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Sliema’s positive start towards retaining winter title

Playing more or less to the same units when defeating Neptunes Emirates last Saturday, Sliema McDonald’s started in positive fashion against Sirens Ritter Sport yesterday as the teams’ braced themselves for the first of three pos-sible play-off matches to determine the destination of the 2011 BOV Winter League title.

The Blues’ 12-4 victory was a true reflection of their ascendancy over a team which had beaten them earlier in the competition. But, this time Sliema were much the better team, no doubt because they had two important cogs who had not been on their starting list when the sides faced each other before.

These were ex-Romanian and naturalised Italian Bogdan Rath and Mark Meli who is back after per-forming so well in Canada.

Unlike Sliema, Sirens were largely unable to carve an opening mainly because they could not unmark themselves since the Blues allowed them little or no options near the five-metre zone.

The title holders took a 3-1 opening session lead after a momentarily equaliser by the northerners. With the central ap-proaches at both ends being mas-sively manned to wipe out any menace from the centre, the team with the better knack of unmarking its players were Sliema who kept pegging to extend their lead to 6-3 by the half-way mark.

Sirens were unable to keep up the scoring rhythm of their opponents and conceded two more goals to start the last part of the game five goals adrift.

The exchanges in that final session were of academic interest as Sliema opened an eight-goal lead with the usual John Soler heading the scorers’ list with four goals.

But for another goal late in the game, the St Paul’s Bay team were at a complete standstill.

In the first match of the day, Exiles Jet Services won the contest for fifth place when defeating Marsascala Solidbase 14-6.

After taking a 2-0 lead Marsascala conceded two late goals which enabled Exiles to even out matters by the end of the first session.

The team from Sliema took the lead for the first time early in the second quarter after which it was mostly balanced until two goals in the last 42 seconds had the teams’ changing ends with Exiles 4-3 in front.

The Southseasiders were faring relatively well but their failings on man-ups let them down.

Exiles pulled clear on a 10-5 ad-vantage before the final session started. After that it was all Exiles who then could afford moments of slackness.

The last episode of note was the dismissal with substitution of Ranier Scerri for misconduct.

Summaries

Sirens 4
Sliema 12
(1-3, 2-3, 0-2, 1-4)

Sirens: J. Sammut, A. Attard, P. Micallef, P. Borg, A. Sammut, R. Mock, J. Borg 1, D. Cutajar, M. Grech, C. Zammit 1, L. Caruana, D. Zammit 1, C. Mercieca 1.

Sliema: R. Coleiro, M. Spiteri Staines, N. Lubrano, P. Privitera, M. Meli 2, J. Soler 4, D. Paolella 1, J. Spiteri Staines 2, C. Debono 1, M. Cordina, B. Rath 2, N. Portelli, D. Abela.

Refs: M. Angilleri, P. Giordano.

Exiles 14
Marsascala 6
(2-2, 2-1, 6-2, 4-1)

Exiles: A. Borg Cole, J. Rizzo Naudi 3, K. Rizzo Naudi 2, D. Pace Lupi 4, T. Sullivan 1, M. Calleja 2, J. Paris, K. Grixti 1, A. Sciberras, S. Cini, S. Vassallo, D. Borg, M. Paris 1.

Marsascala: S. Farrugia, C. Spiteri de Barro 1, D. Caruana 1, M. Pace 1, K. Navarro, B. Plumpton, J. Licari 2, J. Cremona 1, R. Scerri, D. Cassar, O. Zammit, E. Arrigo.

Refs: R. Spiteri, A. Farrugia.

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