The Sabres played their inaugural game against city rivals the Lightning in a nine-a-side flag game at Don Valley Bowl, Sheffield on 12th March. With the sun shining on a warm Sunday afternoon, both teams took the field and showed their first quarter nerves. With the ball deep in Sabres’ territory, neither offence could gain any yardage and the quarter ended scoreless. In the second quarter the Sabres offence came to life with sharp running from Halfback Alun Roger who was following powerful blocks from the offensive line and Fullback John Stack. The Sabres marched methodically downfield until QB Damian Marshall threw a screen pass to Roger who took the ball into the endzone from the 20 yard line. The two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful.
Defensive pressure by the Sabres led to a safety on the Lightning’s next drive, making the score 8-0 and giving the ball back to the University team. Again the Sabres offence drove down field, helped by a 30 yard pass from Marshall to WR Neil Whiffing. More impressive running from Roger and Stack put the ball on the Lightning 15 yard line. From there, Marshall hit a wide open Gary Lloyd coming from tight end, who jinked and weaved through defenders to score in the corner of the endzone. Neil Whiffing caught the 2-point conversion to make the halftime score 16-0.
Sheffield University’s defensive front, led by captain Jon Bertram and rookie Anthony Setiadi, continued the pressure in the second half, causing broken plays and poor throws by the Lightning’s veteran Quarterback. With Cam Keil in at QB, the Sabres continued to move the ball, helped by Keil’s intuitive running, although the endzone eluded them. In the fourth quarter the Sabres’ offence came back to life to capitalise on turnovers forced by the defence. Marshall threw to former Leicester Panther Hugh Mortimer, who went in from 2 yards out to make the score 22-0. John Stack scored the 2 point conversion. After another turnover, the Sabres moved the ball down to the Lightning 8 yard line, from which Marshall ran a bootleg into the corner for the final score of the game, as the Sabres won their first ever, 30-0.
Offensive Captain : John Stack (FB)
Offensive MVP : Alun Roger (HB)
Defensive Captain : Jon Bertram (DE)
Defensive MVP : Jon Bertram (DE)
Special Teams Captain : Hugh Mortimer (WR/LB)
Special Teams MVP : “Shaggy” (P/FS)