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Big first half enough for Stompers

Dragan Cerketa, of Stompers, powers his way forward against Overseas at the Marsa ground. Photo: Zara Ameen

Dragan Cerketa, of Stompers, powers his way forward against Overseas at the Marsa ground. Photo: Zara Ameen

Stompers 34
Overseas 28

This was an exciting match from start to finish as both teams threw everything into it.

Stompers put Overseas under a lot of pressure in the opening half.

Richard Gum kicked two early penalties and scored a try, running the ball down the blindside from broken play. Jeremy Debattista added another try for Stompers when he powered his way over in the corner to take the score away from Overseas.

Two yellow cards, to Matthew Camilleri and Calvin Briffa for repeated infringements, didn’t stop the Stompers’ momentum and Gum also kicked another penalty to make it 19-0 at half-time.

There was a feeling that Stompers’ advantage was not enough for them to win the match easily as Overseas kicked off the second half with the strong winds now at their backs.

They needed to score quickly and Rhys Barry weaved his way to the line. Dudman  kicked the conversion, giving Overseas a glimmer of hope.

But Overseas just couldn’t finish off the moves they were creating with dropped passes, wrong options and poor passes going to ground.

Against the run of play, Stompers scored a break-out try from their own 22 with Gum finding space out wide drawing the Overseas full-back and passing to Debattista who ran 40 metres to score in the corner – 24-7.

George Corner was charging his way into the Stompers’ defensive wall and Sarres, despite being well-marked all game, then shook off would-be tacklers, running 50 metres to score. Dudman added the extra points, pulling Overseas closer at 24-14.

Stompers were trying hard to keep the ball in hand as they attacked from long range, putting in a series of phases together through talented playmaker Ryan McLister.

Dragan Cerketta scored like a charging bull close to the line but Sarres hit back for Overseas to bridge the gap to 29-21 following the conversion.

More action was to follow as Stompers’ response produced a Camilleri try after a catch and drive from a lineout that moved him infield and scoring next to the posts.

Jamie Murray was yellow carded for Overseas who were running out of time as they attacked again close to their opponents’ line.

Camilleri was sent off for the rest of the game after a second yellow card leaving Stompers with a player less.

Overseas increased the tempo. A quick penalty from Pascal Holland reached captain Harvey who used his strength to power over. Dudman kicked the conversion to put his team within striking distance but to no avail as Stompers held on for the win.

Overseas now need to win their next two games to force a play-off against Stompers for the title.

Best players: Ryan McLister (Stompers); George Corner (Overseas).

Other result: Falcons vs Kavallieri 51-26.

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