SAN ĠILJAN 10
(3-5, 3-2, 2-3, 2-2)
Sliema shed off the psychological inhibitions of the past to beat San Giljan and land the Enemed Cup.
It was a heart-throbbing contest that had the crowd biting their nails throughout the four sessions.
Sliema were surely the strongest outfit in the pool yesterday and their clear edge was their sound defensive platform which was complemented by their attack. Their latest acquisition Dino Zammit has complemented their already extensive array of potential scorers, finally assembling a winning squad.
Although San Ġiljan were first off the mark with the returning Ben Plumpton, Sliema managed to overturn the result with four consecutive goals to take a 4-1 lead.
The Saints pulled a goal back through Nikolai Zammit. But the Sliema side restored their three-goal advantage through Liam Galea.
San Giljan responded to end the first session 5-3 in arrears.
Dorian Pisani’s side staged a recovery in the second session to equalise on six goals apiece with Plumpton, scorer of three goals, looking too strong with his forays.
A great goal by Jayden Cutajar had Sliema changing sides 7-5 ahead.
Plumpton was proving to be a thorn for Sliema as he scored his fourth goal early in the third session.
But Ben Cachia made it 8-7 for Sliema.
San Ġiljan suffered a double blow two minutes from the end of the third session. Plumpton was excluded on three personal faults and centre Darren Zammit was sent-off with substitution for aggressive play.
The Blues took advantage thanks to two goals from John Brownrigg and Dino Zammit.
San Ġiljan suffered a third expulsion when Mattias Ortoleva was also excluded with substitution.
Dorian Pisani vented his protests towards referee Alex de Raffaele for a counter-foul, which was signalled against San Giljan, paving the way for Zammit’s goal and Ortoleva’s exclusion.
There were tense moments before calm in the end was restored.
Depleted San Ġiljan fought back to reduce the leeway to two goals on 10-8.
It was still everything to play for in the last session. Excitement grew to a peak in the last quarter
Russell Caruana reduced the gap further to 10-9 to re-open hopes for San Ġiljan. Those aspirations, however, were dashed when they were hit with a sucker punch when Matthew Mifsud and Jayden Cutajar made it 12-9 for Sliema.
San Ġiljan replied with Daniel Tully, his second conversion, but Sliema managed to administer their advantage amid the delight of their fans.
San Ġiljan: J. Tanti, A. Galea, D. Fero, R. Caruana 1, M. Zammit, M. Ortoleva 1, D. Tully 2, B. Plumpton 4, N. Zammit 2, D. Zammit, N. Schiavone, G. Vassallo.
Sliema: N. Grixti, J. Saliba, L. Galea 1, D. Rizzo, M. Meli 2, B. Cachia 1, J. Cutajar 2, M. M. Mifsud 2, J. Brownrigg 1, K. Borg, Z. Mizzi 2, D. Zammit 1, A. Theuma.
Refs: A. De Raffaele, M. Angileri.