I think if we had had a democratic vote for swimming or Rugby, the beach would have won the day. But as it was the season kicked off first with a curtain raiser, a game between The University Wolves team and the Overseas Rugby Club.
It was a hot and dry day but at least with some grass underfoot and a slight breeze blowing across pitch No. 3 at Marsa Rugby Park.
It was a close game until late in the second half, when Overseas stepped up a gear and took the game 22 points to 6.
The halftime score was Wolves 6, Overseas 5, with the Wolves defence keeping them in the game, but Overseas at times led to their demise, with some dropped balls at crucial times in the game. The big Overseas’ scrum pushed Wolves off the ball earning them penalties, but tries eluded them.
There were a couple of yellow cards dished out by Referee Andrew Camilleri for head-high tackles and back chat to the Referee.
A couple of late tries made it respectable for Overseas, but the Wolves kept biting and fighting until the end.
Stompers defeat a committed Kavallieri team.
The main game played by last year’s winners of the league Stompers against Kavallieri also went deep into the second half before the Stompers sealed the win at 29 points to 12.
A young Kavallieri side stayed in the match throughout, but the big Stomper’s forwards led by Dragan Cerketta(1) wore them down at the final whistle.
Kavallieri were tackling like demons not allowing Stompers to get any go forward, being led up front by David Namusasi and playmaker Jake Pace at 10 with the big boot of Aidan Dwight Mallia(12) pinning Stompers back.
But Kavallieri struggled to get out of their half for a while. Some high balls put Stompers under pressure and their back three were getting caught in possession.
But Richard Gum started controlling the tempo putting the ball into the hands of Martin Barbara on a bullocking run and he scored out wide on the left. Gum was having trouble kicking off a high tee, so got plenty of height but no distance and failed with the conversion.
Kavallieri fought their way downfield and a brilliant run up the middle by Jethro Zammit Randich(15) split the defence, Namusasi(8) then dived over the ruck to score bringing the game level at 5 each.
Jeremy Debattista(13) was running good lines wrong-footing the Kavallieri defence and as he swept back across the field he threw a long pass to Jean Scholey(11) for him to score out wide. Gum launched another rocket but no payback:
Stompers 10, Kavallieri 5 at halftime.
The second half was but 4 minutes old when Stompers scored their third try with Nick Formosa(12) going over after a patient build up with the ball going through the hands after a lively Jon Jon Micallef(8) turnover in the tackle. Stompers 15 Kavallieri 5.
Kavallieri needed to score next to stay in the game and this they did after a booming kick from Aidan Dwight Mallia pinned Stompers back on their line. From the line out, then a ruck midfield gave Jake Pace the perfect front football to burst through the defence and score under the posts. Mallia’s conversion brought the scores close to 15 to 12 in Stomper’s favour.
On came the hard-running Matt Camilleri and he made an impact scoring near the posts for Gum’s conversion to put them in the safe zone. But Kavallieri battled hard with a catch and drive near the corner posts with Namusasi carrying, they inched their way close only for the Stomper’s forward to drive them into touch.
Players were beginning to cramp up in the heat and a visibly tiring Dragon Cerketta hurled himself at the line, after peeling off from a line out to make the final score 29 to 12 with the Shawn Chircop conversion.
Referee: Mauro Micelli.
Men of the Match:
Stompers Jon Jon Micallef.
Kavallieri: David Namusasi.
Next Saturday is the Ray Elliot Cup between Stompers and Falcons and a playoff game between Wolves and Kavallieri.
Report: Bryan L Corlett.