Lancaster set up home advantage in British Championship finals

Tom Curwen goes for goal against Cheltenham. Picture: Martin Henfield

Tom Curwen goes for goal against Cheltenham. Picture: Martin Henfield

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Lancaster City have secured their place in the British Water Polo Championship finals after coming through a must-win tie against Cheltenham.

The nine-time winners made a fast start at Salt Ayre Sports Centre on Sunday and opened up with four goals before the visitors managed to hit the back of the net.

The home team kept a comfortable lead throughout the game with Marc Robinson in goal making some crucial saves as he was named man of the match.

City played their strong defence tactics well, using the time outs to their advantage and pushed hard to get goals on quick counter attacks.

Goals were scored by Neil Bowers (3), Tom Curwen (2), Graham Harrington (2), Roger Kennedy (2) Glen Robinson (1) and Decland Ellwood (1) making the final score 12-7 to Lancaster as they sealed their finals place after missing out last season.

Head coach Zak Sly was pleased with the performance and highlighted the efforts of ‘keeper Robinson.

He said: “We played some different defence tactics which worked really well.

“We have worked hard over the past year to get to the finals after missing out last year.

“Marc Robinson played outstandingly well making several important and big saves.”

Lancaster will now face North West rivals City of Manchester in the finals which take place at their home Salt Ayre pool on the weekend of May 2 and 3.

Sly said: “As the finals will be played in our home pool it should give us that extra advantage having the supporters behind us.

“City of Manchester work well as a unit and are a fit side with many youngsters coming through.

“The key for us is to have a good, confident start and work hard in defence like we did against Cheltenham.”

Lancaster City’s junior team are through to the National Juniors Finals following two wins and a draw at the weekend in Watford.

Their trip started with a 7-7 draw with Exeter which was followed by a win against last year’s champions Solihull 8-5.

This set up another must win fixture for Lancaster against City of Manchester B team.

Lancaster started the game well and put four goals away early through James Pratt, Joel Leighton (2) and Aaron Mason before Manchester hit back.

The result was never in doubt however as Lancaster kept a steady lead with Owain Llewellyn making some outstanding saves, conceding just four goals overall.

Other City goals were scored by John Pratt (1), Alex Armstrong (1), Zak Lamb (2), James Pratt (a further 4), Joel Leighton (a further 2), Jordan Titley (1), and Stefano Cossutti (1).

Like the senior men the juniors now face City of Manchester A in the finals which take place at the Manchester Aquatics Centre on April 25 and 26.