Sliema served notice to their arch-rivals Neptunes that they are out for retribution in Saturday’s derby after they lost against them in the cross-overs.
A slick display from them, back by precision and power, tore into the heart of Birzebbuga with Dino Zammit and Jayden Cutajar playing the scoring tune.
After their 19-3 debacle at the hands of Neptunes, it was thought that the Southseasiders would again find their battling instincts, evident in their victories over Exiles and Sirens.
However, Sliema were a team of superior qualities and these all came to the fore against Birzebbuga. Nicky Grixti between the goalposts returned to top form as the custodian’s superb form was conspicuous from the start.
Birzebbuga’s early lead through Giuseppe Mannino was soon wiped out as Zammit started the scoring spree for Sliema who had a 4-1 lead after the first session.
Pierre Borg’s side could not make any impact and an identical 4-1 scoreline in the Blues’ favour in the next session extended their advantage to 8-2. Liam Galea, Zammit (twice) and Jayden Cutajar (his second) found the net, with Birzebbuga replying through Julian Farrugia.
There was more stringent press from the Blues as the two sides shared six goals. John Brownrigg, Zammit and Cutajar scored for Sliema as Miguel Curmi, Keith Tanti and Christian Mifsud replying for Birzebbuga.
It was time for the Sliema tail-enders in the last session but still they roared for more as they scored five without reply.
(4-1, 4-1, 3-3, 5-0)
SLIEMA N. Grixti, J. Gabarretta, L. Galea 1, D. Rizzo, M. Meli 1, B. Cachia 2, J. Cutajar 4, M. Mifsud 1, J. Brownrigg 2, J. Gambin, Z. Mizzi, D. Zammit 4, A. Theuma, K. Borg 1.
BIRZEBBUGA M. Vassallo, J. Farrugia 1, N, Cassar, B, Grech, C. Mifsud 1, R. Mock, I. Galea, D. Farrugia, S. Bezzina, K. Tanti 1, G. Mannino 1, M. Curmi 1, M. Sladden, D. Incorvaja, G. Sammut.
Referees: R. Spiteri, R. Pasquale.
Marsaskala took little time to assert their superiority over Barracudas and a 5-1 first session advantage was a clear indication of where the wind was blowing.
Marsaskala insisted on fast breaks rather than driving on set play. The Southseasiders’ victory always looked to be very comfortable with most of their players inserting their names in the scorers’ list.
(5-1, 4-0, 8-1, 3-2)
MARSASKALA J.Micallef, JC Cutajar 2, A. Camenzuli 1, P. Privitera 1, R. Greco 2, G. Galea, K. Navarro, M. Manara 3, D. Pace Lupi 4, G. Sammut 2, J. Ciantar 2, M. Carani 3, A. Muscat.
BARRACUDAS M. Borg, A. Piccione, A. Magri 3, P. Micallef, D. Ciantar, R. Sciortino, S. Aquilina, L. Galea, D. Camilleri, J. Bugeja, A. Mifsud, TJ Mifsud 1, C. Bugeja.
Referees: R. Pasquale, P. Balzan.
In the second match, Ta’ Xbiex had an edge throughout with five-goal Jayden Cassar being the main threat for the winners, followed by veteran Edward Aquilina.
A 3-2 first session lead was extended to 5-3 by midpoint and then to 10-7 at the end of the penultimate quarter.
The side led by Zoran Maslovar again shaded their opponents 4-2 for a 14-9 final score.
TA’ XBIEX 14
(3-2, 2-1, 5-4, 4-2)
TA’ XBIEX R. Coleiro, CJ Saliba, E. Aquilina 4, J Pace Mizzi 2, E. Meli, S. Engerer, J. Saliba, J. Cassar 5, E. Schembri 1, Z. Cutajar Licari 2, B Attard Littschw, J. Chircop, Z. Dzanovic.
OTTERS M. Xerri, M. Bonnici, K. Scicluna 1, L. Grech Carr 3, M. Farrugia, D. Dimech 1, I. Azzopardi, S. Dimech 2, L. Dimech 1, S. Apap, Z. Bartolo, A. Dimech 1, M. Grech.
Referees: F. Ricciotti, M. Angileri
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