City of Manchester close in on clean sweep

City of Manchester closed in on securing their second clean sweep in three years as all four of their teams progressed to their respective finals of the 2015 ASA National Age Group Water Polo Championships in Manchester.

Having completed the clean sweep of Boys’ and Girls’ U17 and U19 titles two years ago, the domestic giants left empty handed 12 months ago as they failed to defend any of the titles.

But there seems little chance of that happening again as all four of the City of Manchester semi-finalists progressed in impressive style.

The Boys’ U19 squad battled hard to overcome Lancaster in the final match of the day, securing a 10-2 win to set up a final against Croydon Amphibians – the only team unbeaten in this year’s Champs.

Croydon, who drew 7-7 with Manchester in the Qualification Round earlier this month, racked up the biggest margin of victory in any of the age groups with a 14-6 defeat of Exeter in their semi.

Sedgefield hand Exeter first defeat of U17 competition

In one of the closest matches of the day, Sedgefield handed unbeaten Exeter their first defeat of the Championships to book their place in the Boys’ U17 final.

There was little to choose between the two sides in the first half, the scores tied at 3-3 at the interval.

But goals from John Pratt (2), Isaac Wass and Aaron Mason in the third quarter saw the North East side establish a two-goal lead which they maintained in the final quarter to secure a 11-9 win.

Sedgefield, who lifted the Boys’ U15 crown last season, will line up against 2013 champions City of Manchester in the final after they overcame last year’s silver medallists Invicta.

Andrew Mattison bagged five for Manchester as they booked their return to the final after finishing fourth 12 months ago.

Defending champs London Otter storm past Liverpool

In the Girls’ U17 semis, defending champions London Otter hit form at the right time as they stormed past City of Liverpool in a repeat of last year’s final.

The London side took advantage of their opponents’ slow start and raced into a 5-0 lead in the first quarter.

Liverpool found their rhythm as the match went on but couldn’t eat into Otter’s advantage as Otter ultimately secured a 13-7 win.

The Londoners will need another top-drawer performance to defend their title with six-time champions City of Manchester maintaining their 100 per cent record in this year’s competition with a menacing 12-4 defeat of Exeter.

Championship top scorer Annie Clapperton continued to impress in front of net as she bagged a hat-trick to add to four goals from Lucy Thomas while goalkeeper Niamh Campbell-O’Donnell also played a starring role between the posts to keep Exeter’s offence at bay.

Otter and Manchester progress in Girls’ U19 Champs

It will also be an Otter v Manchester final in the Girls’ U19 event after they defeated Crawley and City of Liverpool respectively.

Like their younger counterparts, Manchester’s U19 team are unbeaten this campaign and will go into the final with plenty of confidence, having defeated Otter in both the Preliminary and Qualification stages of this year’s Championships.

Having finished runners-up to Liverpool last year, Manchester gained revenge with a 10-7 win in their semi-final while Otter secured a 10-5 victory over their southern rivals.

Semi Final Results

U17 Girls Semi Finals
City of Manchester12 – 4ExeterFT
City of Liverpool7 – 13OtterFT
U17 Boys Semi Finals
Invicta8 – 12City of ManchesterFT
Exeter9 – 11SedgefieldFT
U19 Girls Semi Finals
City of Manchester10 – 7City of LiverpoolFT
Otter10 – 5CrawleyFT
U19 Boys Semi Finals
Croydon Amphibians14 – 6ExeterFT
Lancaster3 – 10City of ManchesterFT