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City of Manchester crowned British Water Polo Champions

18th February 2012

City of Manchester came out triumphant in a final fraught with tension at the British Gas Water Polo Championships in Manchester.

The home side faced London Otters who were playing in only their second British Championships.

It was a close first quarter with Manchester taking an early lead in the first 45 seconds only for it to be neutralised and overtaken by the Otters who led 2-1 for 20 seconds when Manchester drew level.

Manchester came out strongly at the start of the second quarter, gaining a two-goal advantage only for it to be matched by two London goals, including a penalty. Hoy tipped the scales back in Manchester’s favour but a determined effort by Otter, Krejci drew them back level as the teams went into half time deadlocked at 5-all.

Otters put their market down early in the third, scoring twice to pull two goals ahead.  Manchester weren’t going to relinquish their crown without a fight and added two to their tally to make it all square going into the final quarter.

Tempers got a bit frayed part way through the match

There was absolutely nothing between the teams with four minutes of the match remaining. Otter were awarded a penalty but Manchester goalie, Jade Smith put in a sterling effort to save the shot before her team mate Ella Chadderton broke the scoring stalemate with two minutes to go, putting Manchester in the lead.

Despite a critical time out called by Otter’s coach Nicholas Buller just before the last play of the match, Manchester held onto their lead and their title winning 8-7.

Manchester’s Captain Victoria Hawkins was delighted with the win. She said, “That was a fantastic team performance, we pulled together and showed great team spirit.

“Tempers got a bit frayed part way through the match but be got our composure back and came out triumphant.”

Lindsey Williams, Captain of London Otter was equally thrilled with their second place. The club, part of the ASA’s Beacon Programme at Crystal Palace, was playing in only their second British Championships.

“We’re really pleased with that, we’re on our way up,” she said. “To be within one goal of winning against Manchester is a fantastic result. We’ve worked on our fitness, training for swimming as well as water polo and i think that is starting to show.”

In an equally tense battle for third place, West London Penguins took on City of Liverpool to determine third and fourth places.

Penguins took an early lead against City of Liverpool with a 2-1 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Penguins consolidated their lead in the run up to half time scoring another four goals to Liverpool’s two at the break.

Despite some solid defence by the Londoners, Liverpool launched their attack early in the third quarter to score four goals to take the goal to a level score. Penguins fought hard to keep their lead and they went into the final quarter maintaining a two goal lead of 9-7.

Liverpool quickly drew level to 9-all before Bretherick of Penguins scored two goals in quick succession. A late effort by Liverpool pulled a goal back with seven seconds left to play but it was too late.

The final score was 11-10 to the West London Penguins who take third place.

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