Lancaster became the second team to qualify for the end-of-season Champions Cup when they defeated Solihull 14-11 in the men's Super 5s at Coventry today. Champions City of Manchester have already guaranteed progress to the new competition.
After a close start, Lancaster took charge towards the end of the second period, progressing from 4-4 to 7-4 with goals by Brett Takemoto, Tom Curwen and Georgios Anistasi. A couple of fine goals by Ryan Padbury kept Solihull in contention for a while but Lancaster finished comfortable winners, repeating their success against the Midlanders earlier in the campaign.
Manchester dropped a Super 5s point for the first time since the 2019/20 season when they were held to a 5-5 draw by City of Sheffield. At the half way stage, Manchester led 4-1 and seemed to be heading for yet another victory. But Sheffield, inspired by left-hander Chris Armstrong, enjoyed a brilliant third period, scoring four times without reply - including an Armstrong hat-trick - to grab a 5-4 lead. The only goal of the final period was a Dan Paddon equaliser, his fourth of the game.
The point Sheffield gained could well prove vital in the battle for Champions Cup places.
After losing their first four Super 5s games, Cheltenham's revival continued with a third consecutive win - 13-7 against Lancaster. Adam Legge led the Cheltenham scoring with four.
Photo (Trevor Hyde): Solihull's Jake Vincent (white cap) evades the challenge of Ryan Pinnington before shooting past Lancaster goalie Marc Robinson at Coventry today.