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Water Polo: City’s British title hopes boosted after qualifying for Super 5s

The Lancaster City team stand outside Hillcroft Nursing Home, who sponsor their kit.
The Lancaster City team stand outside Hillcroft Nursing Home, who sponsor their kit.
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Lancaster City Men’s Water Polo team kept their British title hopes alive at the weekend as they booked their place in next year’s Super 5s with victories over Invicta and Cheltenham.

The Lancaster side needed two wins from their final three games to guarantee their place in next year’s competition but got off to a losing start against Manchester at Salt Ayre.

City started the strongest in front of a vocal home crowd, moving into 3-1 lead with some excellent counter attack goals from Tom Curwen and Ryan Pinington.

Lancaster then began to struggle defensively, allowing Manchester to make it 6-6 at half-time and a really poor third quarter saw the away team take a three-goal lead.

City pushed in the final quarter and goals by Curwen, London 2012 Olympian Glen Robinson and Harrington were not enough as they couldn’t turn round the deficit, losing 9-8.

With this result Lancaster had to win both of their remaining games and Invicta were first up only four hours after the Manchester loss.

City again started strongly with some strong centre forward play from Robinson allowing room for the returning Alex Parsonage to grab his first of the weekend, the hosts leading 4-2 after the first quarter.

Again, the lead was cut after another poor second quarter, sloppy defending and some poor shot selection allowing Invicta back into the game and making the score level at half-time.

Bringing Armstrong and Pinington back into the game gave City more pace and a great goal by Stefano Cosutti allowed some slight breathing space before a shutout in the final quarter with some top defending by Lamb and Simpson.

Marc Robinson was also in fine form in goal as City triumphed 11-8 and went into Sunday’s game against Cheltenham withplenty of belief.

Sunday couldn’t have started any worse for Lancaster however, going down 3-0 with their attacks being thwarted by the excellent Cheltenham ‘keeper.

After some tactical changes, City started to see some reward for their efforts though as Jordan Titley and Dan Armstrong began to cause the Cheltenham defence problems and goals from Robinson (2), Curwen and Cosutti saw the Cheltenham lead cut to one going into the final eight minutes of play.

Buoyed by the home crowd, City clicked in the final quarter, allowing Cheltenham limited opportunities and their attacking ability finally shone through with doubles for Parsonage and Cosutti and a final goal by Harrington – City winning what was a tense final game 9-6.

With that win City now have eight more games to play against the top four sides in the country in their bid for the British title.