Ladies 7's League and Men's Mediterranean Bank Cup review

A review of all the local rugby action for 9 January, 2016.

Staff Reporter
9 January 2016, 10:44pm
Ladies’ 7’s League - by Bryan Corlett

Falcons versus Overseas. 17 - 10

Played in weather reminiscent of spring, Rugby kicked off in the new year with the Women's Rugby, playing the 7s competition. This first game had both teams playing exciting Rugby moving the ball well and with both teams running tight defensive patterns. Within the first minute Clara Castillo(5) intercepted a Falcon's pass  and with a quick offload to Charlotte Evans(19) Overseas had their first try with the conversion missing they were leading 5 to nil. It was brought about through defensive pressure.

Falcons with their open style of Rugby to the fore, were moving the ball left and right Beverie Sultana (12) broke down the middle and flipped a pass to Silvia Gambino(13) who scored, the conversion missed it was now 5 each.

Caroline Gafa(9) dribbled the ball through into the Oversea's 22, but the ball was snatched by Overseas and the opportunity was lost.

Beverie Sultana(12) offloaded in the tackle as she straightened the attack and Katka Vrbacka(16)scored with Marion Azzopardi(7) kicking the conversion the half time score was 12 to 5 in Falcons’ favour.

The second half continued this exciting game with Tessabelle Sultana(12) making a break down the line, stepping the defence she offloaded to Sarita Cassar(23) then took a return pass to score on the right taking the score to 12 to 10 for Falcons.

Noemi Perez Corral(4) ran at the Falcons defensive line and gained 20 metres but lost the ball in the tackle, Beverie Sultana(12) picked up the ball and ran around Overseas, down the line from 50 metres out to score, with no conversion that brought the full time score to 17 to 10 with Falcons running out the winners.

Kavallieri versus Falcons. 22 -15

Falcons tried a tricky kick off but it didn't go the 10 metres which gave Kavallieri a free kick at the half way, both teams were playing attacking Rugby moving the ball from side to side, but both defences were locked.

Amanda Cassar(2) from a quick tap penalty stepped her way through the Falcons backline to score, with no conversion it was 5 to nil for Kavallieri.

Falcons were trying to move the ball through their backline but they were too flat which made it easy for Kavallieri to defend. From a penalty for a head high tackle Amanda Cassar(2) again tapped and ran weaving her way 40 metres to score with the successful conversion it was Kavallieri 12 Falcons yet to score. From a scrum near the halfway Maria Azzopardi(7) ran the blind side and fended off a number of tackles to score in the corner. 12 to 5 for Kavallieri.

Just on half time from a Falcon's lineout, the ball went through the hands first right from Marion Azzopardi(7) to Beverie Sultana(12) then on to Kimberly Riolo(6) then it swept left for Caroline Gafa(9) to score out wide.

So it was 12 to 10 to Kavallieri.

All the teams were playing good positive Rugby and team spirit was evident, as players encouraged each other throughout the games.

The second half saw Beverie Sultana(12) run into space and offload to Maria Azzopardi(7) who scored.

Falcons were back in the game taking the lead at 15 to 12.

There was a period of play where forward passes and knock ons disrupted the flow which may have been caused by the pressure of the close score. The little winger Myra Bonello(4) was playing a lively game, looking for opportunities. Maria Spiteri(9) broke left down the line, but an outstretched Falcon's hand dragged her into touch. Justine Zammit(17) had a good burst down the middle, but it fizzled out due to lack of support. There was big tackle put in by Maria Spiteri(9) on Marion Azzopardi(7) which straightened her hair!

Amanda Cassar(2) broke again down the middle and beat the defence with a change of pace to score in the tackle thumping the ball down, which put Kavallieri back in front 17 to 15.

To bring up her fourth try of the game Amanda Cassar(2) intercepted a Falcon's pass to score making the final score 22 to 15 to Kavallieri.

Overseas versus Kavallieri.  22 - 12

From the kick off Kavallieri knocked on and from the scrum Overseas attacked running the ball into the Kavallieri 22 only to lose the ball, but Kavallieri knock on. From the scrum Charlotte Evans(19) who previously was the Captain of the North Yorkshire for two years, ran a strong inside channel move but went down injured. But she was up again for the next scrum when Tessabelle Sultana(12) ran a good line and timed her pass well as she went through the gap, into the hands of Charlotte who scored. Overseas 5 Kavallieri 0.

From the kick off Kavallieri moved the ball through the hands and Maria Spiteri(9) tried to run around the defence but was pushed into touch.

From a Kavallieri scrum Overseas won the ball and Tessabelle Sultana who had previously played for Yorkshire while studying in Sheffield, ran 45 metres with Kavallieri in hot pursuit but she scored under the posts, but with no conversion it was now Overseas 10 Kavallieri 0 and it was half time.

Charlotte Evans(19) now playing in the backline tried to offload to create space as she ran into the defence but the timing was off. Finally Myra Bonello(4) received the ball and ran it 45 metres to put Kavallieri on the score board as the second half began.

Tessabelle Sultana(12) had a straight run up the middle from 50 metres out to score to take their score out to 17 to 5.

Maria Spiteri(9) used her hand ball skills to juggle a ball from a high kick she was playing confidently.

With some side to side passing by Overseas, Tamsin Pace Decesare stepped the defence and ran 50 metres to score putting Overseas further out in front by 22 points to 5 . But it was Kavallieri who had the last say as Maria Spiteri(9) at full speed scooped up a dropped Overseas pass breached the defence ran 50 metres around under the posts to score, Amanda Cassar(2) converted and the game ended Overseas 22, Kavallieri 12.

A good standard of Rugby with a lot of players showing excellent ball skills and commitment to the game.

Mediterranean Bank Cup - Men’s 15s - By Mike Turner

SLIEMA STOMPERS 33 vs KAVALLIERI    32

A dramatic last minute win for Stompers who scored under the posts for Attard to convert and win by one point, after the lead had changed hands several times during an entertaining match. The best thing about the game was that there are now several young promising and very speedy Maltese backs coming through from the juniors, who will clearly be competing for National Squad places before long.

Kavallieri opened the score with a penalty by Edmunds  for offside but almost immediately Kavallieri fullback Debierre dropped a high ball and knocked on to give Stompers the platform from which to launch a try by Debattista, converted by Borg to lead 7-3. At this stage Stompers backs looked the more dangerous through their slick passing and they had a marginal territorial advantage.

However Kavallieri never say die and some quick handling and offloading by the forwards, led by Bonavia, Cutajar and Grech led to a try to regain the lead 8-7. Nathan Gatt was distinguishing himself by hard work and an eye for the ball in rucks and mauls for Stompers. Stompers began a period of dominance with their speed leading to a big run by Hepburn and another try, one converted by Borg, to chalk up 19 points, and it could have meant the end. However the old warhorse, Cutajar, had other ideas and he made a big break to set up a ball across the line to the ever hungry Imbroll who raced in wide, converted by Edmunds to bring them back to 19-15.

With Briffa yellow carded to the sin bin Stompers were a man short. Quick thinking from a penalty led Cutajar to make yards and Kavallieri had their tales up, but Edmunds missed a penalty and after a silly fracas which led to yellow cards for Jeremy Debattista and Lewis the first half finished with Stompers leading 19-15.

So the second half started with Stompers on 13 men and Kavallieri on 14, but Kavallieri immediately exerted territorial pressure which eventually led to a superb try with excellent handling to put Imbroll over, converted by Edmunds to regain the lead 19-22.

Both sides were trying to play open and running rugby and succeeded in entertaining the crowd. Kavalieri stretched their lead to 25-19 with another penalty from Edmunds, but Hepburn, a very quick runner scored a good breakaway try which was converted so Stompers went in front 26-25. Kavallieri were stung into reaction and exerted massive pressure which culminated in a twenty metre scrummage drive and a penalty.

They then took the brave decision of not trying for the three points but going for a try in the corner and commenced a series of driving attacks, first from drives off the maul and then by spreading the ball, until, finally, the Stompers crumbled and Lewis scored, converted by Edmunds for Kavallieri to lead 26-32. However this final effort seemed to really drain the Kavalieri and the pack was blown. Cerketa and his team seemed to sense this and threw in their final effort to actually shove Kavallieri backwards, although they were lucky to get away with pushing before the ball was put into the scrum. The last move of the match resulted in a try by Stompers full back and Attard, another old warhorse, converted to clinch a win by one point.

Referee Edwin Ward, managed the game evenly.