Mediterranean Bank Cup - Kavallieri edge past Overseas

The two Maltese teams had to play in real UK conditions, pouring rain and slippery pitch, but in fact coped very well indeed, and produced a low scoring highly entertaining match.

Kavallieri defeated Overseas in rough conditions. Photo by Ray Attard
Kavallieri defeated Overseas in rough conditions. Photo by Ray Attard


By Mike Turner

Several of the emerging players are really speedy runners and there are amongst them players who could soon be challenging for National team places, such as Dettori, Borg and Lewis of Kavallieri and Schembri of Overseas. Others, such as the Zammit brothers and Bugeja also show great promise.

Overseas took the lead with a well worked try by Austin, the Irishman; lovely timing, passing and support running opened up the dour Kavallieri defence. In the first half the main difference between these two well matched sides was that, Kavallieri were kicking away the possession into the hands of well placed Overseas and Overseas were kicking into open spaces. Handling in the slippery wet was surprisingly good and both sides were prepared to make the best of the wide Marsa pitch to use their speed. Kavallieri made use of their driving maul but Overseas had the better of the set scrums.

Overseas carried their lead of 5-0 into the second half, which started in potential disaster for Kavallieri when Dettori was yellow carded to have ten minutes in the sin bin for a late tackle. However this seemed to focus the Kavallieri tactics and they concentrated on forward mauls to tie in the speedy Overseas backs. Several times they made huge territory gains and the Overseas pack became frustrated. Nevertheless the dangerous Overseas backs were always a threat and tested the Kavallieri time and again, but the attacks were always broken up on the staunch tackling defence. Finally, before Dettori had served his sentence, clever kicking put Kavallieri in a position near the lin and after a series of mauls and drives Doublesin equalized with a try.

Just as Kavallieri looked as if they would get on top, they lost discipline to give away a penalty and Stivala converted to regain an 8-5 lead. The match swung from end to end as both sides strove to play running rugby, but the famed Kavallieri spirit always threatened to give them an edge, and their mauling and rucking was superbly efficient. Another series of driving mauls gave them another try as they ground down the Overseas forwards to lead 10-8.had the opportunity to regain the lead but

Overseas never gave up and they launched many attacks, unable to make the final score. At last Stivala had the opportunity to regain the lead, but missed a comparatively easy penalty. Kavallieri roared back up the pitch and seemed to have the game in hand until Borg was yellow carded to the sin bin. Overseas launched attacks, Stivala grub kicked into the 22 zone and Fawara kicked the ball dead, which could have been a fatal mistake because it gave away a 5 metre scrum to a heavy pack with an extra man. However Kavallieri made a super human effort, held the drive and when Overseas released too soon, smothered the attack. Most successful sides around the world possess solid and determined defences, and Kavallieri excel here. It was demonstrated when the tiny Fawari downed the towering Schembri after he had easily broken two tackles.

An enjoyable match in filthy conditions, which showed just how much Maltese rugby is developing.