Teams going forward to the British League’s men’s and women’s Super 5s competitions, starting in the New Year, are now confirmed – but only after tense final sessions of the divisional competitions.
At Grantham, former champions Lancaster were within an ace of being knocked out in the men’s event. After losing 8-6 to the much-improved Invicta team on day one, it meant that they needed a point from their final match against Durham Palatinates to go through – but knowing that defeat would hand the Super 5s spot to Durham. Thanks to the brilliance of Tom Curwen, who scored seven, Lancaster led 10-8 with a little over three minutes remaining. Durham quickly responded, reducing the margin through Zach White and, with 39 seconds remaining, equalising with a man-up effort from John Pratt to force a 10-10 draw.
So, much to their relief, Lancaster grabbed a point and squeezed through, joining City of Manchester – undefeated in their seven matches – Solihull, Invicta and Cheltenham in the second phase. City of Sheffield, Durham and London club Polytechnic drop to Championship 1.
In the women’s competition at the Jason Kenny Centre, Bolton, Scottish representatives Caledonia claimed the remaining Super 5s place by winning their final match against Hucknall, 14-9. It was only near the end that Caledonia went clear with goals by Nicola Tate (2), Gael Drummond, Claire Moloney and Alison Tate.
At the top of the women’s table, the meeting of two undefeated sides saw City of Manchester beat City of Coventry 12-7. Isobel Howe’s hat-trick for Manchester in the last quarter, giving her a six-goal match tally, settled it. Manchester, Coventry, Otter, Liverpool Lizards and Caledonia progress to the Super 5s, with Hucknall, Sheffield Sharks and Leeds Sharks going down to Championship 1. For all the latest results and information from the UK, go to www.bwpl.org.