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Last minute spectacle gives Stompers the Cup

Mediterranean Bank Cup Final

2 May 2016, 4:12pm
Sliema Stombers celebrate their victory. Photo by Ian Aquilina
Sliema Stombers celebrate their victory. Photo by Ian Aquilina
By Mike Turner

SWIEQI OVERSEAS 18
SLIEMA STOMPERS 20

A fine evenly played match between two excellent sides made it a fitting final last Saturday. Stompers speedy backs always had a slight edge and at least one try was lost because of over eager running to create forward passes. Overseas took an early lead as Stompers’s over enthusiasm led to several penalties, but Stompers hit back with precise passing along the line to launch Jeremy Debattista on the right wing who brushed off two tackles to score, conversion by Gumm.

This jerked Overseas into action and they created an overlap for Brown to score an unconverted try. They extended the lead with another Duchange penalty. The Overseas were weakened by an injury to Duchange which probably had a big effect on the result. The Overseas scrum was superior in the tight but the teams were pretty well matched in the lineouts. Even against the wind Overseas enjoyed a territorial advantage but could not score.

Then Stompers kicked well from a penalty, and Overseas failed to respond, sending the ball direct to Gumm who kicked a magnificent ball into the corner. From there Stompers launched a series of three or four driving mauls which ended in a try to regain the lead. Another Stompers back attack was wasted when Caruana and Gumm managed to waste a try by a forward pass. Galea then harassed the Overseas into a poor clearance from which Stompers launched a rolling offloading attack for Gumm to power over and build the lead to 11-17. An excellent attack by Overseas was wasted by a knock-on on the wing so the lead remained at the end of the first half. A certain three points was also wasted by Overseas when they chose a scrum rather than kick an easy three points.

In the second half Overseas had the wind, but were missing the scrum power of Corner, off with a blood injury. Overseas began making some errors, such as failing to call for high balls, and Stompers’s defence and tackling  seemed well able to contain the rather predictable Overseas attacks. Finally Chris Briffa came on for Overseas and the back line clicked more smoothly but Stompers were still able to keep them at bay, until, after serial attacks they finally scored in a drive, Briffa converting to regain the lead 18-17.  The anxiety kicked in for Overseas and the eager Stompers took advantage to stage a really dramatic climax. Overseas gave away the possession with poor kicking and so Stompers were able to gain territory  and inevitably they gained a penalty, which was converted, to win the Mediterranean Bank Cup.

The game was well refereed by Sam Rampage and his team.

 The runners up match was also a drama with Falcons winning 27-19 over Kavallieri after being behind 0-19 at half time.

DealToday