Lancaster City Swimming and Water Polo Club started their British Water Polo league campaign this weekend coming away with full points after two wins against Bristol Central and City of Sheffield at Ponds Forge.
Friday night saw the men’s team final training session and one that will remain long in the memory as before the session players, friends, family and Salt Ayre Staff got together to remember John “Ron” Winn, who passed away earlier in the year. The British Water Polo League President, Pippa Jones and the President of Lancaster City Mike Hesketh, unveiled a commemorative plaque which will be on show at Salt Ayre.
Lancaster first game of the weekend was against Bristol Central. The Lancaster team on Saturday saw Chris Hartley and James Wannop return after a couple years absence and junior Stef Cousttui making his debut for the senior side. Glen Robinson had to sit out the game due to a suspension brought forward from the last game of the 2014 season.
Bristol took an early lead but Lancaster kept in touch and by the end of the first quarter despite two gaols from Tom Curwen, Bristol lead 3:2. Bristol extended their lead scoring the first goal in the second quarter but Curwen added another two goals and Alex Parsonage scoring his first goal of the game put the City team 5:4 in lead by half time.
The second half was a cat a mouse affair with Lancaster maintaining a narrow lead all the way to the final whistle hanging on for a hard earned 10:9 victory. Curwen contributed a total of six goals, Parsonage contributed three and Declan Ellwood completed the scoring.
On Sunday Lancaster returned to Sheffield for a 6pm start against City of Sheffield. Glen Robinson returned to the side alongside two more new juniors Jordan Titley and Alex Armstrong making their debuts.
Lancaster took an early lead with a goal from Parsonage and after a slow start with another two goals from Parsonage and one from Curwen the first quarter finished 4-4.
Lancaster in the second quarter took advantage and only one goal passed slipped passed Lancaster goalkeeper Marc Robinson who made several outstanding saves. The goals were spread across the team with Parsonage adding two, Glen Robinson and Decland Ellwood one each and two more from Curwen to take the score to 10 – 5 at half time.
The third quarter continued like the second with a strong defence from the Lancaster side and the juniors making an appearance and supporting the Lancaster team well. Lancaster put another six goals past Sheffield Curwen putting 4 away and Parsonage two. With 30 seconds to go in the quarter a brutality sending out against Sheffield, gave Lancaster a man advantage for four minutes going into the final quarter.
With the score at 16-7 at the start of the third quarter, Lancaster coach Zak Sly decided to play his younger side for the final quarter. They did not disappoint. They worked hard setting up goals and making important passes that Parsonage scored three more to end his total 10 and Curwen another one, with Ellwood scoring his second goal of the game. Lancaster finished the game 23 -11.
Lancaster, Manchester and Cheltenham each have four points after the first weekend of action. Next fixtures are not until 31st October when Lancaster will travel to Sunderland when they they will face reigning champions Cheltenham and local side Team Northumbria.
Players: Marc Robinson, Tom Curwen, Alex Parsonage, Glen Robinson, Graham Harrington, Decland Ellwood, Chris Hartley, Ryan Pinnington, Scott Sharpe, Roger Kennedy, James Wannop, Robert Simpson, Jordan Titley, Aaron Mason, Stefan Cossutti and Alex Armstrong
Staff: Zak Sly (Head Coach), Jeff Parker (Assistant coach) and Nigel Sharpe (Team Manager)