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All North West final for women’s Water Polo Champs

23rd February 2013

Manchester dominated against Coventry in the first semi-final of the women’s British Gas Water Polo Championships as they look to defend the title they won last year.

Strong defence from both teams and, on a few occasions, the woodwork denied either team a goal until the end of the first quarter.

In a scrappy game with lots of reversals, shots on goal were few and far between for both teams but Manchester found their way into the game finally breaking the stalemate after five minutes of the first quarter played.

An early penalty for Manchester in the second quarter allowed Ella Chadderton to put her name on the score sheet. Rosie Huck followed her lead and a fine shot by Casey Smith gave the home side a 4-0 lead.

With seconds on the clock Rhianne Oscroft scored back for Coventry and it was 4-1 at half time.

Just 30 seconds after the swim off Manchester pulled away again with a second shot on target for Casey Smith. Victoria Hawkins brought Coventry back within four goals but Chadderton answered with another score for Manchester and they led 6-2 with one quarter remaining.

Manchester pulled away to a seven goal lead with minutes to play and a consolation goal from Oscroft in the dying minutes wasn’t enough for Coventry. The final score was Manchester 9 - Coventry 3.

They will face Liverpool after they narrowly defeated London Otter in the second semi final.

Otter were favourites ahead of the game and they started off strongly with a goal from Fran Leighton on the counter attack.  Liverpool followed with goals in quick succession from Rachel Drabble and Meritxell Manzano taking advantage of three man-ups.

Otter scored twice but Liverpool held the lead at the end of the quarter 4-3.

Liverpool dominated the second quarter pulling three goals clear thanks to some great play between the Hesketh sisters, Laura and Katie. Hannah Wild scored a long range shot to beat the Otter defence and they extended their lead to 7-4 by the end of the quarter.

Otter stated their intentions at the start of the third scoring three goals without response in the first two minutes of the quarter. Drabble responded for Liverpool but Otter shot right back with a long shot by Sarah Bennett.

Manzano scored again for Liverpool but Bennett of Otter got her third goal of the quarter to level the teams. At the end of the third quarter the score was tied at nine all.

With everything to play for in the last quarter, Otter took the lead for the first time since the beginning of the game thanks to a Lizzie Dunn penalty.  

Hesketh pulled back to ten-all before Fowler put Liverpool ahead. Otter fought back and the teams exchanged goal for goal until a crucial penalty converted by Drabble for Liverpool put them ahead in the last seconds of the game. The final score was Liverpool 13 London Otter 12.

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