ellis WR
83 Duncan Roberts DL
84 Morten Olsen WR
85 Chris Murphy WR
86 Chris Hughes TE
87 Nasdeep Purewal WR
88 Jan Moll WR
89 Guy Lawrenson WR
96 Pete Curteis LB
99 Will Hunting LB

Honours

Team England: simon Vardy, Rob Nudds, Harry Fellows, Chris Hughes, Nick Jephson and Mat Wetton.

Match Reports
Lancaster Bombers 43 – 24 Sheffield Sabres
A shoot-out of a 1st quarter began with Kick-Return O.J Isiavwe giving the Sabres great field position after a 35 yard return. However a series of penalties pushed the Sabres back into their own Red Zone and an error on the Punt Team saw Bombers‚ Andy Doran recover a fumble to put Lancaster up by 6. Jack Turner ran in the 2 PAT. The Sabres bounced straight back when QB Paul Musker found WR Guy Lawrenson for the TD pass. Some good rushing from the Bombers saw them increase their lead soon after when RB Turner ran in to put the Bombers up by 14 to 6. Sabres hit back again when Musker connected with WR Matt Harding for the score, after 4 straight completed passes helped the Sabres drive half the field. A 10 Yard Field Goal from Bombers‚ Chris Mayne saw the Bombers increase their lead at the end of the 1st.
Caledonian Roughriders 2-18 Sheffield Sabres
The Sabres moved to 2-0 with
a win against league newcomers the Caledonian Roughriders. The Sabres forced
a turnover from the first play from scrimmage when Roughriders QB Graham
Porterfield was intercepted by DB Daniel Smyth. The Sabres quickly turned
this into points with a 31-yard pass from QB Paul Musker to Ryan Spokas. The
Sabres scored again when Musker broke free on a QB sneak to scamper away for
a 35-yard TD run. The Sabres closed out the first half with a 14-yard TD run
by Robert Levy. The second half turned into a defensive stalemate and
eventually lead to the Roughrider first ever BCAFL points when James
McIntosh tackled the Sabres punter in his own end zone. Forced to go to the
air, the game was sealed when Scott Davies picked off Porterfield, leaving
the Sabres Offence able to take a knee. The Roughriders started nervously in
their first League game but settled to hold Sheffield out in the second half
and with a good squad size look to have a promising future.An early Sabres Punt in the 2nd gave the Bombers possession that they took full advantage of as QB Mayne connected with WR Adam Saul for the TD. The teams exchanged Punts before a huge 40 Yard TD Run from Lancaster RB Turner at the end of the half sent the Bombers in up by 17.

The 2nd half started as relentless as the first as Bombers QB Mayne found WR Mark Sorroso for a huge 35 Yard TD Pass, which was converted with the 2 PAT by RB Turner. The rest of the quarter was all about defence as the Sabres calmed things with some good stops from DT Chris Lakin and LB Will Hunting, before DT Robert Oxley blocked a Field Goal attempt by the Bombers.

The Sabres fought back with 2 TDs in the 4th. The first saw an excellent pass from Sabres relief QB Jonathan Weller reeled in by WR Jan Moll. Lancaster replied with a howitzer 32 Yard TD pass to WR Joe Black, before a superb trick play from the Sabres saw TE Chris Hughes lateral a pass to QB Weller who ran in for the score, ending an exciting game at 43-24.

Sheffield Sabres 8 – 26 Sheffield Hallam Warriors
Don Valley Stadium was the venue for the clash of the season for both Sheffield teams as the Warriors & Sabres squared up for the first time in the 2004/2005 season.In a passionate & tense affair the first quarter saw strong defences stamp their mark on proceedings leaving little in the way of a running game for either team. It wasn’t until the second quarter when clever play calling by Warriors Offensive Co-ordindinator, Matt Harvey got Jon Bartley in to the endzone on a 69yard run. As the quarter wore on the Warriors began to become more dominant. This was converted in to 6 more points when QB Paul MacIntosh hit Jon Barley for a 12 yard touchdown pass which closed out the half.

Almost immediately after the restart the Sabres fumbled on their first possession, the ball was scooped up by LB Charlie Bradley who went in for the core from 15 yards. The Sabres tried to fight back with good running by the speedy half back OJ Isiavwe, however it was the running game of the Warriors that produced the points as Matt Lambert went in from 25 yards.

The Sabres got some small reward for there hard efforts driving well in the forth quarter & eventually breaking through the Warriors defence thanks to a 4 yard fullback dive. QB Paul Musker added the 2 point conversion to end the game 26 – 8 in the Warriors favour and signal huge celebrations across the Hallam University side of Sheffield.

Sheffield Sabres 0 – 28 Lancaster Bombers
The return fixture of the game two weeks ago started similarly as before. The first quarter was dominated by defence. Both teams were forced to punt as the sides struggled to drive the ball down field. The Sabres forced the first turnover of the game as FS Scott Davies leapt for the interception, and a monster block from LB Gavin Bones allowed him to return it 15 Yards. Sabres RB OJ Isiavwe helped drive the Sabres into the Red Zone but the O found themselves unable to get in for the score.The start of the second quarter saw another interception for FS Scott Davies, returning the ball into Bombers territory. Sheffield were again unable to capitalize, but the pattern continued as on the Bombers’ next possession, they threw another interception. This time it went to LB Rob Oxley, who again gave the Sabres good field positon. A series of penalities cost the Sabres the scoring opportunity, and the only points of the half fell to the Bombers as LB Adam Robertson picked off QB Paul Musker, returning it the short distance for the score.

Lancaster quickly doubled their lead in the second half. RB Jack Turner sweeping in for the 10 Yard TD Run. The 2 PAT was this time good, reeled in by WR Patrick Gorril. the Sabres gained momentum in the 4th, and two fantastic WR reverses by Morton Olsen saw the Sabres drive the length of the field twice, but both times failed to produce in the Red Zone. The Sabres D came up with some good stops the following series as the Bombers found themselves on the Sabres goalline. Tackles from LB Rob Oxley, DE Noel Garcia Garcia and FS Scott Davies forced the Bombers to forth down, but the final attempt was just crept in by QB Chris Mayne.

Sheffield seemed to gain a score of their own after a great HB counter saw Terry Burke run in 25 Yards for the TD, only to be called back for a holding penalty on the line. In the dying mintues, Lancaster completed their win with a short pass to WR Joe Black, who broke through two tackles before running in the extra 50 Yards for the score. Black got the 2 PAT aswell as the game ended in horrific weather, 28 points to nil.

Loughborough Aces 40 – 0 Sheffield Sabres
With mist rolling in from the peaks, the game got off to a very quick start, with Loughborough gaining great field position on the kick return, and RB Craig Flower running in the TD on the 3rd play of the game. The Sabres were forced 3 and out and Flower soon doubled his tally with a carbon copy of his first score. K Andy Studer this time tagged on the extra point. The first turnover of the game fell against the Aces as QB Storey was picked off by FS Scott Davies. But the Aces completed their dominance of the first quarter with RB Matt Pulsford running in for the score from 10 Yards. The PAT was good from Studer and the Sabres O and D were still looking to get it together.Still not at their full potential, the Sabres D improved in the second, but it wasn’t enough to keep ouy Flower for his 3rd TD, and Loughborough’s 4th. Studer tagged on the PAT and the Sabres looked demoralized. But Sheffield’s offence began to turn it on. An awesome pass from QB Jonathan Weller was superbly caught by WR Morton Olsen for 30 Yards, right in the thick of double coverage from the Aces’ secondary. But the Sabres were unfortunate not to be able to move the football in the Red Zone. Aces’ QB Dan Storey threw a bomb of his own late in the half which saw WR Rich Cole grab the 40 Yard TD Reception.

Half time proved a turning point for the Sabres’ mentality, as the O came out in the 3rd to play with the kind of heart that deserves to win ball games. RBs Terry Burke and Morton Olsen tore through the Aces’ D as Sheffield charged the length of the field, setting up a first and goal on the 3 Yard line. Despite the efforts of FB Tom Onyeador, the Aces’ D held it together brilliantly to keep out Sheffield from the score. Loughborough scored their final points with another Run, this time from Rich Cole, and Studer again tagged on the PAT.

The 4th Quarter proved frustrating for the Sabres as they struggled to get into the endzone, after twice driving the length of the field. The Aces’ final push was halted by tackles behind the line of scrimmage by SS James Smith and sacks for LB Chidi Edordu and DT Noel Garcia-Garcia, who is so good they named him twice.

Proving to be a game of two halves, the match ended at 40 – 0.

Sheffield Hallam Warriors 34 – 22 Sheffield Sabres
The Sheffield derby match saw the Sabres wanting to take revenge for the defeat last time round, but it was the Warriors who had the first word. A frustrating first period for both sides saw the exchanging of punts, and just the one score, as Warriors RB Matt Lambert broke tackles to run in the TD from 9 yards. Lambert also kicked the PAT. A mistake by the Sabres Punt Return team saw Hallam regain possession inside the Sabres 5 Yard Line. But the Sabres D put up a good stop and LB Gavin Bones recovered a fumble to give the Sabres possession as the quarter drew to a close.Hallam soon had the ball back and were able to increase their lead after a double move caught the Sabres Secondary flat footed as WR John Gilmartin reeled in the pass from QB Paul McIntosh for the TD. The next Hallam possession saw a carbon copy TD but this time the pass went to WR Andrew Bullock. Lambert tagged on the extra point. The momentum seemed to shift towards the Sabres as FS Scott Davies grabbed his fifth interception of the year, but the play was called back for a late hit on the Warriors’ QB. The Sabres O was still struggling but the half ended only after a fantastic Special Teams TD. Hallam punted and returner Morten Olsen set out on a run that saw him go 40 yards and into the endzone for the score, after some great blocking on the return team. The Sabres edged back slightly further with the 2 PAT that was caught superbly by the diving, outstretched arms of TE Chris Hughes.

The start of the second half came with bad news for the Sabres as RB Lambert ran a 20 Yard sweep into the endzone, and the Sabres lost LB Will Hunting through injury, and DT Eddy Mellor through ejection. The extra point was good and the Sabres O looked increasingly confident. QB Jonathan Weller hit TE Hughes and RB Terry Burke made some good rushes to set up great field position at the end of the third.

The Sabres O were able rid themselves of the Red Zone impotency they’d shown previously as RB Morton Olsen ran in a 10 Yard Sweep to decrease Hallam’s lead. But the Warriors bounced back with a TD Run from QB McIntosh, after the Sabres had made 9 stops inside their own 10. Lambert kicked for their final points of the game. The Sabres had another score in them though, and after setting himself up on a 40 Yard Run, RB Gershom Kulaba ran in a sweep for the Sabres third TD. Kulaba grabbed the 2 PAT as well. Hallam recovered the onside kick as the clock ran down in Sheffield with the score 22 – 34.

Sheffield Sabres 0 – 49 Staffordshire Stallions
With the holiday season over the Sabres travelled to Stoke to take on divisional rivals the Stallions. With the Sabres O taking to the field their running game looked effective with an immediate first down. Forced to punt, the Sabres D made the Stallions work ultra hard for their first TD, which was ran in by Jason Prince. Stewart Wren kicked for the PAT. The Sabres O began to struggle and the Stallions soon doubled their lead. This time through the air with a Lee Treays TD reception. Wren kicked the PAT. The Sabres D stepped up in the second quarter and good coverage in the endzone forced QB Chris Richards to just creep in for the score on foot. LB James Smith Blocked the PAT, as the half drew to a close.Prince scored his second early on in the third quarter, and with Staffs needing extra points for their playoff hopes, the 2 PAT was good. The Sabres O put together a good looking drive with QB Jonathan Weller finding WR Guy Lawrenson and TE Chris Hughes through the air, and RB Ben Palin added the yardage that gave the Sabres good field position. But Stallions LB Oliver Darne picked off Weller and returned all the way for the score. The following series saw Sheffield pushed back towards their own endzone and Stallions LB Bret Rosenbaum made the tackle that gave them a safety.

The Stallions grabbed two more scores in the 4th. But only after some good rushing from the Sabres, with Gersom Kulaba on the reverse and Ian Clark through the middle. Gurjeet Singh Sanghera grabbed the final TD reception for the Satllions and Wren again kicked the PAT. The very end of the game saw Staffs RB Jermaine Allen grab a deserved TD on the ground, and the game finished 49-0, with a depleted Sabres squad down but not disheartened at a display that showed great team spirit and camaraderie.

Sheffield Sabres 0 – 20 Nottingham Outlaws
The small matter of Super Bowl XXXIX may have been in the back of some minds but first there was another game to be played this side of the pond. The Sabres’ final road trip of the season saw them travel to nearby Nottingham, to face the evenly matched Outlaws.The opening quarter was a battle of the Defenses as both sides struggled to churn up any yardage. Sabres LB James Smith forced a fumble on the second play of the game, and the Outlaws were forced to punt on 4th down. QB Jonathan Weller led the Sabres O onto the field and immediately they established their ground attack with RBs Terry Burke and Ben Palin. Forced to punt though, the D found themselves in midfield, and when LB Iain Adams blocked the following punt, the Sabres O received great field position inside the Nottingham 10. But they were unable to take advantage and the Outlaws soon came back with the football. It took until the very end of the half for the first score. The Sabres D bit on the Play Action leaving WR Tomos Longworth wide open for the 18 Yard TD Rec. Adam O Keefe tagged on the extra point.

But the with the Sabres D looking tired and looking for the half time whistle, they were dealt a crushing blow, as Ginger Pain Train Anal Will Hunting was forced to come off with an injury. Nottingham were able to sneak another score before the break, as QB John Cuthbert Brown broke out from the option and some superb blocking allowed him to go 50 Yards for the score. Keefe grabbed the PAT.

The Sabres found themselves in an all-too-familiar position at halftime, being two scores down and yet to make a mark on the scoreboard themselves. But the team knew that this time, they deserved better. A fourteen-point lead did not really do justice to the new 3-5 Defense that HC Jake Treen had masterminded. And as if in realization of their unmerited position, the Sabres O came out in the third period and immediately stepped up their game. The dynamic duo of Terry Burke and Ben Palin churned out some hard yardage on the ground, while QB Jonathan Weller connected with veteran WR Guy Lawrenson through the air, picking up first downs on the way. As with much of the season, the Red Zone proved to be the falling point for the Sabres. Desperately unlucky not to grab the TD, Weller’s pass proved too high for WR Jan ‘Hoff’ Moll, and an interception brought to an end the best looking drive of the game.

Sabres LB Chidi Edordu continued his brilliant return to the Sabres side in the following series, while Iain Adams and Peter Curteis continued to allow the Outlaws nothing on the ground. O Lineman Harry Fellowes played another standout peformance as a replacement on the Defensive Line, alongside the brilliant rookie Chris Lakin, and of course fan favorite Big Fat Big Fat Gav. Rob Oxley proved why he is D vice-captain, while the secondary of Davies, Vardy, Waller and Palin ensured the Outlaws has little success through the air. The war of attrition did however ware down the D eventually, allowing the final score for the Outlaws, with RB Yamoah Berchie breaking tackles and following some good blocks, going 35 Yards for the score.

The final series however, belonged to the spirited offence. Set up by a James Smith interception, the O Line sat at the heart of a good-looking drive that was undeservedly shut out. A fine performance from rookie Tom Guy went hand in hand with the hard work of Wetton, Fellowes, Jefferson, Hughes, and future hall of famer Griffiths. RB Gershom Kulaba made full use of his superb pace to gain yardage on the sweep, and the sheer power of Tom ‘the Bus’ Onyeador helped the Sabres edge closer to that elusive score.

But in the end it wasn’t to be, as Nottingham ensured another shutout. An enthralling and exhausting game ended 20 – 0. The Sabres have now only one game of the regular season left, and hope to use the match as a building block towards the very winnable Varsity game. With the refreshers faire and the unveiling of the new committee just days away, the Sabres have good times to look forward to. This reporter for one, is sure that extra-hard work in training can combine with the brilliant team spirit that the Sabres have shown, and thus making a the Varsity game a very interesting match-up indeed.

Staffordshire Stallions 25 – 0 Sheffield Sabres
On a blustery Sabre Field, the Stallions found themselves a score up before you could say ‘Red Zone Defence’. RB Graham Roberts charged through the middle for the TD and Stewart Wren tagged on the extra point. Up stepped the Sabres O. With their ground attack halted, they took to the air and QB Jonathan Weller hit WR Guy Lawrenson for the first down. RBs Terry Burke and Ben Palin gained the yardage that took them into the red zone, but a fumble in the backfield gave Staffs possession.For the rest of the half, Defence was the key. Sheffield twice stopped the Stallions inside their own ten, and DT Harry Fellowes blocked a field goal. Out of almost nothing, the Sabres found themselves two scores down, after Stallions QB Chris Richards ran a sneak that sent him 30 Yards for the score. Again the kick was blocked, making the half time score 13 – 0.

In a ‘start of the half’ rerun, the Stallions hit the end zone almost immediately, with QB Richards running out on the option, and just creeping into the corner. LBs Rob Oxley and Will Arran stopped the 2 PAT. The Sabres O again struggled once in the red zone, but they did put together some good-looking drives that went the length of the field. RB Burke churned out the yards on the ground while TE Chris Hughes made the possible catch of the season, diving between two defenders and reeling in with outstretched arms.

The Stallions sealed victory with their fourth TD. Forced to go in on the ground due to extremely tight coverage from the Sabres Defensive Backs, RB Brett Stabler crept in from the 5 yard line with defenders clinging on from all sides. Again the 2 PAT was stopped, but with the score at 25 – 0, the gap was too large for the Sabres, who saw their season end on a losing note.

Sheffield Sabres 46 – 8 Sheffield Hallam Warriors
Having successfully avoided qualification for the national playoffs in order to focus on the Varsity match, the Sheffield Sabres were comfortable victors against the Hallam Warriors by a score of 46 – 8, scoring 7 touchdowns in the process.————-

Varsity 2005 was perhaps the most anticipated game of the Sabres season. This game could determine the outcome of the whole series, bringing the trophy back to its rightful home at the University of Sheffield. It was a game also for bragging rights. Sheffield’s football history saw the Sabres and the Warriors tied at three victories each. What better way then to determine the greatest team in Sheffield? Of course there were other statistics that spoke for themselves. The Sabres had gone zero and eight for the season. Hallam had made it to the playoffs.

Varsity 2005; a David and Goliath story, truer than the Bible itself.

Records aside, it was the Sabres that started stronger. Receiving the kickoff, the opening drive immediately established the running game, as RB Ben Palin tore up the middle thanks to some fine O-Line work. QB Jonathan Weller hit WR Matt Harding for a first down on the following play. Despite the penalty, it was clear that OC Matt Court had eradicated a lot of the nonsense and silliness that has affected some previous Sabres coaches, and was the epitome of a restrained coach – a marked contrast to certain others also present. And it came to pass that the Sabres found themselves a score up within five minutes, as Debutant RB James Lapworth charged in the TD run from 8 yards. The Sabres D ensured that this was the only score of the quarter, starting LBs Hunting, Arran, Edordu, Oxley and Smith stopped the running game as the Warriors struggled and were forced to punt.

The start of the second period saw the Sabres double their lead. Ben Palin scored on another awesome ground attack, as the sidelines began to think that maybe, just maybe, the unachievable was about to unfold. The Hallam Warriors showed resilience as they bounced back with a score of their own, RB Lambert somehow broke through Coach Treen’s stern Defense, to grab a 40-yard TD run. The 2 PAT was run in and at 12 points to 8, the teams knew they were in a game and the crowd sensed that they were in for a thriller. As the period wore on, the Sabres kept their lead as the Warriors O struggled to make their only first down of the half. Tight coverage from the secondary forced the Warriors to work on their running game but the roving LB team allowed no yards on the ground, as Linemen Mellor, Garcia-Garcia and Bones continued to hammer the O Line into submission.

Perhaps the Sabres began to know it was their day when Veteran Centre and Club President Ben Griffiths made a reception. The pass came over from QB Jonathan Weller and WR Matt Harding cleverly pushed the football firstly into the shoulder of Rookie WR Phil Hindes, who knocked it back against a Hallam Defender’s chest, knowing that the ever-reliable man Griffiths would be there to make the catch and surprise the D by gaining an extra few yards (skill players everywhere held their breath, but secretly all had faith in his ability to first catch and then hold the football‚Ķ), but the excitement did not end there.

Court’s Offense dealt a devastating blow right at the end of the half. QB Weller found Phil Hindes out of the Tight-End position, one of a series of very complex formations that were called as the Warriors found themselves using up their timeouts in an attempt to give themselves time to work out who was supposed to be standing where. A monster block from Lineman Harry Fellowes helped Hindes as he ran the extra 10 yards for the score. Half time came as the Sabres found themselves 18-8 up, and the confidence oozed from the sideline.

The half time show saw the Warriors’ Cheerleading squad take to the field. It turned out this was merely to perform their dance routine, although the girls appeared to provide the obvious substitutes to replace the flailing Warriors Defense.

The start of the second half brought with it another score, again to the Sabres. It was Weller again who was the catalyst; only this time he ran it in himself. Rolling out of the pocket, he darted into the corner for the Sabres’ fourth score, the stranded corner struggling to compete with his pace. The Red Zone jinx that seemed to have lingered over the O for so long had well and truly been blown away. This time, the 2 PAT was successful, as RB Tom ‘The Bus’ Onyeador powered his way through the middle. At 26-8, it was a three score game, and with both the O and D buzzing, that elusive victory was beginning to crawl towards Uni.

Any fears of Hallam performing a comeback were kept well and truly under raps as the remainder of the quarter brought about a series of turnovers that perfectly displayed the Defense’ domination over this Warriors O. The first was an interception, as CB Simon Vardy reeled in a diving catch despite his mild obesity problem. LB James Smith also grabbed a pick, and headed for the end zone, but was stopped short for a 35-yard return. Littered about the quarter was a series of fumble recoveries. LBs Edordu and Arran both dived on loose footballs, whilst Lineman Gavin Bones dived onto the Warriors QB (nearly breaking his back due to the sudden addition of weight) as the Hallam RBs continued to cough up the ball in submission. Lineman Eddy Mellor also picked up a fumble, helping to secure a dominant quarter for the Sabres D.

The start of the final quarter saw the Sabres hammer the final nails in the already buried coffin. LB Chidi Edordu powered through the line to get a solid block on the Hallam punter’s personal protector, the punt hiting the aforementioned Hallam player squarely in his back. LB Rob Oxley was the first to react, and finally manage to shepherd the ball into the end zone after much ado about nothing before diving on it to grab the Special Teams TD (England Rugby Union Fullback Iain Balshaw could take lessons from that man!) This time it was RB Gershom Kulaba’s turn to get in on the action, as he received an option toss from an apparently tackled QB Weller to reel in the 2 PAT and put the Sabres 26 points clear.

The fourth quarter though, belong to the Sabres O, who turned up the heat on the Warriors with some exhibition plays that truly astounded spectators and players alike. The first was a monster reverse that sent Ian Clarke 80 yards for the score, truly the touch of an “impact player”. Prior to the snap QB Weller and RB Burke were spotted talking to Clark, when asked after the game what he had been saying, Weller replied “All I asked was how far he thought he could go with one play – then I bet him he couldn’t take it all the way!” Hallam’s Defense chased first RB Burke and then QB Weller only to find that Clarke eventually received the hand off and had disappeared up the field through a sea of defenders.

But the Sabres weren’t through yet. RBs Palin, Burke and Lapworth churned out the hard fought yardage on the ground, and the Sabres’ O Line continued to shine in what can only have been their best game all year. Another reverse rounded up the scoring, this time it was Hindes. The brilliant tactic of doing the exact same play as last time, only going the other side, absolutely baffled the former Poly team (‘Coach Court must be some sort of genius!!’ The Telegraph). Hindes grabbed his second and the Sabres’ seventh in a play that ended the proceedings. Uni had won, and deservedly too.

Offensively every player on the pitch made a huge contribution, especially in the score, but a special mention must go to Terry Burke, who has shone in his ability to fail to trouble the scorers (a superbly consistent approach that has lasted all season). Despite the best efforts of everyone else on the team, he failed to take the ball to the endzone, although he was given soup by a Hallam Cheerleader at half-time, so at least that’s something!

The team went into rapture as Court was soaked with Gatorade, (actually high quality H20) and paid tribute to those Sabres heroes that are leaving next year. The news spread quickly to Bar One as Sky Sports informed fans at the bar of the victory. It’s a long post-season, but next year’s campaign is already hugely anticipated. Let the celebrations go on, and cry from the highest hilltop.

UNI ! UNI ! UNI!