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Saints and Blues look to spark off bright year

Action from the Sliema-San Ġiljan Winter League first-round clash. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

Action from the Sliema-San Ġiljan Winter League first-round clash. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

The pre-season competition will have a grandstand finish tomorrow when San Ġiljan ASC and Sliema Frank Salt are due to lock horns in a match to decide the destination of the 22nd BOV Winter League.

Both teams will hopefully be brandishing their best weapons in pursuit of a flying start that could provide them with further impetus for the main honours of the summer season.

Sliema will be seeking their ninth winter honour while San Ġiljan are after their second title.

It has not been as much a change of engine for these protagonists as a positive tweak in their armoury through the addition of Clint Mercieca for the Saints and the re-inclusion of Edward Aqui-lina for the Blues that would give the teams further strength.

There is a fine balance as re-gards experience, muscle and talented youngsters.

San Ġiljan rely on the explosive left-hander Matthew Zammit, the scoring opportunism of Dino Zammit and Aurelien Cousin and the steam provided by the others including youngsters Ben Plumpton and Andreas Galea.

Sliema’s squad is also equipped with valid middle-order players and tailenders, with John Soler, Mark Meli, centre Jerome Gabarretta and the versatile lads, Nicholas Bugelli and Christian Cluett, providing the complexion of a steady side.

Chances taken or lost, tightly-knit rearguards, tactical efficiency and an ability to deal with pressure will be the elements which should seal the result.

San Ġiljan, who won the first-round clash 8-5, enjoy an advantage in a duel that will be decided on the countback of direct encounters, including goal difference.

The match will be preceded by the Valletta-Sirens encounter for fourth place in the table.

Again the outcome of the direct clashes will be decisive, the team from the capital having won the first match 10-8.

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