Title showdown as top two clash at Abbeydale

In sporting terms this is the Big One for Sheffield Hallam men’s first team.

Abbeydale is the place to be on Saturday as the EHL North Conference leaders face a must win showdown against title rivals Brooklands MU (6.30pm).

With two weeks of the National League season remaining, both sides have 38 points but Hallam top the table on goal difference although the visitors have a game in hand, ironically at Belper who gave the Sheffield side a mighty scare last weekend before they edged home 3-1.

Brooklands were the last team to beat Hallam back in mid-November and even then they had to fight hard for their 5-4 victory after being gifted a three goal start.

The bottom line is, Hallam, who have finished runners-up for the past two seasons, need to win. A draw would keep them top but their championship hopes would then rely on Belper beating Brooklands.

Victory would take it down to the final match when Hallam host Deeside Ramblers and Brooklands travel to Preston. If they both won goal difference would come into play and this is where Hallam have the edge as they’re currently the league’s top scorers with 76 goals and have a +11 advantage over Brooklands.

If everything goes according to plan Hallam would then go forward to the EHL Promotion Tournament.

The Belper match was the proverbial game of two halves, with Hallam going in at the break a goal down but then dictating play to come away with a vital three points thanks to a double strike from David Smith and one from Mike Shaw.

Golden goal time for the second team as they crushed Lytham St Annes 9-1 with doubles from Josh Netherwood, Adam Harriman and Tom Feasby and singles from Alex Humphries, Hugh Bagley and Andy Whiting.

The Thirds are just six points away from claiming the Yorkshire League title after a 3-1 victory over fellow title chasers Leeds. Tom Oldale, Tim Baker and Jamie Miller were their marksmen.

Nick Simms bagged a hat-trick as the fourth team handed out a 6-2 beating to Harrogate. Tim Elliott, Chris Battison and Dan Salthouse also netted for the third-in-the-table side.

A goal from Ben Meuth was enough to give the Fifths a 1-0 win over South Yorkshire rivals Rotherham 2 but the sixth team suffered a 6-2 defeat against Leeds 4. Matt and Chris Harrison got their goals but hopes of escaping relegation are rapidly diminishing for the bottom of Division 4 side.