01 Nov Champions Cheltenham struggle in British league By: Tim Hartog National Leagues, Miscellaneous British League men’s champions Cheltenham took just one point in the latest round of top division matches at Sunderland Aquatic Centre – but it probably won’t worry them too much at this stage. Key priority for Britain’s top clubs is qualifying for the five-team Super 5s in phase two of the season. Despite their slip-up, Cheltenham are already handily placed and should make it alongside City of Manchester, the current undefeated leaders, and Lancaster – with Invicta and Bristol Central pushing hard for the other positions. There was no shortage of late drama in Cheltenham’s two matches. They recovered from 7-5 down after three periods against Lancaster to take a 9-8 lead, only for Lancaster’s Glen Robinson to notch an equaliser with 18 seconds remaining. Against Manchester, Cheltenham eased into an 8-4 lead – and then just fell apart. Goals by Aaron Winstanley (2), Joe O’Regan (2) and Rob Rae put Manchester ahead for the first time in the final quarter and they went on to win 11-10. Manchester also beat newly promoted Team Northumbria 14-9, including hat-tricks for Charles Booth and Eleftheerios Chelioudalis, while Tom Curwen scored five in Lancaster’s 13-8 victory over the same opponents. It was a great weekend for Invicta, who catapulted themselves into a potential Super 5s spot by outplaying Scottish side Caledonia 15-5 – including six goals by Callum Bailey – and beating Bristol 10-8 after the score was level at 5-5 halfway through. For news and results from all divisions of the British League, go to www.bwpl.org. Thanks to Chris Ducker.