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San Ġiljan lay down marker as second round gets underway

San Ġiljan’s Ben Plumpton holds possession inside the Sliema zone. Photo: Wally Galea

San Ġiljan’s Ben Plumpton holds possession inside the Sliema zone. Photo: Wally Galea

The second round of the BOV Premier and First Division championships starts today after each team in the top league played five matches and those in the second-tier figured in four.

It will be another round robin series of matches, 25 in both competitions – 15 in the top division and 10 in the lower one – which should come to an end on July 22.

It will be followed by the last round which will be played on the basis of each team’s placing in the table.

So far, San Ġiljan, who face Neptunes today, have laid down a marker.

The Saints have lived up to their billing of being the prime contenders for the title after collecting maximum points in the first round.

Their side contains very few fringe players, many of whom are match-winners in their own right.

Their Balluta Bay opponents are wary of the Saints’ strength but also confident of again being able to push them to the limit – they only lost 9-8 in the first round – and even topple them despite lacking strong tailenders and an established left-hander.

The Valletta-Sirens encounter could well see the team from St Paul’s Bay repeat their success against Stephen Rizzo’s side when they won 13-5 in their opener.

Sergio Afric has a rising group of players who have been nurtured in recent years and can look to the rest of the season with much hope especially after beating Sliema last week.

On the other hand, Valletta have stalled and coach Rizzo will have to imbue in his players more fighting qualities like they showed against San Ġiljan last week to put his team back on trail.

On Saturday, Sliema will come up against Exiles who were outclassed by San Ġiljan last week.

Nevertheless, the Blues’ long outfit, still smarting from their defeat at the hands of Sirens last Friday, should repel any pressure resulting from their tag of title-chasers.

Playing today
First Division: 4.45pm Marsaxlokk vs Otters.
Premier Division: 6pm Neptunes vs San Ġiljan; 7.15pm Valletta United vs Sirens.

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