NORTHWICH Centurions should not be downbeat after missing out on promotion to a higher level in the National Arena League.

That’s the message from head coach Phil Balcombe to his swimmers after they classified fifth in the Division Two A final at Broughton last weekend.

It matched the club’s previous best result in the competition.

“Our swimmers were a bit down afterwards,” said Balcombe.

“But this is a young team that has fierce competition for places in the lower age-groups.

“That’s a promising sign for the future.”

Northwich occupied fourth place for most of the gala, and kept pace with Oswestry in the third promotion position ahead of them.

A late rally by Chorley saw them swap places with Centurions, although the teams were separated by only five points in the final classification.

Northwich were depleted too by the absence of open-age competitors, while another withdrew after falling ill.

That meant some members had to race against older rivals in addition to contesting their own age-group.

Balcombe said: “Had the standings been decided on swims from those aged 13 and under, then we would have been promoted.

“It was a tough night, but those that did take part were able to prove that they’re capable of fighting for every point.”