In the MRFU League Falcons beat Gladiators 36-7, while in the other game Sliema Stompers defeated Swieqi Overseas 24-7.

Falcons 36 Gladiators 7

By: Don Hewer

A fiercely contested match where both sides were content with playing a forward driving game. There was no expansive play and both sides seemed content to hammer through.

Many infringements and knock-ons caused disruption and scrum re-starts. The frustrated the players themselves and was giving the referee, Mr. Sam Ramage, a difficult task.

There were two decent plays where Falcons moved the ball well, scoring tries through Bjorn Micallef and Andrew Vella, both unconverted.

At half-time, Falcons 10 Gladiators 0.

The second half was better, Gladiators were trying to play, but kept infringing. Silly back-chat to the referee saw Scott Fulton, the Gladiators scrub half, yellow carded and sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes.

This gave the impetus to Falcons and lovely interplay between Julian Galea and Ryan Borg, saw Benji Borg cross to score, unconverted. From the re-start, Gladiators moved the ball well through the forwards, but again, dropped ball stifled their momentum.

From the scrum, Falcons moved the ball well through the three-quarters and Andrew Galea scored, Drinu Vella finally converting. The referee brought captains together again, trying to get them to control their own players.

Gladiators were still driving through the forwards, trying to offload to the backs, but too many times, knock-on, dropped ball, and infringements to give away penalties. Falcons ran in two tries through Andrew Galea and Ryan Borg, both converted by Drinu Vella.

Julian Galea impressed with his passing and movement. Having been smothered following a line-out, his next involvement side-stepping and gaining 30 meters. Get up and put the effort into the game.

A silly scuffle broke out when Benji Borg would not release Scott Fulton after a tackle, and Drinu Vella was yellow-carded for wading-in with a punch. The Falcons captain sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes.

This gave Gladiators more space, and they drove well for an impressive Matthias Cameretta to use his guile and strength to score a try.

Converted by Sam Firth for the final score Falcons 36 Gladiators 7.

Sliema Stompers 24 vs Swieqi Overseas 7

By: Mike Turner

Stompers put themselves in pole position in the Cisk Lager League by chalking up a good win against Overseas, who missed key player Clayton Cassar with a shoulder injury.

From the start Stompers looked as if they meant business, spending a long period camped in the Overseas territory, well organised and penetrating but unable to make the final scoring step.

Against expectation they had the better of the first few set scrums too, pushing the powerful opposition back on their heels, although it evened out as the game continued.

Counteracting this Overseas easily had the better of the lineouts throughout the match. Max Galea was in fine form, passing well to his fly half and making several good running breaks, but several times such moves were spoiled by poor final passes.

When finally Overseas managed to work themselves into an attacking position Stivala missed a penalty which would have given them an undeserved lead.

Both sides were bent on a running game, keeping the ball moving from hand to hand as much as possible, which made for entertainment, except that there were too many errors.

Finally Overseas began to assert themselves and looked dangerous but they could not break through the determined defence or gave away possession by undisciplined penalties.

Luke Debattista, having moved it to number eight from the wing was playing a storming match for Stompers with his speed and strength, and he broke from a lineout some thirty metres, from which Stompers launched a series of close attacks, for Hili to burrow over and open the scoring, 5-0 to Stompers.

Overseas hit back immediately, when Stompers made the elementary mistake of failing to call and catch the kick off, which was pounced on by Gauci who tapped on, picked up and ran through two tackles to score a try, converted by Stivala.

Overseas then repeated the same error and Stompers were back on the attack immediately but were penalised. The half ended with Overseas leading 7-5.

Overseas started on the attack and looked promising but their attacks were broken on hard tackling and they gradually took the upper hand with hard driving runs and supporting offloads. Both Luke and Jeremy Debattista were imposing their speed and strength and gaining ground with penetrating bursts, Neville Borg and Caruana were also creating gaps.

A good run seemed to have ended but quick thinking by Nathan Gatt whipped the ball into his wingers hands and a try was scored, converted by Borg, to regain the lead. From then on some of the Overseas seemed to lose heart and Jeremy Debattista scored two tries, one converted by Borg for Stompers to run up a comfortable win. He even had a third disallowed because he had been tackled but restarted.

It was pleasing to see the return of both Nathan Gatt and Simon Abela after two years out. Both were members of the national squad and it is hoped will be pressing to regain their places.

Women's Rugby down at Marsa (Bryan Corlett)

In glorious sunshine with a slight breeze blowing this week's Women's Rugby competition kicked off, with the first Game between Swieqi Overseas and Kavallieri.

After watching the 7s played at Dubai last week there is an expectation of how the 7s game should be played. With pace, width, patience with everyone backing up the ball carrier. That is the template that our ladies aspire to.

The skills are developing and were on show in Saturday's games. From the kick off Overseas Tessabelle Sultana (20) has a run out wide, she didn't back her pace and tried to step inside but was caught by the cover defence, from the ruck Maria Spiteri(9) for Kavallieri ran, but Wendy Pace(8) put in a big tackle to kill a promising Kavallieri move.

From a tackle on Overseas, Amanda Cassar(2) won a turnover and fired a pass out to Justine Zammit(17) and she scored running wide on the blind side.

Kavallieri 5 Overseas 0.

Tamsin Pace-Decesare(7) was running strongly for Overseas, trying to make ground but from a penalty Cassar(2) for Kavallieri tapped quickly, straightened and ran to the line to score, she kicked the conversion.

Kavallieri 12 Overseas 0 and it was half time.

The fierce Kavallieri tackling is not allowing Overseas any space or continuity, forcing them into mistakes, Tessabelle Sultana(20) for Overseas had a strong run, but her offload went astray. From the ruck Myra Bonello(4) for Kavallier ran going right and stepped inside the covering sweeper to score.

With no conversion it was Kavallieri 17 Overseas 0.

From the Kavallieri kick off Overseas hesitated when the ball looked as if it wouldn't go the 10 metres, Sarah Debono(5) snatched the ball, side stepped and offloaded to Maria Spiteri(9) who ran 20 metres and scored, she converted her own try.

Kavallieri 22 Overseas 0.

Overseas were still trying to get into the game, Tessabelle Sultana(20) broke the defence and fed Sixtine Chambouton(22) but she was tackled into touch.

The last play of the game saw Maria Spiteri(9) break down the middle with Overseas giving chase but she ran 50 metres to score the conversion was successful so the final score

Kavallieri 29 Overseas 0.

Falcons versus Overseas

With a fifteen-minute break, Overseas were back on the field facing the Falcons with Celine Smith shadowed by Referee Coach Phil Gibbs in control of the game.

From the kick off Overseas broke right but are forced into touch, from the line out Falcons won a turnover and Katka Vrbacka(16) picked up the ball and ran to the line to score with the conversion good.

Falcons 7 Overseas 0.

From another pinpoint kick off, Kimberley Riolo(6) a former athlete, uses her speed to run down the touchline to score out wide.

Falcons 12 Overseas 0.

Overseas are struggling to get into the game Tessabelle Sultana(20) has a strong run down the touchline, but there was no one on her shoulder to take a pass and she let her team mates know about it, yelling at them "Where's the support!"

Pace-Decesare(7) for Overseas ran the blind after a turnover at the tackle, but was forced into touch, Overseas just cannot get any continuity.

Donevellon Sladden(11) just when she was getting into the game took a knock and had to retire injured.

Falcons were putting a lot of pressure on Overseas around the tackle area, not allowing them any good ball to run with. Overseas win a penalty and tap and go. Trying to spin the ball wide but Beverie Sultana(12) intercepted a pass to run 22 metres to score under the posts, with no conversion.

Falcons 17 Overseas 0 and it was half time.

From the kick off, which Falcons have perfected, Caroline Gafa(9) put the Overseas catcher under pressure she dropped it and allowed Falcons to sweep upfield.

Noemi Perez-Corral(4) having a strong game for Overseas burst her way upfield, but her offload went to ground and was picked up by Falcons, who spun it wide, they were trying to put their winger Silvia Gambino(13) a basketball convert, in for her first try, so she would have to buy cake for the team. But she cannot beat the defence.

A final play had Katka Vrbacka(16) intercept an Overseas pass and from the halfway ran it in for a try, stepping the cover defence along the way. She kicked the conversion.

Final score Falcons 24 Overseas 0.

The final game of the day had Falcons playing Kavallieri both with a win a piece for the day. The Kavallieri kick off did not go the 10 metres so Falcons were awarded a free kick at the half way.

The initial few minutes were a nervous affair, as both teams tried to unlock the other's defence and so mistakes crept into the game.

Falcons were trying to put Kimberley Riolo(6) into space to use her speed, but the Kavallieri cover was getting to her, just as Beverie Sultana(12) offloaded a pass to her.

Marion Azzopardi(7) using her speed broke up the middle but was tackled just short of the line, Diana Farrugia(20) supporting picked up and dived over to score. Azzopardi converted.

Falcons 7 Kavallieri 0.

From the kick off there was a big hit by Marion Azzopardi(7)on Kavallieri's Rachel Overman(15) from the ensuing ruck Amanda Cassar(2) ran right and chipped a kick over the defence and then beat the defence to the ball, picking it up and diving over, great individual skills and vision.

No conversion it is now Falcons 7 Kavallieri 5.

The Kavallieri kick off did not go 10 metres. Marion Azzopardi tap kicks the ball at the halfway and ran left sending a pass out to Caroline Gafa(9) who scampered down the touchline 50 metres and ran it around under the posts to score. Azzopardi(7) converted the try.

Falcons 14 Kavallieri 5 and it was half time.

Falcons kick off the second half and Kavallieri passed it down the backline only to have Maria Spiteri(9) bundled into touch, after she had skirted(excuse the pun) the defence. Amanda Cassar(2) trying to get her Kavallieri on the front foot ran and offloaded to Myra Bonello(4) but she was tackled into touch.

From the line-out Falcons moved the ball through the hands, with a bit of wizardry by Beverie Sultana(12) passing the ball behind her back, it fooled the defence for a moment, but a final pass was forward.

Justine Zammit(17) for Kavallieri ran the ball forward and it took three Falcons players to drag her down. Falcon's Kimberly Riolo(6) had a run, tried to spin her way out of a tackle , offloaded but there was no way through the defence close to the line.

Falcons won a turnover at the tackle Azzopardi(7) passed to Ana Ruiz(8) she then passed long to Caroline Gafa(9) who had to reach back behind her for the ball, but then re-gathered and sped away to score under the posts. The conversion by Azzopardi(7) was good.

Falcons 21 Kavallieri 5

Kavallieri are having trouble getting into the game. A final play saw Beverie Sultana(12) pick up a dropped pass and run 50 metres to score out wide, with the Kavallieri defence chasing.

Full time score Falcons 26 Kavallieri 5.
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Wednesday, September 19, 2018
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