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YORK 3 LANCASTER 6
Lancaster did just enough to fend off a spirited York assault in Saturday night's water polo encounter. Their 6-3 victory was deserved, though York, producing brief glimpses of their best form, might have hoped for more, especially with four pages at stake.
Sam Clitheroe, between the posts for York, was called instantly into action, repelling a close-range Lancaster sighter but he could do little about the opener three minutes in. A true bolt from the blue, York's defence could do little to keep an opportunistic effort from half-way out as the ball arced beyond custodian Clitheroe. Cheekily, the same player tried to repeat the trick seconds later but was easily denied. However, a second looked inevitably and it duly arrived, with York's lack of organisation in defence costing them dearly on the stroke of the quarter-mark.
Chances were hard to construct against a well-drilled Lancaster team, who also possessed a clear physical advantage, although Clitheroe and Bowen-la Grange combined to good effect, only to waste the opportunity. The York goalkeeper demonstrated his wafer-thin reaction times twice during this second quarter, though Lancaster's threat was intermittent and the score remained 2-0 at the half-way point.
Pumped up following the change-round, Lancaster poured forward in search of the match-killing third and, two minutes in, it arrived. A well-timed long throw caught Duncan Eggleston napping and the ball was flashed past Clitheroe to put the game beyond York. To their credit, however, the White Rose responded in effective fashion, with Bowen-la Grange slamming the ball home from the left flank to reduce the gap to 3-1. After allowing Lancaster to restore their three-goal lead almost immediately, captain Jeffrey Wright's looping effort once again brought the match back within York's reach. However, as before, they failed to defend properly and Lancaster's fifth, from long-range, finally settled the matter.
The final quarter was a formality with the points already heading home with Lancaster, especially after a sixth goal was added. Ben Smith's audacious effort, deflected home tellingly off Neill Marshall, proved just another consolation for York, although they did see a penalty throw from Eggleston ricochet against the upright in the dying seconds.
York line-up: 1. Sam Clitheroe, 2. Mike Perkins, 3. Duncan Eggleston, 4 Nick Richardson, 5. Ben Smith, 6. Jeffrey Wright (captain), 7. Neill Marshall, 8. Arran Bowen-la Grange, 9. Gene Kinsberg, 10. James Bayer, 11. Stuart Patterson, 12. Hugh Frere-Cook, 13. Ian Chadderton