The Lancaster youth team travelled to Manchester Aquatic Centre to start their campaign on retaining their title of National Championships.
The coaches and players knew it was going to be a long day with six games being played over six hours.
Lancaster first game was against Exeter. Exeter won the ball and had the first shot but Lancaster goalkeeper Owain Llwellyn pulled of a great save. Lancaster then got a man up and Captain Zak Lamb scored the first goal of the game. A couple of man down for both teams and a strong defence by both teams denied any goals. The next man down was against Lancaster and quickly one two pass sore Exeter equalize.
This was quickly followed by a Lancaster penalty and Jordon Titley placed it nicely in the top corner to put Lancaster ahead once again. Another man down and Exeter bring it back to 2-2 but Ben Turnbull puts Lancaster back to a one goal lead just before half time.
In the last half of the game Exeter call and time out and slot the ball in the back of the Lancaster goal to take it back to 3 -3. Exeter then score another goal which placed them in the lead for the first time, but a man up for Lancaster saw Turnbull make a nice pass to Dean Akister on the post and fires in in the back of the next to make sure Exter don’t get away! With time running out fast Turnbull scores the winning goal for Lancaster with four seconds to go. Lancaster wins their first game 5 -4
Lancaster second game was against Welsh Wanderers which was a one sided game with Lancaster scoring 21 goals and both Lancaster goalkeepers Llewellyn and Josh Loather making some great saves. The Lancaster goal scores James Pratt (4), Joe Barker (4), Titley (4), Turnbull (2), Lamb (2), Adam Coutley (2), Akister (1) Stefano Coustti (1) and Aaron Mason (1). Final score Lancaster 21 Welsh Wanderers 0
Lancaster third game was against Invicta. Lancaster opened up the scoring quickly with two goals Turnbull and Barker. Some good saves from Owain in goal and another quick counter attack and Turnbull passes the ball to Barker in the pit and he scores a backhand to take Lancaster 3-0 up. Just before half time Invicta sneak a goal in.
The second half starts with a sneaky lob from Turnbull. Lancaster next attack sees a man up and its Turnbull passing another good ball to Akister sees a four goal lead. Invicta are next awarded a penalty and Loather in goal makes a great save and Lamb gets the ball counter attacks down the pool and scores across cage shot. Invicta score two quick goals before the end of the game. Final score Lancaster 6 Invicta 3.
Lancaster next game was against City of Sheffield, who have a good set up for junior players. Lancaster again open the game with two goals from lamb and Barker and Sheffield hit back and score their first goal. Akister makes a nice clean steal and some quick passing of the ball sees Pratt score Lancaster third goal.
Second half opens with two goals from Sheffield which brings them right back into the game. Some more great saves by Llewellyn denies Sheffield of some goals and Lamb scores and takes his team back into the lead. Sheffield are awarded a penalty and Llewellyn makes a crucial save and Titley scores and puts Lancaster two goals up with 20 seconds to go. Final score Lancaster 5 Sheffield 3
Lancaster next game was not their best game. Four games played and they were just not ready for a strong Solihull team who took lead from the start and never looked back. Lancaster scores Pratt (2), Lamb (1) and Akister (1). Final score Solihull 9 Lancaster 4
Lancaster last game of a long day was against Caledonia. The Lancaster lads already played this team a couple weeks before in a friendly game up in Scotland. Lancaster took control of the game well and Llewellyn and Loather pulled off seem great saves as they have done all day. A strong defence only saw Caledonia score three goals with Lancaster scorers Pratt (2), John Pratt (3), Barker (2) and Mason (2). Final score Lancaster 9 Caledonia 3
Lancaster finished second in their group and will play in Gloucester, on the 6th and 7th April, for the qualification round with another seven teams to find the top four teams to go through to the Semi Final to be held on the 27th April at Manchester Aquatic Centre