Sports teams from the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University will face off once again for this years’ annual Varsity matches. 

Sheffield Varsity is a series of sports competitions between the two universities that take place in March and April, with the aim of celebrating and promoting sport in the city.

There will be 45 sports teams competing this year, with around 12,000 people expected to come and watch. 

The first match this year will be the mixed ice hockey at Utilita Arena on Wednesday 20 March.

Ben Hodgkins, president of the Sheffield Sabres, Sheffield University’s American football team, says this is his third and final Varsity match. 

He said: “For a lot of us, it’s the end of an era and the last chance to play with this team. We want to win. It’s been a long time since The Sheffield Sabres have won a varsity game so we want to do all we can to change that, and kick off the varsity period on a high.

“Every year, the Varsity game is billed as the biggest and this year is no exception. Me and the team just want to win, and break this streak that’s been plaguing us for the last decade.”

Sheffield’s first Varsity matches took place in 1997. The matches were cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, but returned in 2022 for the 25th anniversary. 

Credit: Sheffield Varsity

Ben said: “Varsity is the accumulation of everyone’s hard work throughout the year. It’s the last opportunity for us to go out there, play with our mates and represent the University. And what better time to do it than against our city’s rivals. 

“It’s also a time for people to learn and see first hand what sports this university offers and we may even catch the attention of some eager people next year.”

The Sheffield Sabres will compete against Sheffield Hallam University at 6pm on Friday 22 March at Sheffield Hallam Sports Park.

When asked what the crowds can do to support the team, Ben said: “Just get behind us! In this sport you feed off noise and any support we do get is always appreciated. 

“Every big hit and every massive play should be celebrated. It helps us want to do it again. I know the lads on the sidelines will be on it, so just try to match their energy.”