YORK City were crowned British Waterpolo Championship Three winners after a superb comeback against big rivals Cheltenham Spartans.

The victory sealed the Minstermen's first Championship title since 1976, with a record of 13 wins from 14 matches.

Head coach Dave Clegg, who also witnessed the 1970s triumph, said: "We're seeing the glory days again at the club. It's fantastic to see such character in such manic situations."

Captain Paul Floyd added: "If you'd have told us we'd win 13 from 14 this season to win the league, I wouldn't have believed you.

"We've really proven just how much we can achieve. Next year will be a different story, however. We can't afford to stop concentrating in Championship Two."

York went behind early on against Cheltenham after a lapse in communication saw them fire home from seven metres.

However, goals from Toby Clarkson, Nick Boaz and Danny Rippon ensured it was 3-3 at the end of the first quarter.

Cheltenham once again took the lead, just before Joe Rippon's superb backhand levelled.

Spartans went ahead before the end of the half as Andrew Morris was beaten from close range.

Just after the break, Cheltenham doubled their lead but Morris then pulled off a contender for save of the season.

The save inspired a change of fortunes as goals from Danny Rippon and Ben Pacey brought York level at 6-6, before the Spartans regained the lead with three seconds on the clock at the end of the third quarter.

In the first minute of the fourth quarter, Cheltenham extended their lead to 9-6, at which point Clegg said: "I honestly can't see any way back from this."

However, Jonny Lucas found the net having made an incredible swim penetrating the Spartans' defence.

Two minutes later, Lucas scored another quick goal teed up by Floyd's pinpoint pass.

Danny Rippon then scored a 'triple bouncer' from inside the pit to make it 9-9.

York had a time-out ahead of the final 90 seconds, with Floyd cutting Spartans apart before slotting the ball past a helpless keeper.

The pattern of the Cheltenham match was similar to the rest of the season.

A three-match-weekend saw the Minstermen kick off the campaign against Watford, Otter and Southampton, winning 17-13, 15-14 and 9-8 respectively.

The match against Otter was won with eight seconds remaining, courtesy of Chris Burns.

Two weeks later, City travelled to Matlock to play Bridgefield and South Derbyshire, winning 11-9 and 11-10.

The South Derbyshire match also saw late drama, with Pacey netting a lob with only 12 seconds on the clock.

Then came the final weekend of the British Waterpolo season, and having beaten Cheltenham Spartans 10-9, York became champions.

The final match of the season against fellow promoted side University of Bristol ended in a 9-7 defeat, although the game featured a national league debut for 17-year-old Matthew Graves, who pulled off a superb save.

Anyone interesting in playing waterpolo should email Kevin at contact@yorkwaterpolo.org