LANCASTER maintained their grip at the top of the National Water Polo League with another three wins to keep their unbeaten record intact.

They faced three stiff tests but managed to see off unbeaten Bristol, Rotherham and a physical Birkenhead outfit.

Bristol immediately adopted a zone defence in order to disrupt the Lancaster attack and the game began at a frantic pace with both side keen to maintain their 100 per cent record.

But towards the end of the first attack of the game Tom Curwen and Colin Burgess were on target to give Lancaster an early two goal lead.

Bristol pegged one back at the end of the first quarter with a goal after a Lancaster player was excluded.

Then Neil Bowers added to the lead before Bristol hit back from their third opportunity of the quarter to bring the half time score to 3-2.

The third quarter of the game saw both teams having players excluded but defending successfully, though Lancaster managed to open up a lead thanks to some brilliant shooting by Curwen.

Having been quiet since his first goal, he scored three in rapid succession to give City a four-goal cushion.

Bristol continued to fight and when Burgess and Bowers were both excluded for the remainder of the match in the final minute, Bristol scored from both of the resultant attacks to get within two goals.

Lancaster regrouped in the final quarter and displayed the strength in depth that is present in the current squad.

tightening up in defence and attacking with intensity to pressurise Bristol into mistakes.

Andy Squires steadied the nerves with a confidently taken goal 30 seconds into the final quarter, then added a second, again from a man-up situation, to break the confidence of Bristol.

Lancaster then scored twice more through Ritchie Davis and Squires, finally completing his hat trick.

In the weekend's other games, Lancaster beat Birkenhead 17-7 and Rotherham 9-5 to stay clear at the top.

The next national league games take place at Salt Ayre Leisure Centre on Saturday at 4.30pm against Bristol and on at 11.15am against Penguin.

CITY (goals): Bush, Davis (2), Burgess (10), McIlquham (2), Hartley (3), Pinnington (1), Curwen (9), Detko (1), Squires (3), Bowers (3), Sly (Gk), Campbell, Carpenter (2)