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Cheltenham and Manchester crowned British Water Polo Festival winners

Manchester have been crowned the inaugural winners of the Women’s British Water Polo Festival.

They defeated Liverpool in the first senior water polo competition to be played in 18 months.

The event also saw Cheltenham’s men claim the British Water Polo Championships title after defeating Invicta.

A total of 12 teams were involved in the tournament, at Cheltenham’s Sandford Park Lido, which adhered to strict Covid guidelines.

In the women’s competition, Manchester and Liverpool booked their places in the final with two wins each on the opening day of the event.

Manchester defeated Sheffield 9-4 and Hucknall 7-2, while Liverpool were victorious against Coventry (9-5) and Tyldesley (11-6).

That set up a final showdown on the second day of the competition and Manchester triumphed 10-8 to lift the trophy.

In the men’s event, Invicta won both their matches, while Cheltenham and Sheffield were both unbeaten after winning one and drawing one.

It was home side Cheltenham who booked their place in the final by virtue of a better goal difference from their two games.

They inflicted a first defeat on Invicta over the weekend as they sealed an 11-6 win to take the title.

Liverpool’s Katie Hesketh was the women’s top scorer with nine goals, a feat matched by Cheltenham’s Tom Hunt.

The event was made possible thanks to Cheltenham Swimming and Water Polo Club providing all the officials and volunteers.

It was attended by Swim England president Ian Mackenzie who presented the trophies to the winning captains.

Pictures courtesy of HilligerPix

Full results

Women’s competition

Day one

  • Manchester 9 Sheffield 4
  • Liverpool 9 Coventry 5
  • Sheffield 10 Hucknall 5
  • Coventry 12 Tyldesley 1
  • Manchester 7 Hucknall 2
  • Liverpool 11 Tyldesley 6

Day two

  • 5th/6th place match – Hucknall 13 Tyldesley 14 (9-9 full-time – went to penalties)
  • Bronze medal match – Sheffield 9 Coventry 10 (8-8 full-time – went to penalties)
  • Final – Manchester 10 Liverpool 8

Men’s competition

Day one

  • Manchester 2 Invicta 4
  • Sheffield 5 Lancaster 4
  • Invicta 10 Sutton & Cheam 7
  • Lancaster 5 Cheltenham 8
  • Manchester 10 Sutton & Cheam 7
  • Sheffield 9 Cheltenham 9

Day two

  • 5th/6th place match – Sutton & Cheam 8 Lancaster 14
  • Bronze medal match – Manchester 14 Sheffield 8
  • Final – Invicta 6 Cheltenham 11