Swieqi Overseas too strong for Kavallieri

Mediterranean Bank Cup – Semi finals

Swieqi were the faster side during the match. Photo by Ian Stilon
Swieqi were the faster side during the match. Photo by Ian Stilon

By Mike Turner

Swieqi  Overseas 44
Kavallieri 12

After a close fought first half, Overseas, the fitter and faster side, turned on the heat to pull away easy winners, helped by the loose mouth of the Kavallieri fly half and playmaker who spent ten vital minutes in the sin bin for repeated sarcasm to the referee, during which his side conceded two vital converted tries to be put well out of touch.

Until then Kavallieri had stood up as equals, taking an early lead with two penalties by Edmunds, Overseas had hit back with a penalty by Briffa, Edmunds scored another, but Ledoux scored a good opportunist try in a rare Overseas attack. Edmunds again notched a penalty, to give Kavallieri a 12-8 lead, but the Overseas backs were always looking dangerous when they won good enough ball.

Even against the wind they were beginning to gain enough territory, despite the Kavallieri scrum having the better of the set scrums, until Harvey came on. A very lucky right angle bounce to a random punt fooled the Kavallieri and put Overseas in a perfect attacking position. A poor pass by Doublesin caused Edmunds to knock on and in the defending flurry Kavallieri were penalised. A quick witted Stivala tapped and dived to score, converted by Briffa to give Overseas a 15-12 lead at half time.

Referee Mr Ramage was clearly trying to keep the game running, which did not really suit the less fit Kavallieri. After a Briffa penalty extended the lead to 18-12, Edmunds was despatched to the ten minute sin bin and Overseas simply dominated, scoring two converted tries – 14 points for loose lip. This meant that although Kavallieri fought back gallantly they were never really in the game, especially as Overseas enjoyed huge luck when a ball popped out of a ruck straight into the hands of an unmarked Stivala whose speed over 70 metres was unstoppable.

The ever busy Cassar made a huge run but was stopped by the tough young Kavallieri Bedahan, who was a strength in defence and attack for Kavallieri. Kavallieri pack, urged on by veterans Bonavia and Cutajar, drove well in some lineout mauls, but were unable to produce the skills to convert their hard work into tries. Their young front row is improving every game.  Borg was always a danger for Overseas on the right wing, and their French centres Ledoux and Duchange were always dangerous, as was Brown at full back. Finally, yet another handling error gave away an easy try to Overseas to stretch their score to 44-12.

It was good to see the referee taking a lesson from the brilliant young Welshman who handled the international against Israel, and penalising anyone who attempted to stifle the ball or play it illegally on the ground.

In the second semi-final the power of Stompers was simply too much for the ever improving Falcons, with MacLister scoring three tries and Gumm managing the play from fly half as they won 31-17, but they were made to fight every inch of the way as Falcons scored two late tries while Gumm was sin binned, showing the Falcons spirit they have had since foundation as juniors.

The final of the Mediterranean Bank Cup next week should be a fine game to watch between two well matched sides with excellent attacking backlines.