Lancaster City Swimming and Water Polo club missed out in their 13th title by just one goal after beating City of Manchester.
Lancaster made a storming start against Manchester, racing into a 6-2 lead thanks to goals from regular scorers, Tom Curwen (2) Glen Robinson (1), Alex Parsonage (1), Scott Sharpe (1) and junior Stefano Cossutti scoring his first goal of the game.
The balance of the game then changed when Lancaster’s Tom Curwen and opponent Rob Rae were both excluded for the rest of the game for misconduct. Manchester narrowed the deficit to 8-5 by the end of the third and looked favourites to push on to victory after levelling at 8-8 in the last.
But Lancaster rallied again, late goals another by Cossutti and Harrington’s second goal sealing a terrific battle. Unfortunately the final score line of 10 – 8, meant that Lancaster could no longer regain the title due to an inferior goal difference.
A deflated Lancaster took on Invicta on Sunday in their final game of the league campaign. The game did not start well as Invicta scored three early goals and it could have been worse if it was not for a number of great saves by junior Owain Llewellyn. Prior to the end of the first quarter Cossutti stepped up and scored his third goal of the weekend as Lancaster finished the first quarter 3-1 down.
Robinson and Parsonage found the back of the Invicta next in the second quarter but Lancaster could not stop Invicta scoring and they put another four away so at half-time Lancaster trailed 7 – 3.
An improved performance in the third quarter from the City side saw Robinson and Parsonage score another goal each with Curwen putting two more goals away and Sharpe another one. Lancaster were still playing catch up with the end of the third quarter finishing 9-8 to Invicta.
It was an even-steven final quarter with Harrington and Parsonage hitting the back of the net each and Chris Hartley scored his final goal on his retirement game. Invicta just pipped the win and Lancaster lost 12 – 11.
Lancaster finished off in third place overall.
Lancaster head coach Zak Sly said; “It was disappointing to lose our chance of the title by goal difference against Manchester and I am sure if we had done it the game against Invicta would have been a different one”
“It was great to see Chris Hartley return this season, but after some chats, he has decided to hang his hat up and retire from the senior team making way for the talented younger players who are coming on well”
“Look out for these young players, as I am certain next year you will be hearing much more of them; Aaron Mason (16), Stefano Cossutti (17), Alex Armstrong (17), Owain Llewellyn (17), Jordan Titley (18) and Zak Lamb (18). ”
Lancaster start their British Championship campaign against Invicta on Sunday 6th march at Salt Ayre Sports Centre, where Lancaster will be looking for their 10th British Championship title. Doors open at 14.00 and there will be a small fee of £2.50 for adults and £1.50 for under 16’s”