City of Manchester close in on defence of National Junior and Youth Water Polo titles
Defending champions, City of Manchester A junior boys, are on track to reclaim their title as National Junior Water Polo champions after a dominant display in their qualifying rounds.
The team, who remain unbeaten throughout the preliminary and qualifying rounds, stamped impressive wins over group B challengers Croydon, Exeter and City of Manchester B to book their spot in the finals in their home town later this month (26 - 27 April).
Joining them in the final will be midlands-based rivals, Solihull A, who also took a clean sweep of their group A matches, winning each by a convincing margin of over 10 goals. Croydon and Cheltenham also enter into the fray finishing in third and fourth position respectively.
City of Manchester A junior girls also remain unbeaten in their group, despite the best efforts of Crawley who pushed them right down to the final whistle for a narrow 12-11 defeat. Crawley, however, were rewarded for this tenacity with a qualification position into the final.
After a ‘too close for comfort’ defeat over Otters, City of Liverpool eased into their stride in the group B junior girls competition, finishing their qualifying campaign with a 26 – 5 victory over Leeds Sharks and securing their ticket to Manchester.
Crawley and Otters will join the triumphant duo and battle it out in the final.
On to the Youth Boys qualifiers, where City of Manchester A where forced out of the qualifier top spot by Watford after a nail-biting group finale. Watford fought hard against the team from Manchester and closed play with a 10-9 victory.
Group B saw some equally close matches, with each losing team within two points of their victor. Invicta dominated over rivals Croydon and Lancaster City to seal the pole group position into the finals. Croydon just edged ahead of Lancaster City on points to make it through also.
In the girls event, eleven teams took to the stage all vying for the illusive top two qualification places.
In a mirror image finish of the junior girls, City of Manchester and City of Liverpool emerged victorious in their groups, both tallying impressive score lines to defeat the remainder of the field.
Crawley and Otters fill the final two qualifier places to complete the line up for the finals.
City of Manchester, who dominated the finals in all four age categories in 2013, will be hoping to put distance between themselves and rest of the field again this year, but the challengers are certainly hot on their heels in what promises to be an epic battle later this month.
For information about the finals click here