City of Manchester secured a second ASA National Age Group Water Polo title for 2015 after beating Croydon Amphibians 5-4 in the Boys’ U19 final at the Manchester Aquatics Centre.
Having watched their female counterparts win gold in the Girls’ U19 final, the Manchester boys produced a stirring performance to land gold, recovering from 3-1 down to ultimately seal their fourth title with a 5-4 win.
Aaron Winstanley scored the winner for Manchester, who also survived a man-down with just 34 seconds left on the clock.
And Manchester captain Rob Gourley admitted it was the perfect way for the older members of the squad to sign off from age group competition.
“It was a great game,” said Gourley. “To be two goals down in the last game we’re ever going to play together and then for Aaron to score that penalty in the last quarter, especially with the home support behind us, we couldn’t have won it any better way.
“I think that’s the third time this group has won a NAG title so to do it in our last match was great. You could see how much it means to us by how we celebrated.”
The first goal of the game came from Croydon’s Matt Helps, but was followed almost instantly by a Manchester goal from Chris Ray.
Croydon had gone unbeaten right up until the final in this year’s tournament and Ashley Castle put them further ahead with two goals in the second quarter, leaving them 3-1 up as the teams went into the third quarter.
Despite numerous attempts at the Manchester goal, Croydon could not find a fourth and instead it was Manchester who found the target, first through competition MVP Winstanley, then through Tom Prayle.
Both teams scored a goal in the final quarter. Gourley found the net first before Castle completed his hat-trick just 11 seconds later to level terms again.
It seemed neither side would get a decisive goal as the clock counted down, but a penalty with less than two minutes to go provided Manchester with the chance they needed to claim victory as Winstanley fired an unstoppable shot home to finish the match.
Lancaster claim bronze with defeat of Exeter
Lancaster survived a final quarter comeback to claim bronze with a 13-12 defeat of Exeter.
Lancaster were 5-1 up after just one quarter with two goals from Adam Courtley, two for Zach Lamb and one for Joel Leighton.
Exeter’s Samuel Alberici pulled one before the end of the period but the onslaught continued in the second quarter as Lancaster’s Courtney completed his hat-trick in the second quarter, adding to strikes from John Pratt and Jordan Titley.
But Exeter’s fightback began to take form with the second quarter drew to a close, as they pulled back three goals in the last two minutes of the period to keep themselves in the fight.
Both sides traded four apiece in the third quarter before and while Exeter added another three in Q4, they fell just one goal short.
- Click here to download simplified match sheets from the U19 Boys’ Finals.
Boys U19 Finals
|U19 Boys Semi Finals|
|Croydon Amphibians||14 – 6||Exeter||FT|
|Lancaster||3 – 10||City of Manchester A||FT|
|U19 Boys Bronze Medal Match|
|Exeter||12 – 13||Lancaster||FT|
|U19 Girls Final|
|Croydon Amphibians||4 – 5||City of Manchester A||FT|