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Neptunes edge Sirens as Sliema ease past Valletta

Sliema’s Jamie Gambin shoots at goal against Valletta during yesterday’s Premier Division match at the National Pool. Photo: Wally Galea

Sliema’s Jamie Gambin shoots at goal against Valletta during yesterday’s Premier Division match at the National Pool. Photo: Wally Galea

Neptunes Leo Vegas and Sliema Frank Salt pocketed the kudos yesterday, the Reds edging Sirens 9-8 and the Blues cruising past Valletta 15-7.

Facing a must win tussle against the team from St Paul’s Bay the champions were made to scrape the barrel to earn maximum spoils and in so doing keep in touch with front runners San Ġiljan and Sliema.

The Reds were aware that their opponents would be stretching them all the way and were it not for a crucial man-up miss in the final seconds the northerners would have gone a notch better than they did when they also lost narrowly to San Ġiljan last Wednesday.

Despite having to rely on nine valid men, Neptunes have two components in Steve Camilleri and his brother Jordan  who are able to carry the team on their shoulders, at least scorewise.

These players can be regarded as ‘foreigners’ given their all-round ability.

For the team guided by Sergio Afric the Italian ace Christian Presciutti inflicted most of the damage on their opponents when scoring six goals.

After overturning a 3-1 early deficit the Balluta team  led 4-3 by midpoint and 8-5 at the end of the third session.

They seemed to be cruising despite having the hard-working Timmy Agius, scorer of a brace, fouled out in the third session.

However, Sirens fought back gallantly to trim the leeway to one goal only to squander that last extraman set with 16 seconds left.

Making use of all their units without minimally affecting their balance and strength, Sliema breezed to victory over a City team that once more showed signs of deficiences not the least in their failure to convert man-up sets.

The Blues’ eight men on their scorers’ list and their much better readings on their numerical advantages confirmed their depth of strength and scoring ability from a wider spectrum of players.

The much-improved Jamie Gambin netted a hat-trick, with Guglielmo Molina and once again Christian Cluett doing likewise.

Valletta had Michael Rizzo fouled out in the second session, an exclusion which weakend the team further. At least they kept battling, qualities that helped them contain the damage.

The lower division match between Marsaxlokk Fischer and Ta’ Xbiex Amigos resulted in an easy, if not overwhelming, victory for the champions who again had Ivan Vuksanovic as their leading scorer with four goals.

Ta’ Xbiex had Adam Maklari in their squad for the first time this season but the Hungarian was double-marked throughout and could leave no impression.

Summaries

Ta’ Xbiex 6
Marsaxlokk 11

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

Ta’ Xbiex: J. Micallef, A. Maklari, N. Saliba 1, E. Carabott, C. Farrugia, K. Mock, K. Tanti 1, E. Gravina, M. Pullicino, G. Debono 1, R. Attard 2, M. Pace 1, L. Pace.

Marsaxlokk: A. Xuereb, C. Spiteri Debarro 1, L. Calleja, K. Galea 2, C. Gialanze, C. Bugeja, S. Meli 1, I. Vuksanovic 4, B. Buhagiar 2, R. Scerri, K. Lanzon 1, L. Gialanze, R. Bonnici.

Referees: Peter Balzan, Antonio Pascucci.

Sirens 8
Neptunes 9

(3-2, 0-2, 2-4, 3-1)

Sirens: N. Grixti, J. Zerafa Gregory, C. Presciutti 6, J. Sciberras, M. Grech, I. Riolo, M. Sciberras, D. Cutajar 1, J. Napier, J. Brownrigg 1, L. Caruana, O. Gauci, C. Mercieca.

Neptunes: A. Borg Cole, N. Lanzon, T. Agius 2, J. Culic, R. Blary 1, S. Gravina, S. Camilleri 4, J. Camilleri 2, J. Abela, M. Zammit, M. Tabone, M. Azzopardi, I. Bugeja.

Referees: Massimo Angileri, Antonio Pascucci.

Valletta 7
Sliema 15

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

Valletta: R. Sciortino, J. Spiteri Staines, A. Agius 1, M. Rizzo, M. Fenech, R. Mock 1, D. Paolella 2, N. Bonello Ghio, M. Cordina, B. Vapenski 2, K. Galea 1, A. Mifsud, F. Buhagiar.

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

Referees: Mario Dalli, Antonio Guarracino.

Playing today
Division One: 6pm Birżebbuġa vs Otters.
Premier League: 7.15pm Exiles vs San Ġiljan.

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