An intriguing battle is developing for places in the British League’s men’s Super 5s, which is the major challenge beginning in the New Year for the country’s top five clubs. Qualification is based on results in the current divisional competition involving eight teams. And, with one weekend of games remaining, it’s anyone guess who will go through.
The league table after the latest round of matches at Salt Ayre pool, Lancaster, tells the story, with four teams – City of Manchester, Lancaster, Invicta and reigning champions Solihull – locked together, all on six points, at the top. Former champions Cheltenham are still in the picture, despite losing both matches at Lancaster – 11-7 to Manchester, for whom Dan Paddon scored five, and 9-6 to the much improved Invicta team. Also in contention are Durham Palatinates, formerly Team Northumbria, who pulled off a remarkable 10-9 victory over London club Polytechnic after trailing 9-6 at the start of the final period. Goals by Josh Brown, Matt Calvert and John Pratt brought the scores level at 9-9 and it was Akos Sahin-Toth who claimed the winner with just 63 seconds remaining.
This was not the only game with a very close finish. Manchester beat Lancaster 7-6, Lewis Daly scoring the winner two minutes from the end after Lancaster had led all the way through. In the women’s competition, City of Coventry and City of Manchester, both with 100 per cent records from five matches, have already qualified for the Super 5s, and champions Otter and Liverpool Lizards are almost there. That leaves Caledonia, Sheffield Sharks and Hucknall to dispute the final place. For all the results and news from the UK, go to www.bwpl.org.