In this third round match of the Cisk Lager League, played on a newly re-sown pitch 1, both teams were coming off a win, Falcons Club over the Champion Stompers and Kavallieri RUFC had put the Overseas Club to the sword.
Falcons kicked off playing into a stiff breeze down the ground, with Kavallieri having won the toss and opting to play with the wind in the first half.
I always say that the wind at Marsa is worth 20 points if it used wisely, but the final score of 17 to 14 showed that it wasn’t harvested.
Maltese Rugby is all about passion and Kavallieri started the game all fired up to take the game to Falcons, keeping them under constant pressure with their line-speed, when defending and wth quick ball, trying to get it into the hands of their speedster Lloyd Miriphiri(15) who ran strongly on a number of occasions, but just when he looked like putting his team into a scoring position, he either dropped the ball, or couldn’t link up with his support players.
Falcons were trying run the ball from everywhere, but the wind and Kavallier’s intensity wouldn’t allow the passes to put players in to space.
An interception by Kyle Charlton(12) against the run of play, as Falcon’s attacked, put him into the clear, to run 40 metres to score for an easy conversion for Jethro Zammit Randich(13) putting them on the scoreboard with 15 minutes, on the clock. 7 to 0.
Falcons powered their way upfield with their big second rowers Martin Barbara(4) and Liam Scicluna(5) bashing their way over the gainline.
From a ruck inside the Kavallieri 22, Gabriel Scicluna(8) ran the blind side and offloaded to his winger Liam Davis(14) to score, diving low under two tacklers. From way out, the conversion stalled in the wind. Kavallieri 7, Falcons 5.
From a kick that was carried back over the line by Falcons, Referee Andy Irvine called a 5 metre scrum in a great attacking position for Kavallieri and after a few pick and goes from the ensuing play Ousman Konute(8) dived over for Charlton to convert, Kavallieri 14, Falcons 5.
Falcons were trying to play too much Rugby, putting themselves under pressure as they tried to move the ball into a swirling wind and Kavallieri were feeding off their mistakes, kicking the ball through from the dropped passes.
As the half ended Kavallieri lost a few players to injury and had to rejig their their team.
Now with the wind behind them, I expected to see the Falcon’s 10 Avramovic control the game with the boot and play the game in the Kavallieri 22. But Kavallieri’s kickoff was taken superbly by a high leaping Konate(8) who brought his team deep into the Falcon’s half, but poor finishing frustrated their efforts.
It was a feisty game as both teams played physical Rugby knocking each other over and competing at the breakdown with Martin Barbara, Scicluna(8) and Konate(8) all getting turnovers at vital times in the game.
Damian Davis(26) off the bench scored, after some strong forward play catching and driving near the line to bring Falcon’s close at 14 to 10.
Slowly Falcons were beginning to dominate and play deep in the Kavallieri half putting the Men in Black under constant pressure forcing knock ons.
A penalty kick into the corner had the Falcons hot on attack, near the Kavallieri tryline.
From the line out that then morphed into a maul, then on to pick and goes Erakovic(7) was pushed over the line to score near the corner.
Holliday(1) after hollering from the sideline to keep his team in the game, came on to lead from the front, although carrying an injury from the International against Cyprus, he steadied the ship to close out the win with Erakovich’s try and the conversion by Liam Davis winning this very entertaining game of Rugby. Falcons 17, Kavallieri 14.
Man of the Match:
Falcons: Gabriel Scicluna(8) . Kavallieri: Ousmane Konate(8)
Referee: Andy Irvine from Manchester, a part of the Malta Referee Association’s exchange program.
Touchjudges: Gordon McHarg and Mauro Miceli.