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Manchester dominate in British league

Impressive City of Manchester led the qualifiers for the British League men’s Super 5s by completing the Division 1 programme with a perfect record from seven matches. They will be joined by reigning champions Cheltenham, Lancaster, Invicta and Bristol Central, while Team Northumbria, Caledonia and City of Sheffield drop to Championship 1.

It wasn’t all straightforward for Manchester in the latest round of fixtures at Cardiff International Pool. They were 5-2 down against Lancaster until Joe O’Regan sparked a Manchester fightback with two fine, long-range goals. Tom Curwen made it 6-4 to Lancaster in the final period, but, in a frantic finale, Manchester snatched a 7-6 victory with three goals in 90 seconds by Aaron Winstanley, Dan Padden and Guive Shafie.

Manchester also rallied very late against Bristol, only taking the lead for the first time at 7-6 with a Shafie strike a minute from the end. There was an instant Bristol equaliser from Ashley Castle, only for Eleftherios Chelioudalis to clinch an 8-7 Manchester victory with 33 seconds remaining.

Invicta have made big strides this season, winning comfortably in their latest matches against Sheffield (10-3) and Team Northumbria (12-10). They almost toppled Lancaster, grabbing a very late 11-10 lead through Callum Bailey only for Tom Curwen to square the match for Lancaster with a man-up goal 27 seconds from the end. For all the scores from the British League, go to www.bwpl.org.

Thanks to Chris Ducker.

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