> Taken from www.swimming.org/britishswimming
Bristol Central will face Lancaster tomorrow in the men’s final of the British Gas Water Polo Championships after two tough semi-finals at the Manchester Aquatics Centre today.
The first match between Lancaster and Cheltenham had everything a closely fought semi final should, plenty of drama and goals.
Cheltenham, the current National League Champions were favourites going into the game but Lancaster won the first swim off and Michael Brown converted a well worked man up to give them an early lead.
Alex Parsonage got Lancaster’s second before Will Middleton and Mark Banwell evened up the scoreline.
Lancaster were denied by the in form Cheltenham goalkeeper Elliott Murphy on a number of occasions but determined attacking play by Tom Curwen and Alex Parsonage broke through the defence and at the end of the first quarter they led 4-2.
Lancaster won the second swim off and winger Decland Ellwood quickly converted a lob shot before having to leave the pool with a blood injury.
Ben Walker and Curwen scored again to extend their lead to 7-2. Cheltenham scored a consolation goal before the buzzer and at half time Lancaster were dominating 7-3.
Cheltenham came out firing in the third with a quick goal but Lancaster fought hard to maintain their lead and led 10-6 going into the final quarter.
Replacement goalkeeper Marc Robinson had a fantastic game, twice denying Cheltenham penalty attempts. Despite fighting back in the final minutes of the game, Cheltenham couldn’t match the Lancastrians.
The game finished 15-11 to Lancaster and they will face Bristol Central in tomorrow’s final after their victory against Manchester.
Bristol Central took an early three-nil lead in the first quarter before Manchester fought back at the start of the second, with Mike Bourne converting his chances to get his team onto the scoreboard.
Central fought back to pull ahead with goals from Matt Thresher and Craig Figes before Joe O’Regan found the net to put Manchester back within two goals. Central’s Ollie Bray scored another to extend their lead before O’Regan scored again and at half time the score was 6-4.
At the start of the third, Jonny Kirk of Manchester got quickly onto the scoresheet to reduce the deficit but Central pulled away again. Manchester gained some ground back but the Central goalkeeper Ben Alcorn, who was having a very impressive game, kept their best attacks at bay and the score was 9-6 at the buzzer.
Bristol shot out of the blocks at the start of the fourth and despite losing the swim off, they turned the ball over and scored. A penalty from Joe O’Regan kept Manchester in the game but Central were determined to keep momentum and they responded with a goal of their own.
Despite two late Manchester goals, Central who led throughout, had done enough to secure their place against Lancaster in tomorrow’s final, with a final score of Bristol Central 11- Manchester 9.