Manchester’s female water polo team enjoyed a home victory in the all-North West final of the British Gas Water Polo Championships, beating Liverpool 10-5.
Manchester came to the national finals on the back of an unbeaten run in the winter-long Super Fives competition, dropping just a single point to Otter back in December. It was that weekend that they came up against Liverpool Lizards for the second time, narrowly beating them 5-3 and it was to be a similarly cagey affair at the Manchester Aquatic Centre.
It took until halfway through the first period of the final for Liverpool to break the stalemate and, by the end of the first quarter, the score was at two goals apiece. Further goals from Kathryn Fowler and Katie Hesketh brought the score to 4-3 to Liverpool by half-time. By the time the third quarter got under way, Manchester began to show their league-winning form and two Ella Chadderton goals plus a Siobhan Hoy effort put Manchester three goals clear, Liverpool unable to find an answer to the home side’s increasing dominance.
With just four minutes left, Hoy scored again and with Casey Smith getting in on the goals, the lead had been extended to 9-4. The time ticked away and Manchester were assured of success, claiming the title with a 10-5 win.
Later today, the men’s third place play-off is followed by the final, which sees Bristol Central face off against Lancaster. Unlike the women, who qualified by virtue of their league positions, the men took part in a preliminary round. The semis swiftly followed and league winners Cheltenham were put out by Lancaster in a penalty-filled encounter. Bristol also fought off Manchester to book their place in the 13:45 final which, by yesterday’s reckoning, should be full of goals.
British Swimming will be providing goal-by-goal commentry of the men’s final on their Twitter feed, where you can also catch up on today’s other final and all other matches from this tournament.