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British league title retained by Cheltenham

A thrilling men’s Super 5s Championship in the British League was not decided until the very last match at Ponds Forge, Sheffield, when Cheltenham, the 2014/15 winners, took on City of Manchester. Cheltenham knew that a draw would be sufficient to give them top spot while the only option for Manchester was to win. In the event, a tense game featuring many missed chances ended perfectly for Cheltenham, deadlocked at 5-5.

There was nothing between the sides all the way through. It was 1-1 after the first period and 2-2 after two before Cheltenham squeezed into a 4-3 lead in the third. Manchester soon equalised in the final period with a man-up goal by Joe O’Regan and it was not until 43 seconds from the end that a Jake Vincent strike secured a precious 5-4 lead for Cheltenham. Manchester’s final goal arrived with only 14 seconds remaining. The trophy was presented to Cheltenham’s former GB international David Taylor, who was playing his last match before retiring due to a recurring hip problem.

Lancaster, who beat Manchester 10-8 on day one, finished third behind Manchester. On day two, Invicta produced perhaps their best performance of the season to defeat Lancaster 12-11, including six goals by the outstanding Jack Waller.

The women’s Super 5s was completely dominated by City of Liverpool Lizards, who, for a second year, won all 15 matches during the season. London club Otter were runners-up, despite losing their final match 9-5 to City of Coventry, who took control thanks to a second quarter hat-trick by Vicki Hawkins. For all the news from the UK, go to www.bwpl.org.

Thanks to Chris Ducker.

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