Hallam look to return in style

Sheffield Hallam’s first team get back into Men’s North Conference action this Sunday with one their most important matches yet when they play leaders Bowdon at Abbeydale Park (1.30pm).

Bowdon were relegated from the Premier Division at the end of last season after several years in the top ten of English hockey and are looking to bounce straight back again.

Hallam, who are looking for their first proper chance to gain promotion to the elite, will be looking to stop them.

Neither team won last time out two weeks ago - Bowdon were held to a 1-1 draw away at third place Durham University while Hallam surprisingly lost 3-2 away to struggling Preston.

That loss did not affect Hallam’s second place but it did increase the gap between leaders Bowdon and themselves top two points, meaning that victory on Sunday would move Hallam top of the table once again.

The squad are well rested with the Hallam student contingent well in touch having played their midweek BUCS Northern Premier matches on the last two Wednesdays.

Bowdon are a good well-coached side and are not an easy side to score against, they have conceded only eight goals in their seven matches while Hallam have leaked 18. On the goalscoring front Hallam are in front, having scored 24 to Bowdon’s 19.

This will be a captivating match and one that could affect the outcome of the title and one promotion play-off place come the end of March.

Hallam’s second team fought out an uncompromising draw with Didsbury Northern last Saturday in a typical North Div One midtable tussle.

The result doesn’t do a lot for Hallam, keeping them in seventh place in a clutch of midtable clubs who on present form are unlikely to trouble either end of the table come the end of the season.

This week they have the unenviable task of travelling to leaders Ben Rhydding who have won all six of their matches and, along with second-placed Gateshead, have pulled clear of everyone else.

Hallam are good enough to avoid defeat, but against a team that have scored 27 in six games it remains to be seen.

Sheffield’s third team secured a massive three points against table topping, free scoring University of Leeds, prevailing 4-1 - moving them into second place ahad of a tough trip to Ben Rhydding.

Scorers: Bily Root 1-F, Nick Sims 1-PC, Ben Hyatt 1-F, Own Goal 1-F.