05/06 Season

In this season, the Sabres broke three club records: Highest points in a game; highest points in a season, biggest margin of victory, and WR Phil Hindes was elected into the All College team.

The Sabres made the playoffs for the second time in their history, before bowing out to the Northern Champions Teesside Cougars.

Massive victories over Paisley Pyros and Leicester Lightning, both broke various club point scoring records.

Schedule
Away Team Home Team
Sheffield Sabres 20-31 Staffordshire Stallions
Hallam Warriors 18-12 Sheffield Sabres
Sheffield Sabres 8-0 Hull Sharks
Sheffield Sabres 66-16 Paisley Pyros
Sheffield Sabres 22-6 Leicester Lightning
Leicester Lightning 0-62 Sheffield Sabres
Staffordshire Stallions 23-14 Sheffield Sabres
Lancaster Bombers 4-18 Sheffield Sabres
Sheffield Sabres 12-46 Teesside Cougars
Sheffield Sabres 12-12 Hallam Warriors

BCAFL Northern Conference – Western Division Standings
Team Won Lost Tied PCT. For Against
Staffordshire Stallions 5 2 1 0.688 231 181
Sheffield Sabres 5 3 0 0.625 222 98
Lancaster Bombers 4 4 0 0.500 112 174
Sheffield Hallam Warriors 1 7 0 0.125 55 184
Roster
No. Name Position
4 Paul Musker QB
6 RETIRED- DAMIAN MARSHALL
7 Nick Jephson CB
8 Tom Murphy LB
11 Sam Manger WR
13 Colin Hatton TE
14 Ian Clark RB
15 Jon Schmidt RB
17 Neil Jefferson TE
18 Matt Paul DB/P
19 Phil Hindes RB
21 Tom Guy RB
23 Matt Fox DB
26 Suki Sharma RB
27 Tom Wyke WR
28 Martin Lewis RB
30 Simon Vardy CB
31 James Lapworth RB
33 Shaun Birch LB
36 Phil Russ DB
42 Neil Tuckwood LB
45 Tom Marchant LB
47 Martyn Scott DB
54 Gavin Bones DL
55 Jasper Chandal DL
59 Rob Oxley LB
61 Dan Smith OL
62 Tim Mullinar OL
66 Chris Lakin DL
68 Tom Matthews OL
71 Kirk Mavraki OL
73 Chris “CJ” Wilmot OL
74 Iain Adams LB
75 Elliott Josypenko OL
76 Harry Fellowes OL
77 Mat Wetton QB
80 Henry Geen WR
82 Gareth Rees WR
85 Nasdeep Purewal WR
86 Chris Hughes TE
90 Simon Buckley DL
96 Pete Curteis LB
99 Will Hunting LB
Match Reports
Sheffield Sabres 20 – 31 Staffordshire Stallions
The match opened up with both teams being forced to punt as defences were on top. The Sabres D stopped the heralded running back duo of Prince and Allen with some hard tackles, and this gave the Sabres territorial advantage as a result of the Stallions poor kicking. The Sabres asserted themselves on proceedings as the period wore on with a salmon like interception by #99 Will ‘Scarlet Pimp’ Hunting and some big receptions for wide receiver Phil Hindes. As the second quarter began Sheffield broke the deadlock. QB Paul Musker linking up with #19 Hindes yet again for the touchdown. Scores flooded in now, with the Stallions responding on the very next drive with #17 Prince rushing in for the touchdown. With the point added it was now 7-6 to Staffordshire. The Sabres hit back though with yet more pinpoint passing from Musker linking up with WR Sam Manger, maintaining his record of scoring in every game he has played for the Sabres.Celebrations were cut short though as #1 Allen returned the kickoff and restored the Stallions advantage at 13-12. The scoring wasn’t over though and the Sabres finished the half strongly with the O Line dominating and proving that they could run block as well as pass protect on a 50 yard drive finished by #14 Ian Clark with a 6 yard rush. Points machine Manger added the two points. The plan for the Sabres was obviously now to keep the ball away from the Stallions running back duo, resulting in some accurate rugby league style grubber kicks from Tom Murphy on kick off. This combined with some solid defence meant the Sabres went in at half time 20-13. A scoreline which didn’t really reflect how good the Sheffield team had played in a fixture Staffordshire were expected to win comfortably. The second half saw the Stallions fight back with Prince moving to QB, and Allen in the backfield.The Sabres defence struggled against the NFL Europe running backs and Allen scored a rushing TD to bring the scores to 20-19. It wasn’t quite a two man performance for the Stallions and their defence notably improved after the break with an interception, which the Sabres centre Harry Fellowes saw as a chance to nail someone slightly smaller than a D lineman for a change, which he took with glee with a monster tackle on the interceptor. Despite some resolute defending to stop the rushes up the middle with lineman Bones being particularly impressive the QB option was the route for the Stallions with Allen again rushing home to give Staffordshire a 25-20 advantage. In the final quarter the Stallions defence forced a punt from which the Stallions controlled the clock and finished the game with QB Prince rushing for the score.The final score of 20-31 was harsh on the Sabres who had outplayed the Stallions for large parts of the match but were punished by two outstanding individuals. Special praise goes out to the secondary who shut down the Stallions passing game completely and the O line, especially Tim Mullinar, winner of the Lineman Pie, who dominated the Stallions D line.
Sheffield Hallam Warriors 18 – 12 Sheffield Sabres
The Sheffield Hallam Warriors won the Steel City derby over their neighbours the Sheffield Sabres, 18-12 in a match of contrasts. The first half finished with a dull score line of 0-0 as both offences struggled to move the ball. The warriors had some success running to the outside but it was the Sabres who were the better team as #30 Simon Vardy got an interception and the offence drove the ball twice within five yards of the score and failed to convert on both occasions. Unfortunately the Sabres couldn’t convert their superior first half play into points and were punished instantly after half time as Hallam scored on the first play, again using the sweep for a 70 yard touchdown.This sparked the Warriors into life and they profited off two turnovers, first an interception then a fumble recovery, scoring off both to take the game to 18-0. The fourth quarter saw the Sabres fight back and in a period they dominated almost claw back the game after the disastrous third quarter. Two quick fire touchdowns pulled the Sabres within a score. First QB Musker linked up with RB Tom Guy then WR Phil Hindes to give the Sabres hope as they pulled the score back to 18-12. The fight back was left too late though as the Warriors saw out time, taking a knee, to win the match. Yet again in a match the Sabres were much better than their opponents for large sections, the opposition had caught the Sabres out straight after half time and more concentration is going to be needed to turn around the season for a team with so much potential.
Sheffield Sabres 8 – 0 Hull Sharks (OT)
The Sabres finally got the win their encouraging start to the season has deserved, with a tough 8-0 victory. A Phil Hindes touchdown in the second period of overtime proved decisive in an exciting contest against Hull Sharks. A bruising defensive encounter saw the score after 60 minutes remaining at 0-0. The Sheffield defence was particularly impressive forcing numerous turnovers and catching numerous Shark plays in the backfield. Linebacker Rob Oxley was a standout with countless tackles including stopping two reverses for a loss, proving that he is truly a player who is good at running at things. Lineman Jasper Chandel also impressed as he sprung over an attempted cut block to sack the Sharks QB and force him into a fumble. The Sabres D kept Hull away from the redzone for the most part with the D-Line corp of Chandel, Lakin, Wetton and Bones learning to cope well with an offense focusing on its interior running game.The D were however outfoxed by a Hull punt fake bootleg with punt returner Ian Clark called into emergency action to stop the touchdown. The offence enjoyed a day of mixed fortunes, employing both ground and aerial attacks for big gains only to be stopped by a dropped catch or unlucky call. However, in the fourth quarter the Sabres offence finally clicked, driving the length of the field but ultimately being held by a solid Sharks goalline stand, failing to convert from a yard out with seconds to go. Looking to carry this momentum into overtime, the Sabres felt they had taken the ascendancy as linebacker Shaun Birch instantly grabbed the loose ball after a fumble. Not to be outdone, the Sharks defence matched that with an interception, taking the game into a second period of overtime.The Sabres O were still confident of victory, choosing to stay on the field, safe in the knowledge that WR Phil Hindes hadn’t scored his customary touchdown yet. That confidence looked justified when QB Musker linked up with WR Sam Manger, only to be judged over the line of scrimmage as he passed. The Sabres, however, would not be denied and Phil Hindes came through on the very next play. He outleapt his cornerback to claim his third touchdown of the season. WR Henry Geen got the two points afterwards with another good reception. With the pressure now on, the Sharks couldn’t respond as the Sheffield defence kept their heads for the shut out and a 8-0 Sabres victory. The MVPs for the day were QB Paul Musker and LB Rob Oxley.
Sheffield Sabres 66-16 Paisley Pyros
The Sheffield Sabres produced a good performance to run out comfortable winners over Paisley 66-16. The sabres were expected to win and got off to a great start with Ian Clark rushing for a 60 yard touchdown on the very first play and Henry Geen adding the two points.However the Pyros responded well and pulled the game back to 8-8 with a good reception after making 30 yards on a punt play. It is doubtful whether Phil Russ will ever go near a punt again. Sheffield were not affected and pressed forward with Sam Manger receiving from 40 yards, and Gareth Rees got on the scoresheet for the first time this season with the two point conversion. The defence now started to shut down the Pyros O and immediately turned the ball over. Clark again ran for the score, this time from 30 yards, somehow ending up on the right side of the end zone again despite the run being to the left, and Neil Jefferson scored his first ever Sabres points rumbling over for two.Suki Sharma was next to score with a 30 yd run, as the Pyros players began to tyre as most of them were playing both ways. A fine half of rushing from the Sabres was completed with Tom Guy getting his second TD of the season with a reverse and Phil Hindes making sure of the two, making the half time score 36-8. The Sabres carried on in the same fashion in the second half with a good kick off team making sure the Pyros never got good field position.In no time Manger again received for the touchdown and in the process smashed his previous best of two catches in one game. Jefferson added another touchdown with a bruising run after the catch and his fellow tight end Chris Hughes got his first of the season with a spectacular (and unnecessary) dive into the end zone. Gavin Bones added the two from the tail back position (to add to his lineman pie award) as the O line continued to make holes.The defence had been strong throughout and forced a fumble turnover and Russ showed he can catch with an interception. Pual Musker completed a good performance from QB linking up with Phil Hindes to record his first ever match throwing for 5 TDs, and Martin Lewis completed the scoring making sure of the two from running back despite playing most of the game for the defence. The Pyros didn’t drop their heads though, and scored a 60 yard receiving touchdown in the second half, as they battled throughout. They then went for the onside kick, but veteran lineman Harry Fellowes spotted this and leapt into the air to snare the football, he then proceeded to return the ball a good 10 yards. Sheffield produced their best performance of the season and the MVP’s were Ian Clark and Iain Adams but it was a fine all round team performance.
Sheffield Sabres 22 – 6 Leicester Lightning
The Sheffield Sabres continued their impressive recent form with a 22-6 victory over the Leicester Lightning. It was a hard fought match, especially considering the conditions it was played in. The pitch was so muddy it made the running game difficult for both sides, as grip was almost non existent making quick cuts tricky, and many players slipped with no one around. However, Phil Hindes scored on the first drive to give the Sabres the lead. Henry Geen got the two points. The Lightning hit back on the next drive though and charged over from a yard to make>the game 8-6. Just before half time though the Sabres special teams charged to block the punt and gave the offence excellent field position and Chris Hughes converted to give the Sabres a 14-6 half time lead.The second half was a struggle against the conditions but the Sabres pulled clear when Sam Manger scored the touchdown and Henry Geen converted the two points. With such a lead the Sabres seemed destined for victory and the defence stepped up with some big hits from Will Hunting, Tom Murphy and Chris Lakin, with good pass coverage from Nick Jephson, to make sure the Sabres had the ball for most of what remained of the match. The offence toiled for some hard yards but the worsening pitch and some good Leicester defence meant the game stayed at 22-6. The MVPs for the Sabres were Paul Musker for offence, and Tom Murphy for an impressive performance for defence and as kicker.
Leicester Lightning 0 – 66 Sheffield Sabres
The Sheffield Sabres emerged victorious for the second time in as many weeks against the Leicester Lightning. This match was more comfortable for the Sabres who won 62-0. Martin Lewis was the offensive MVP, scoring three touchdowns, and Chris Lakin was MVP for the defence after an impressive game on the D-line. Sheffield started strongly and Jasper Chandel, Matt Wetton and Neil Tuckwood all recovered fumbles and Simon Vardy and Shaun Birch turned over with interceptions, to make sure the Sabres offence had the ball for the majority of the game.The Sabres stormed into a 40-0 half time lead with Martin Lewis getting the first two of his touchdowns, including an impressive 45 yard run breaking 5 tackles, Phil Hindes getting two touchdowns and Henry Geen and Paul Musker each getting on the score sheet. Musker also converted two 2pt attempts. After the break the Sabres kept up the pressure, with Neil Jefferson, Sam Manger and Lewis again getting on the score sheet, and Ian Clark and Sam Manger getting 2 pts each.
Staffordshire Stallions 23 – 14 Sheffield Sabres
The Sheffield Sabres emerged victorious for the second time in as many weeks against the Leicester Lightning. This match was more comfortable for the Sabres who won 62-0. Martin Lewis was the offensive MVP, scoring three touchdowns, and Chris Lakin was MVP for the defence after an impressive game on the D-line.Sheffield started strongly and Jasper Chandel, Matt Wetton and Neil Tuckwood all recovered fumbles and Simon Vardy and Shaun Birch turned over with interceptions, to make sure the Sabres offence had the ball for the majority of the game. The Sabres stormed into a 40-0 half time lead with Martin Lewis getting the first two of his touchdowns, including an impressive 45 yard run breaking 5 tackles, Phil Hindes getting two touchdowns and Henry Geen and Paul Musker each getting on the score sheet. Musker also converted two 2pt attempts. After the break the Sabres kept up the pressure, with Neil Jefferson, Sam Manger and Lewis again getting on the score sheet, and Ian Clark and Sam Manger getting 2 pts each.
Lancaster Bombers 4 – 18 Sheffield Sabres
Sheffield Sabres ensured a playoff spot for the second time in club history. In a victory over division rivals Lancaster Bombers, the Sabres ensured the sixth place berth in the Northern Playoffs. Sheffield got off to a flying start with a good kick return from Tom Wyke giving the Sabres offence excellent field position. Although failing to score in the first quarter, the Sabres defence stopped the Bombers offence gaining any yards, giving Sheffield territorial advantage.Tom Murphy and Gavin Bones each got interceptions. Sheffield’s pressure paid off at the beginning of the second quarter with QB Paul Musker rushing for the score. An intercepted 2pt attempt made the score 6-2. The Sabres still had the momentum, however, and drove the ball upfield. Martin Lewis rushed in for the touchdown just before half time to give Sheffield a 10 point advantage.After the break the Lancaster offence began to move the ball with more success, having a field goal attempt blocked and failing to convert a 4th down deep inside Sabres territory. Sheffield’s defence held firm, marshalled by defensive MVP Bones, allowing the offence to wear down the clock on a long fourth quarter drive. Offensive MVP Ian Clark made big gains rushing and FB Neil Jefferson finished the drive from close range to put the game out of Lancaster’s reach. A failed 2pt attempt made the final score 18-4.
Sheffield Sabres 12 – 46 UT Cougars (Playoffs)
UT Cougars ran out comfortable winners against the Sheffield Sabres. Despite being favourites the Cougars struggled in the first quarter with Sheffield looking the better team driving the ball upfield twice only for a fumble and interception to stop progress. With a tight first quarter coming to an end, Teeside made the breakthrough to make the score 8-0. This seemed to stop their early nerves and the team started the second quarter brightly, scoring quickly. Simon Vardy got the Sabres back in the contest, however, with a 60 yard interception TD to make the game 16-6. However Teeside did not falter and an impressive second quarter brought another 2 TDs and a safety. With the half time score 32-6 Teeside looked to have the game in the bag but a spirited second half performance from Sheffield kept the game interesting. Martin Lewis dived over from close range before the Teeside QB threw some long bombs to his receivers to make the score 46-12.