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Msida teams dominate Second Division League in “1929-30

St Joseph’s FC... 1929-30 Second Division winners.

The Second Division League was introduced in 1921-22. It was held for three consecutive seasons, but a lack of interest forced the MFA to stop the event. Therefore, between 1924 and 1929, the competition was not held.

Fortunately, during the last two or three seasons of the 1920’s in Malta, there was a great surge of interest in the game.

As interest grew, the game started to spread all over the island. New clubs were sprouting everywhere, not only around the harbour area, which was the birthplace of the Maltese game but also in the north of the island.

The majority of these clubs were amateur teams with very little pretensions.

However, the interest was sky-high and every weekend the Empire Sports Ground and the Mile End Ground were filled with hundreds if not thousands of enthusiastic supporters bearing the flags and banners of their faithful.

Following this growth within the game, the Second Division League was resumed in 1929-30 and although during the next two seasons it was not held, this was more due to a lack of organisation than the interest of the clubs.

The 1929-30 Division Two league was made up of five teams, two of them from Msida.

Of the five participants, only Valletta Rovers had any experience of league football.

St Joseph’s, Msida Melita, Cospicua Labour Party and the Watels were all new teams.

Cospicua were a team from the members of the local Labour Party club while the Watels, as the name implies, was made up of members of the Water and Electricity Departments.

The league kicked off on December 14, 1929 with the match between the Labour Party club and Valletta Rovers, which, ended in a 2-1 victory for the former.

On December 28, St Joseph’s beat Melita 3-1 in the ‘all Msida’ derby.

From the very start of the competition, St Joseph’s and the Labour Party stood out as the main challengers for the title.

In the next round matches, the Labour Party beat the Watels 4-1 while St Joseph’s defeated

Valletta Rovers 4-3 in one of the most exciting matches of the competition.

The match between the two leaders was greatly expected.

This was the great era of the amateurs and both clubs could boast of a fine team. Especially so, Msida St Joseph’s did not hide their ambitions of winning promotion to the First Division.

Unfortunately, the match between the two leaders did not reach the levels expected.

Both sets of supporters made merry, but the two teams were too tense to produce any good football. No one was prepared to take unnecessary chances, and at the end, the match fizzled out into a goalless draw.

St Joseph’s finished their commitments with a 3-0 victory over the Watels. This victory put them on top of the table with seven points, but their total could be equalled by the Labour Party if they could beat Melita in their last game.

This match was played on March 22. At first, It seemed as if the Labour Party were going to succeed to force a decider when early in the game the opened the score.

Melita, however, were bent on smoothing the way for their neighbours and midway through the game, they equalized from a penalty.

Throwing caution to the wind, Cospicua went forward in a desperate attempt to save the game. In the process however, they left their backdoor wide open and the issue was placed beyond doubt when Melita took the lead.

This lead was maintained up to the end and the championship went to St Joseph’s. Melita were rewarded for their efforts by the runners-up trophy.

As a footnote to this story, it would be interesting to know if Msida St Joseph’s still have the cup, which they received with the title. This cup is very well portrayed in the photo, which accompanies this article.

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