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City of Sheffield 'exceed expectations' to land national title

City of Sheffield ‘exceeded their expectations’ as they were crowned Swim England National Age Group U15s girls champions.

The Yorkshire side won all five of their matches at the Manchester Aquatics Centre – and defeated Cheltenham 14-3 in the final – to leave coaches Chris and Claudine Motley full of pride.

“The whole team was phenomenal,” they said. “We didn’t come into today expecting to win the whole thing and they have completely exceeded our expectations.

“We could not be prouder of the girls.”

A dominant opening performance saw City of Sheffield win their first group game 16-0 against Otter Futura – and the wins just kept coming after that emphatic start.

They then defeated eventual finalists Cheltenham 11-5 before sealing their 100 per cent group record with an 11-3 victory over Watford.

In the semi-final, they faced City of Liverpool, who had sealed their place in the last four with a convincing 21-2 final group game victory over Iceni.

City of Sheffield impressed going forward, particularly on the counter. Some  fantastic driving swims into space and clinical finishing ensured they booked their place in the final with a 10-5 win.

Cheltenham just edged past Otter 5-3 in the other semi-final to set-up a chance of avenging their group game defeat.

Both goalkeepers impressed in the final with some high quality stops at both ends as the two teams fought for supremacy.

But it was City of Sheffield who managed to take an early lead, combining intelligent, measured water polo with high intensity counter attacking swims.

The Yorkshire side soaked up a lot of pressure from Cheltenham, who also worked the ball forward with good purpose, but struggled to find a way past the City of Sheffield goalkeeper.

With every attack that broke down, Sheffield sought to use their pace and broke forward quickly, taking a 7-3 lead into half time.

Cheltenham kept pressing forward with intent and, for the most part, were certainly in this game.

But despite their pressure, City of Sheffield simply found another gear and scored three in quick succession midway through the second half to take control of the game.

Dominating the play they overpowered a still very good Cheltenham team, adding a few more goals in the latter stages  to secure the title.

City of Sheffield also claimed all three individual awards with Eva Howath named best goalkeeper, the prolific Emma Jackson top goalscorer and Emily Crossley MVP.

Otter seal bronze medal

Otter sealed the bronze medal with a 3-0 victory against City of Liverpool.

It was their second win over City of Liverpool after defeating them 4-3 in the group stages.

City of Liverpool built a number of positive attacks but were unable to find a way past the outstanding Otter goalkeeper, who managed to claim her third clean sheet of the tournament.

Otter ventured forward with equal menace, and eventually found a way past the Liverpool defence three times to secure third place.

Report: Charlie Benny. Picture: City of Sheffield Waterpolo Facebook page