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Two finals for Manchester as Cheltenham and West London Penguin book places

City of Manchester booked themselves places in both the U17 finals on the opening day of the 2023 Swim England Water Polo National Age Group Championships.

Both their boys and girl’s U17 teams progressed after victories against Exeter and City of Liverpool.

Sunday’s girl’s final will see the Manchester club take on Cheltenham whilst West London Penguin will face them in the boys final.

City of Liverpool and City of Sheffield will go head to head in the battle for bronze in the U17 girls event, whilst Worthing and Exeter will face-off for the final step on the podium in the U17 boys competition.

Manchester win out North West derby

City of Manchester’s U17 girls opened up the day with an expert display to get past the City of Liverpool.

Manchester eased past their North West rivals, partly in thanks to a stunning first half display.

They asserted themselves in to a 9-4 lead by the end of the second period and when Liverpool pushed to try get back into the game they punished them, with seven third-period goals.

That put the game beyond reach for a Liverpool side who kept on fighting, but ultimately fell to a 19-9 defeat.

Lucy Blenkinship was the star of the show for Manchester, netting nine of her sides goals including five in the third period alone.

She was joined on the scoresheet by Amelia Crompton – who scored five of her own – hat trick hero Abigail Colson, Ellie Donnellan and Alex Watkins.

Leading the way on the Liverpool goal scoring charts was Isabella Ibbs, who grabbed five of her team’s goals, Lucy Davis scored a hattrick and Annie Rowland added a late consolation.

Manchester’s first half blitz

Manchester’s U17 boys got off the blocks just as quick as their girls side as they put nine past Exeter inside the first half.

They scored eight unanswered goals to start off the contest before Exeter fired two goals back in the second quarter.

It meant that Manchester went into the half time interval with 9-2 advantage and from that position they never looked back.

A further nine goals in the second half saw them run out 18-2 winners against an Exeter side who gave it their all right until the final whistle.

In a well-rounded display, the 18 goals were spread across nine players Manchester players with Miles Kinloch leading the way for them with five.

Max Spragg and Oliver Salimbeni each scored three with George Billington getting two goals to his name.

Ben Giles, Eli Wass, James Logan, Freddy Dean and Harry Butler rounded out Manchester’s scoring.

Exeter’s two goals were scored by Sam Harper and Harry Colman.

The South West will be hoping they can use this experience to bounce back with a strong performance in tomorrow’s bronze medal match with Worthing.

Cheltenham set up repeat of 2022 final

In the other U17 girls’ semi-final, Cheltenham were victorious against the City of Sheffield to set up a repeat of the last year’s final with Manchester.

They put 20 goals past their opposition and conceded just 11 to book their place in tomorrow’s gold medal match.

After a closely fought opening period, Cheltenham stepped up their game in the second as they extended their lead to seven by the half-way mark.

Amelie Perkins was their standout performer after she scored eight of her teams goals whilst Jess day added three more to boot.

The rest of the goals were evenly spread across the squad with Lilly Ross (2), Megan Ross, Alice Shields (2), Clemmie Hitz, Alex Haslam and Georgia Haslam all getting on the scoresheet.

Despite an impressive display from Alice Berrill, City of Sheffield missed out on a place in tomorrow’s final.

She scored eight goals in reply for her club, with five coming in the third period as Sheffield looked to get back into the contest.

An Izzi Olcer hat trick added to Sheffield’s final tally as they prepare to face City of Liverpool in the bronze medal match on Sunday.

West London Penguin oust defending champions Worthing

The second U17 boys semi-final saw West London Penguin defeat defending champions Worthing 19-6.

A strong defensive display from the Penguins was crucial in their victory, which saw them concede just three goals after the first quarter.

They were more than on their game going forward too, with Maximos Karagiannis netting six and both Shai Saltman and Bayley Sapsed bagging three apiece.

Sidney Gruber, Matteo Antonelli and Sam Wood all scored twice, with Daniel D’Souza adding one of his own in the fourth and final quarter.

Half of Worthing’s goals were scored by Tumay Evcimen Junior with Caleb Slingo, Cassius Humphrey and Joey Taylor all grabbing a goal each.

It means that Penguin will go onto face Manchester in tomorrow’s final as the club looks to regain the trophy they last won in 2019.

You can keep up with all the action from the Swim England Water Polo National Age Group Championships here.

Images – Will Johnston Photography

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