Top teams win at a canter
Neptunes Vodafone and Sirens Hard Rock Cafe eased away to emphatic victories against Otters and Marsaxlokk Freeport as the championship trek was resumed yesterday with a welcome early start.
Neptunes had Otters in a tight corner from the very beginning despite finding the net only twice in the first session. Eventually, their timely breaks and powerful finishing had the Gozitans increasingly trying to find refuge in playing out their possession period.
With Hungarian signing Tibor Simon making his debut, Otters were still unable to make the slightest impact on the game. The absence of the unfit Karl Galea, for Neptunes, was amply made up for by his colleagues, particularly by Matthew Pisani.
Karl Izzo started putting in his tail-enders in the third session with Luke Attard, Giorgio Sammut and Jordan Camilleri inserting their names in the scorers' list. It was surely a nightmare of a match for Otters' Macedonian coach Saso Hristovski.
Although the gap in class between Sirens and Marsaxlokk was not as wide as that between Neptunes and Otters in the first match, Sirens' stranglehold on the proceedings was never in doubt.
The match was marked by a breakdown in the electronic scoreboard in the first session, after which the timing was done manually. The score was then 2-1 for Sirens who stretched that advantage to 7-2 by the half-way mark.
Marsaxlokk's cautious time-consuming play, although not totally negative, helped to stop the adverse scoreline from getting any bigger.
(2-0, 8-1, 9-0, 8-1)
Neptunes: N. Gouder, N. Lanzon 2, J. Camilleri 1, G. Sammut 4, J. Brown-rigg 2, I. Milakovic 3, S. Camilleri 6, L. Attard 3, D. Camilleri, S. Gravina, R. Sciortino, M. Stellini 1, M. Pisani 5.
Otters: E. Farrugia, F. Bajada, G. Zammit 1, S. Grech, S. Cutajar, D. Saliba, P. Saliba, K. Mizzi, C. Martin, K. Scicluna, T. Simon, S. Xerri 1, C. Saliba.
Refs: R. Spiteri, P. Giordano.
(4-1, 3-1, 5-1, 5-0)
Sirens: A. Grech, R. Mock, K. Rizzo Naudi, P. Privitera 2, J. Rizzo Naudi 2, R. Xerri, J. Borg 3, E. Bonello 1, K. Montfort 2, C. Zammit 3, C. Mercieca 1, Z. Varga 3, J. Sammut.
Marsaxlokk: R. Bonnici, G. Attard, R. Calleja, A. Farrugia, K. Farrugia, C. Bugeja, E. Pisani, D. Schembri, S. Frolov 2, K. Grima Scott, G. Ghirxi 1, G. Zammit, A. Sammut.
Refs: A. DeRaffaele, M. Caruana.
Today: 4.30 p.m. San Giljan vs Ta' Xbiex; 5.45 p.m. Sliema vs Marsascala; 7 p.m. Sirens vs Exiles.