Bobcats swimmers Jamie Sharpley (13) and Will Murray (15) helped Lancashire retain their title in the British Gas ASA National County Team Championships in Sheffield last weekend.
The boys knew they had a tough task as Lancashire had won for the last 10 years, and the pressure was on to maintain this winning streak.
The 20 teams in Division One and 19 teams in Division Two created a great day of competition and healthy rivalry for the Inter Counties event at Ponds Forge, inspired by Olympians and Commonwealth medallists Ross Davenport and Cassie Patten, who were deck hosts for the day.
In Division One, Lancashire, Middlesex and Hertfordshire showed 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 place Somerset’s 261points.
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 setback, touching in 10th place after the first leg, whilst the Lancashire team of Alex Dunk, 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.
Sharpley played his part by swimming in the boys’ age 12/13 100m Backstroke, recording a time of 1.07.16, and 100m Butterfly, swimming 1.07.31 and taking the backstroke leg in the Medley relay team.
Will, 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.
Both boys had a great day out and were proud to be part of the victorious Lancashire team.
The picture shows Will Murray (right) and Jamie in their Lancashire shirts (s).
More information about Bobcats can be found at www.burnleybobcats.org.uk