San Giljan canter past Sirens
Neptunes made their arch-rivals Sliema eat humble pie yesterday when they thrashed them by an unexpectedly comfortable 14-4 scoreline.
The drama started before the first swim-up when John Soler came out of retirement at the age of 40 and was named in the Sliema line-up.
The presence of Soler on the Sliema’s bench failed to inspire his team as Neptunes started like a whirlwind.
The Reds revved up their scoring machine from the word ‘go’ with the Camilleri siblings, Steve and Jordon, and Jake Muscat (2) rattling in four goals without reply.
The Sliema looked totally out of shape and were unable to prevent Neptunes from extending their lead to 8-1 before the change of ends.
Victory was never in doubt as from the third quarter as four goals were shared in the third session, leaving Neptunes 10-3 in front at the start of the fourth.
Neptunes’ qualities could never be matched by Sliema for whom ace scorer Jerome Gabarretta was completely subdued by Neptunes’ shifting of position in the covering phase.
There was no respite from Neptunes as they kept whipping away to make it a mammoth victory although playing most of the time in the last session with the less familiar faces in their squad.
While Steve Camilleri topped his team’s list with four goals, youngster Sam Gialanze got himself among the scorers with two well-taken goals.
The goalkeeper Nicky Grixti, who yesterday was presented with the July Player of the Month award, cut a frustrated figure between Sliema’s goalposts as at the end of the match, he had to pick up the ball from the back of his net no fewer than 14 times.
In their efforts to get the waterpolo season over and done, the ASA have truncated the round robin format and switched to single round with two-tier championship in the premier division. The change in the competition did not alter the status-quo with San Ġiljan easy winners in the opening fixture against Sirens.
The Northenders simply could not live with their opponents whose teamwork and flexible blocking were superior.
Dorian Pisani naturally, could bank on his players’ ability to thrive on speed and incisiveness on the break to rip open their opponents defensive shield.
The pattern was evident from the word go, as San Ġiljan procured a three-goal cushion, only to extend it to 10-1 before the teams changed ends.
The wind kept blowing the Saints’ way with Matthew and Dino Zammit each netting a hat-trick while Ben Plumpton topped his team’s scorelist with four goals.
(4-0, 4-1, 2-2, 4-1)
NEPTUNES A. Borg Cole, J. Muscat 3, L. Calleja, G. Pace 1, S. Busuttil, J. Spiteri Staines 1, S. Camilleri 4 , J. Camilleri 1, J. Abela, N. Zammit 3, S. Stellini, S. Gialanze 1, B. Busuttil.
SLIEMA: N. Grixti, J. Gabarretta, L. Galea, J. Sciberras, M. Meli 2, B. Cachia, M. Spiteri Staines 2, J. Soler, J. Brownrigg, Z.Mizzi, N. Bugelli, Z. Sciberras.
Refs: Peter Balzan, Mario Dalli.
SAN ĠILJAN 12
(4-1, 6-0, 2-1, 0-0)
SAN ĠILJAN: J. Tanti, K. Tanti, A.Galea 1, D. Ciantar, M. Mannino, M. Zammit 3, B. Plumpton 4, J. Bonavia, Z. Micallef, Darren Zammit 1, P. Fava, Dino Zammit 3, G. Vassallo.
SIRENS: J. Parnis, J. Ciantar, K. Erdogan, G. Mellilo, L. Galea, T. Said, L. Falzon, I. Riolo, J. Napier, M. Cutajar, M. Sciberras 1, M. Azzopardi 1, G. Galea Curmi.
Refs: Massimo Angileri, Ronnie Spiteri.