Another Saturday afternoon at Marsa and the summer just won’t let go, played on scorched earth, two Malta Rugby Football Union competition games commenced.
First up was a tense affair between last weeks’ Ray Elliot Cup winners Stompers, being challenged by the Kavallieri Rugby Club.
Kavallieri were not intimidated at all and went about their business with an air of confidence, breaking the Stomper’s defence and surging upfield, but they just couldn’t score.
Both teams were winning turnover ball in the tackle and Martin Barbara(4) stole a good defensive lineout ball and then moments later he broke from a ruck down the blindside and went over in the corner, Clement Gruyer’s (10) conversion bounced away off the uprights, after 16 minutes it was 5 nil to Stompers.
Kavallieri were not letting Stompers settle into any sort of rhythm, putting in some big tackles and keeping the pressure on their running game. Both Barbara(4) and Cerketta(3) were hit hard as they surged for the line. David Namusasi(7) was putting in some big tackles.
Kavallieri forced their way downfield from a penalty, kicking into the corner, then scored from a catch and drive from the lineout, with Samuel Zammit(2) going over, sneaking around the side of the maul, with no defenders sealing off the fringes.
Then Jon Jon Micaleff(7) scored just before half time, making it Stompers 10, Kavallieri 5, with still no luck on the conversions.
The second half saw Kavallieri on the attack early and Jethro Zammit Randich(13) using his speed scored, then with the conversion by Jake Pace(10) they took the lead 12 to 10.
But finally Stompers found their feet and began to stretch Kavallieri from side to side, a two on one was lost due to a bad pass, but Julian Caruana(15) redeemed himself with a blistering run through the Kavallieri midfield to score under the posts, with Gruyer’s conversion it was now 17 to 12.
Again Jon Jon Micallef(7) scored, running onto a floating pass, taking Stompers into a safe zone at 24 points to 12, with Clement Gruyer’s conversion.
But Kavallieri weren’t buried yet and came hard at Stompers, moving the ball wide into the hands of Lloyd Mhiriphiri’s(14) and his speed did the rest, scoring out wide, in the absence of his marker Jeremy Debatista(21) who had been yellow carded for a slap down knockon, making it 24 to 17.
Kavallieri were now within a converted try of a draw and had some fire in their eyes, with a few minutes left on the clock.
But Stomper’s wound down the clock and took the sting out of Kavallieri by taking their time to kick a penalty, there to end the game on Stompers 27, Kavallieri 17.
Referee: Sam Ramage.
Men of the Match:
Stompers: Martin Barbara(4).
Kavallieri: Jethro Zammit Randich(13).