It’s been a case of all-change in the British League as the Super 5s winners in each of the previous three years – Cheltenham (men) and Liverpool Lizards (women) – were swept aside. Newly crowned as champions are the men’s team of Solihull and London club Otter, whose girls claimed their first title after a five-year gap.
The final week of competition was held at the superb Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School pool at Elstree, Hertfordshire. Solihull, with a 100 per cent record from six games, set out with the knowledge that a single point was all they needed to guarantee top spot. They made absolutely sure, battling through 7-6 against eventual runners-up City of Manchester. A tremendous power shot from distance by left-hander Ryan Padbury gave Solihull the edge at a crucial stage of a closely-fought match.
London club Polytechnic took third place – a tremendous achievement in their first season back in the top flight. They beat Cheltenham 10-9 and rounded off in grand style by recovering from 7-2 down to inflict the only defeat of the Super 5s campaign on Solihull – 11-10. Poly were 9-7 behind at the start of the final period but scored the next four goals through Chris Brown (2), Michele Aureli and Campbell Gregory.
Otter’s success in the women’s competition was particularly satisfying as the club have replaced eight members of last year’s senior squad, mostly with up-and-coming juniors.
They were 2-0 down to Manchester in their first match but a clever Lily Turner lob and further goals by Katy Cutler and Rebecca Mulcahy ensured a 5-4 win over Manchester – and left the London club requiring one point for the title in their final match against Coventry, who had won on the previous occasion the teams met. Young Lily Turner made sure there was no slip-up. She scored seven as Otter triumphed 12-9. For all the latest news from the UK, go to www.bwpl.org.