San Ġiljan edge out Neptunes

San Ġiljan edge out Neptunes

San Ġiljan’s Aleksandar Ivovic is challenged by Niki Lanzon. Photo: Wally Galea

San Ġiljan’s Aleksandar Ivovic is challenged by Niki Lanzon. Photo: Wally Galea

San Giljan Tum Invest and Sliema Frank Salt started the summer league season on a winning note when they beat Neptunes Leo Vegas and Exiles JetFreight 9-8 and 13-6 respectively.

The match between the Saints and their neighbours turned out to be a titanic tussle which had the winners stretching every sinew to overcome obdurate opponents who eventually only had themselves to blame for missing seven of their last eight extraman sets, the last two in the dying stages being crucial.

Apart from their initial one-goal deficit San Giljan were always ahead, at times by two lengths. However, the battling Reds kept chasing them.

Two definite expulsions in the third session, Ben Plumpton for San Giljan and Niki Lanzon for Neptunes, proved more costly for the Balluta team given their shorter array of valid men at their disposal.

At the end of the day the Saints were relieved to pass their stern test.

In the last match of the day Sliema deservedly eclipsed Exiles after outsmarting Dorian Pisani’s charges from the second session onwards. The exchanges had been even until Slobodan Nikic, the Exiles foreign player who struck four goals, evened matters on 4-4 midway through that second quarter.

But then the Blues scored six times without reply to leave their opponents in complete disarray. Edward Aquilina’s early hat-trick opened the way  for Sliema, with Guglielmo Molina doing likewise to give maximum points to the better team.

In the lower division match Marsascala Transcripta edged 11-10 past the competitive Birżebbuga who were making a reappearance in local waterpolo after an absence of several years. Their new outfit, guided by Marco Risso matched their opponents all the way, with the lead alternating  almost thoughout. However, they stopped short of salvaging at least a point.

Birżebbuġa 10
Marsaskala 11

(4-4, 2-3, 3-2, 1-2)

Birżebbuġa: D. Abela, M. Manara, S. Mora 3, D. Pace Lupi 1, A. Camenzuli, A. Sammut 1, S. Vassallo 3, N. Cassar, G. Farrugia, M. Caruana 1, K. Rizzo Naudi 1, O. Zammit, D. Spiteri.

Marsaskala: K. Schembri, J.C. Cutajar 2, N. Cutajar, F. Borg, A. Vlahovic 6, L. Grixti, K. Navarro 1, J. Busuttil, S. Micallef 1, M. Agius, D. Cassar 1, M. Cutajar, B. Dougall.

Referees: L. Iacovelli, R. Spiteri.

Exiles 6
Sliema 13

(3-3, 1-3, 0-2, 2-5)

Exiles: M. Castillo, J. Rizzo Naudi, J. Bajada, M. Stellini 1, T. Sullivan 1, S. Xerri De caro, N. Slobodan 4, K. Griscti, N. Paris, A. Bianchi, D. Borg Millo, L. Felice, S. Galea Pace.

Sliema: R. Coleiro, J. Gabarretta, E. Aquilina 3, C. Cluett 1, G. Molina 3, K. Dowling, M. Spiteri Staines 1, L. Galea, M. Meli, J. Gambin 2, Z. Mizzi 1, N. Bugelli 2, Z. Sciberras.

Referees: L. Iacovelli, P. Balzan.

San Ġiljan 9
Neptunes 8

(3-3, 4-2, 0-1,  2-2)

San Ġiljan: J. Tanti, P. Borg, A. Galea, B. Grech, J. Galea, M. Zammit 1, B. Plumpton 1, D. Zammit, A. Ivovic 3, A. Cousin, P. Fava 1, D. Zammit 3, T. Micallef.

Neptunes: A. Borg Cole, N. Lanzon 2, T. Agius, K. Erdogan, R. Blary, S. Gravina, S. Camilleri 3, J. Camilleri 2, J. Abela 1, M. Zammit, M. Tabone, M. Azzopardi, I. Bugeja.

Referees: M. Piano, A. DeRaffaele.

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