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HOTSTICKS RETAIN CHALLENGE CUP

Hotsticks retained the HAM Challenge Cup after a 1-0 win over Qormi in the final, while Young Stars won the third place play-off after beating Rabat Depiro 3-0.

Hotsticks 1 Qormi Poiatti 0

Qormi started this game like a house on fire winning four penalty corners in the first three minutes but not taking advantage of any of them and in the 5th minute they had no takers to follow up a loose ball hit into the D which hit the post and bounced back into play.

Hotsticks reacted strongly and on 10 minutes they were only denied by a double save affected by the Qormi custodian.

On 21 minutes Qormi’s goalkeeper again denied Hotsticks when he parried a shot diving to his right at full length.

Although both sides kept pressing with the tempo of the game already reaching a high level of commitment, it was not until the last minute of the half when Julian Zahra received the ball down the right flank and from a very narrow angle shot a reverse hit into the net to send Hotsticks into a 1–0 lead.

Juan Sarcia hit the post for Qormi in the 38th minute as a result of a penalty corner award and on 48 minutes he hit the cross bar from another penalty corner action.

After Hotsticks missed a chance on 51 minutes, Emile Borg their goalkeeper, preserved their slender lead when he managed to turn a point blank Qormi effort over the bar in the 65th minute, definitely the save of the match, which ended in a 1 – 0 victory for Hotsticks to retain the Challenge Cup this season.

Umpires: James Mizzi and Raymond Micallef

Third place play-off

Rabat Depiro 0-3 Young Stars

The teams had hardly any time to settle down when in the 4th minute, Joseph Dalli shot Young Stars into the lead hitting a crisp volley into the left corner of the net from the top of the D.

Rabat missed a penalty corner opportunity on 9 minutes when Shawn Falzon narrowly missed the target.

This was followed by a quiet period of play with both sides probing each other’s defences to no avail.

Young Stars did not take advantage of two penalty corner awards with Mark Camilleri hitting just past the post on 32 minutes, the half time whistle sounding with Young Stars retaining their one goal lead.

After missing a chance early in the second half, Young Stars doubled their lead in the 46th minute, as a result of a penalty corner action when Luke Borg Costanzi shot home.

On 53 minutes Rabat reacted strongly and hit the post after a prolonged melee inside the D, but on 65 minutes, Borg Costanzi scored what might be considered as the goal of the season to date when he picked up a ball on the half way line, dribbled through the whole Rabat defence and beat the Rabat goalkeeper with a drive low into the corner of the net to send his team into a 3 – 0 lead which they retained throughout the rest of the match, earning third place in this year’s competition.

Umpires: Luke Busuttil Leaver and Manuel Imbroll
 
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