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Bristol Central Beat Portobello In British Champs

Bristol Central hosted their final British Championships weekend at Hengrove Olympic pool on Saturday taking on Scottish Champions Portobello.

Supported by Bristol Sport the club used the event to showcase its status as a beacon club, as the most talented youngsters from the south-west came together to compete in a match prior to the main game. There was also an opportunity for the Bristol Central Syncronised swimming team to demonstrate their British Champion credentials with two displays that wowed the 250 spectators present.

Central, who went down to Manchester at the last weekend were determined to come out attacking and saw Bristol charge to an early 4-1 lead thanks to goals from 2012 Olympic Captain Craig Figes, Enrico Zanon and two strikes from Wales Captain Carl Wyatt. Portobello recomposed and struck two late goals to finish the first quarter 4-3.

The physical Scots succeeded in slowing the pace of the game and reduced the effectiveness of Bristol's attack to put Portobello in the lead by a goal at half-time.  

Despite controlling play, Bristol continued to trail the Scottish Champions throughout the third quarter, but thanks to a strong defensive display led by goalkeeper and Central Captain Andrew Crawford, including a vital one on one stop against a Portobello counter attack and a penalty save, Portobello still only led by a solitary goal 5-6.

The final quarter saw the home team reap the rewards of the hard hours of fitness training endured recently as they finally replicated the goal scoring form from the first quarter. It was Craig Figes who equalised for Bristol early in the fourth before Central took the lead through a powerful shot, from the top of the arc, by Matt Watson. The momentum now in Bristol's favour and were rewarded with a penalty, which Figes converted. Two further late strikes from Figes and Ashley Castle sealed a 10-8 victory for Bristol Central.

The final strike proved crucial to Bristol's progress in the Championships as they secured qualification to the Finals weekend along with Manchester from Group A on +1 goal difference against Portobello. They will be joined by local rivals Cheltenham from Group B, with the final position from the group still to be decided.

Bristol travel to London for their final group stage match against London Polytechnic on Saturday 11th April. 

(Q1: 4-3, Q2: 4-5, Q3: 5-6, Q4: 10-8)

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