BURNLEY Bobcats swimmers Jamie Sharpley and William Murray helped Lancashire retain their title in the British Gas ASA National County Team Championships in Sheffield.

The boys knew they had a tough task as Lancashire had won the title for the last 10 years and the pressure was on to maintain this winning streak.

Lancashire were competing in Division One and along with Middlesex and Hertfordshire showed their strength from the start.

Then Yorkshire took their turn at the top of the leader board following a string of dominant swims. At the halfway point Yorkshire led their northern rivals by six points, with a total of 289, followed closely by Lancashire’s 283 and third-placed Somerset’s 261points. But after 24 events, Yorkshire were forced to relinquish their lead – with Lancashire fighting back making it 360 points apiece.

The two counties played cat and mouse for the remainder of the session, with some convincing relay wins putting Lancashire in good stead for the title.

However, with only the Mixed Open 6x50m Freestyle relay to go, just two points separated the rivals. Yorkshire suffered an early set back touching in tenth place after the first leg, while the Lancashire team of Alex Dunk, Will Murray, Brearnna Close, Anna Doughty, Nathan Bennett and Jessica Lloyd stormed ahead of the field to claim the win and thus seal the championship title winning for the 11th consecutive year in what proved to be one of the most hotly contested competitions yet.

Jamie, 13m played his part by swimming in the boys age 12/13 100m backstroke, recording a time of 1.07.16 and100m butterfly swimming 1.07.31 and taking the backstroke leg in the medley relay.

Will, 15, meanwhile swam in the boys age 14/15 100m freestyle finishing in fourth place in a time of 53.78, and took part in a relay.