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Salt Ayre Sports Centre was host to two big water polo championships at the weekend where home team, Lancaster City Swimming and Water Polo Club, qualified for the National and British water polo finals.
It was the under 19 men’s team who played two games on Saturday, first up against London Invicta. Lancaster started off the game with a three nil lead; two from Pratt and one from Turnbull. Lancaster continued with a hard, fast pace and Pratt put another two goals away, with Turnbull, Kelly and Cossutti scoring one each leaving the score at halftime 8 – 1.
Lancaster had a slow third quarter; nothing that worries the home side; Turnbull and Kelly adding another goal each to their tally, but three goals from Invicta took the score going into the final quarter 10 -4. Lancaster knew for the final quarter a big defence to stop Invicta scoring was all that was required and it paid off with Lancaster denying Invicta any more goals and finishing their first game 13 – 4.
Their second game of the day was against City of Sheffield, who City had previously beat in an earlier round. Lancaster started off the game, the same way as the game before and took a nice early four goals, one each from Turnbull, Mason, Wass and Pratt. Goalkeeper Llewellyn and his defence denied Sheffield any goals in the opening quarter.
The rest of the game saw Sheffield’s Hunt score their only four goals with Lancaster hitting the back of the net 12 more times; Pratt racking up his total added another four goals, along with two each from Kelly and Wass and A. Armstrong, Mason, D. Armstrong and Palin one each. After their second victory of 16 – 4 Lancaster had now qualified for the National finals with one game in hand.
Their final game on Sunday was a battle for the top of the group with Lancaster and Watford already through to the national finals. A fast moving, high tempo first quarter saw Lancaster down to Watford with a low score of 1-2, with left-hander Turnbull opening up Lancaster scoring.
Lancaster continued to push hard in the second quarter scoring three goals, two from Wass and Titley scoring from the centre forward. Lancaster only let Watford hit the back of the net once, giving Lancaster the lead advantage by halftime.
The third quarter saw an early brutality exclusion for Watford’s Hudson and Watford having to play with six men for four minutes. Lancaster scored three more goals to Watford’s one, with Pratt, Kelly and Titley scoring one each. Lancaster now had a three goal lead going into he last quarter. Lancaster worked hard in the last quarter wanting to finish top of their group and two goals each from Pratt and Wass, with Cossutti scoring one left the game at a 12 – 7 victory.
Lancaster now takes on City of Manchester in the semi-final at their home pool, Manchester Aquatics Centre, on the 23rd April. A big game for Lancaster not only as they lost out to Manchester last year in the semi-final but it also marks the one year anniversary of the late Ron Winn.
Junior Team: O. Llewelyn, M. Alderson, B. Turnbull (5), A. Armstrong (1), M. Kelly (5), A. Mason (2), I. Wass (8), S. Cossutti (2), J. Pratt (13), D. Armstrong (1), K. Egginton, J. Titley (2), H. Palin (1)
Staff: Z. Sly, T. Curwen and P. Mason