STM Malta Women’s Sevens League
Having just won a hard-fought contest against Overseas in the previous match, Falcons could have been expected to be somewhat lacking in energy, but this was not the case as they came out of the blocks with all guns blazing. From the opening whistle, they totally dominated the first half. Kavallieri kicked off and failed to make 10 metres. From the resulting free kick, Marion Azzopardi forced play towards the defending side’s 22 metre line, but Donevellon Sladden knocked on. Overseas won their scrum, but the ball was turned over by Azzopardi and her pass found Beverie Sultana, who cleverly switched the direction of attack to the right before offloading to Deborah Cutajar, who powered down the right wing, only to be pulled down 5 metres short of the line. Katka Vrbacka recovered possession and was tackled a metre short, but managed to stretch out her arm and ground the ball for the first points of the game. Azzopardi missed the conversion attempt.
Falcons restarted the game and their kick was knocked on. Vrbacka, playing scrum half, fed the ball in and picked up from the back of the pack. She cut right, broke through a weak tackle, and ghosted through the defence to touch down for her second try. Again, the conversion was missed by Azzopardi. There then followed a passage of play in which Falcons piled the pressure on a desperate Kavallieri defence and, but for a couple of knock-ons with the line beckoning, would have stretched the lead even further. However, the half time whistle came with no further score and Falcons led 10-0, Kavallieri having failed to venture into the Falcons half.
The second half was a different story, with a resurgent Kavallieri, led by a gutsy performance from scrum half Maria Spiteri, at last pressurising their opponents. Falcons first attack ended with them conceding a penalty for offside, and Alma Nesu launched Kavallieri’s first meaningful attack of the game through the centre. Sarah Debono was penalised for holding on and Falcons took a quick penalty by Vrbaka, but she knocked on in the pass. From the scrum, Kavallieri launched a second attack through Debono. The ball was slipped to Lawra Grima, whose run was ended when she was high-tackled. Spiteri took the tap and tried to pierce the Falcons line, but was isolated. She managed to find Grima and they swapped passes, before some strong counter-rucking by Rodianne Bugeja halted the move. Falcons next attacking phase ended with a penalty, and Kavallieri again tried to breach Falcons defensive wall, but to no avail. Falcons were penalised at the next scrum for pulling it down, but Spiteri’s cross kick was not a good one, going straight to Barbra Caruana. She set up a ruck and some neat interplay between Sultana and Bugeja made big gains downfield and ended with Sultana thundering in to score under the posts. Azzopardi somehow missed a sitter of a conversion. There was time for one further attack by Kavallieri, when Kim Demicoli put in an impressive run, but the move petered out and the final whistle came when Sultana booted the ball into touch.
Star players – Katka Vrbacka (Falcons), Maria Spiteri (Kavallieri)
Author: Phil Gibbs