WORTHING Swimming Club’s water polo team enjoyed a strong weekend in their final two fixtures of the first phase of the British Water Polo League Division 2.
Worthing overcame Welsh Wanderers 14-8 and defeated Sutton & Cheam 6-5 in Lancaster to finish third in the first phase.
Worthing coach Alastair Roberts said: “We now look forward to playing in Championship 1 where we play against the other four qualifiers from Division 2, along with the bottom three from Division 1.
“Lancaster is a long way to travel but we had a full squad of 13 and we also had a large number of friends and family who offered great support.
“We will start the Championship 1 campaign over the weekend of December 5-6 at Guildford, which will be the closest venue that we have played at since our entry into the national league and we are hoping that we will again have a large number of supporters.”
Worthing went into the weekend in Lancaster knowing that one win would secure a top-five finish and the opportunity to play in Championship 1 in the second phase.
With three wins from their opening five games, Worthing began well against Welsh Wanderers and led 3-1 at the end of the first quarter.
By half-time, Worthing had extended their lead to 6-2 and were in control of the match.
The success was structured around a disciplined defence which Worthing had developed to deal with one outstanding Welsh forward. The tactic worked well for long periods and all of the squad worked hard to deny the opposition many chances to score.
Worthing saw out the match to win 14-8, with Shaun Hotchkiss netting five, Richard Hooper, Joao Martins and Peter Benedek all scored two, with Joe Hazeldine, Ben Curtis, with his first National League goal, and Ziggy Tate also on target.
The win sealed a top-five finish with one match to go.
Worthing then took on Sutton & Cheam and recorded a 6-5 victory in a tight affair, with Sutton needing a win to seal a top-five finish themselves.
Keeper Marc Guimera made a number of saves in goal for Worthing, who limited the number of opportunities Sutton created.
Worthing did not play at their best in attack as they struggled to break down a physical Sutton defence. Tom Kane scored an excellent goal to give Worthing a 6-4 lead with just over two minutes to go but Sutton scored soon afterwards. However, Worthing defended well for the remaining time to secure a hard-fought win.
Benedek netted a hat-trick for Worthing and Hazeldine scored twice, before Kane notched the sixth.
n Worthing progressed in the Sussex county knockout competition with a 16-7 win at Crawley.
Crawley started the game with a four-goal handicap but Worthing put in a dominant display and trailed by just one, 5-4, at the end of the first quarter.
Worthing opened up a 8-5 lead by half-time, before winning the second half 8-1 to comfortably progress.
Hotchkiss netted six for Worthing, Benedek and Hazeldine both scored four, with Matt White and Jacob Nash also on target.
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