City of Manchester and Watford book their places in the gold medal match

City of Manchester and Watford booked their places in tomorrow’s gold medal match after an exciting day of action at the GoCardless Swim England U15 Open National Age Group Championships 2023.

Both teams came through their group with a 100% record before battling past City of Birmingham and Worthing respectively to set up what will be a classic final on Sunday.

City of Manchester opened up the competition with an impressive 8-6 victory against Exeter before putting in commanding performances against Sutton & Cheam (8-2) and Hucknall (11-1) to ensure they topped Group A.

It set them up with a showdown against City of Birmingham who were looking to do the Midlands region proud in Coventry.

City of Birmingham found their way into the match with Manchester after they led the way in Group B despite finishing level on points with an impressive West London Penguin side.

The two sides drew 7-7 in a thriller and both won their other two matches but Birmingham’s superior goal difference against third-place Cheltenham saw them finish ahead in the standings.

But despite a competitive contest, City of Manchester got over the line with a 6-5 victory despite a late Birmingham fightback.

It was an even start to the match but Manchester were ruthless in front of goal with Andrew Stephenson (2)  and Oliver Carter both scoring in the first to give their side an early 3-1 lead.

They managed the game well for the next two periods, extending the gap to head into the final quarter 5-2 up but Birmingham weren’t going down without a fight.

A late double from Erik Buhaescu and one from Erikson Yip made it a nervy end to the contest.

Buhaecu’s second came just 46 seconds from time but it was too late for Birmingham as Manchester held on to cement their place in the final.

Wonderful Watford

City of Manchester will face Watford in the final after they impressed in their playoff match with Worthing.

They came away with a 10-5 victory as they swept past the strong South East side. 

A hat trick from Gethin Dorrington and two a piece for Ilija Crompton, Khian Chandaria and Theodoros Katsaris put the club into a commanding lead with Rishi Patel adding one of his own in the final quarter to book themselves a place in the final.

Worthing battled on strongly but couldn’t quite find their way back within striking distance after a level opening period. 

They will move on to face City of Birmingham in the bronze medal match after their impressive two wins saw them top Group D.

Worthing got past both Beckenham (8-6) and Sedgefield (11-3) in two strong displays earlier in the day to lead the standings whilst Watford earnt two wins against City of Sheffield (17-3) and Grantham (21-1) on their route to the final.

Elsewhere Exeter will face Beckenham for fifth place after they narrowly defeated West London Penguin in this evening’s session with Penguin looking to bounce back in their match with Sheffield in the battle for seventh.

Each side have one game each tomorrow to decide their final placings for the event so it’s set to be a super Sunday in Coventry.

Check out all the scores from the day here and check out today’s event photography courtesy of Will Johnston Photography.