Hockey round-up: Simon Hujwan stars as Hallam stave off relegation

Simon Hujwan, right, was in fine form for Hallam
Simon Hujwan, right, was in fine form for Hallam
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Sheffield Hallam’s indoor hockey side enjoyed a week to remember as they staved off relegation from Division One of the Men’s Super 6s competition.

Hallam performed above expectations throughout the week-long competition, with safety the primary objective, as they secured a seventh-placed finish.

Alarm bells were ringing in the early stages of the competition, as they lost all three of their opening weekend fixtures against Brooklands, Team Bath and Southgate earlier this month.

But a stirring display to beat Doncaster 9-2 was considered by the club to be the turning point in terms of staying in the division.

Andy Jackson scored six times in the thumping victory, to help his side leapfrog their Yorkshire counterparts and put them clear as the highest ranked side in the region for the first time.

A further wobble ensued, though, as back-to-back defeats against West Herts, Surbiton and Old Loughtonians had Hallam in the relation spots with just one game remaining.

Relying on Old Loughtonians to lose and a victory of their own, the odds looked stacked against Hallam survival.

But with news that the other result had gone their way - Old Loughtonians, having beaten Hallam earlier that very same day, losing to Cannock - the Sheffield side knew that victory would be enough to keep them up on goal difference.

And they pulled it off in dramatic style, coming back from a losing position at half-time.

Two goals from David Knapton did the damage after the break to put Hallam 4-2 up, after Ethan Chapman had equalised, and despite a late consolation goal, they held on to win and secure safety.

Player-coach David Smith felt that the victory could largely be owed to goalkeeper Simon Hujwan, who pulled off a number of saves to keep Cannock at bay in that final encounter.

He said: “Simon put in a top quality display against Cannock in the final game to us to victory and, more importantly, a better goal difference than Old Loughtonians.

“We’re delighted with the achievement. We’re a young, inexperienced indoor side, and we’ve done really well to fulfil the objective and remain in the division.”

Meanwhile, there was no action at the Goodwin Centre for the Sheffield University Bankers this week, owing to the weather.

There was plenty of pride at the club, though, as fourth team member Lee Barron starred as an umpire at the European Indoor Hockey finals in Prague.