Indiscipline wrecks Valletta’s sterling efforts

Monday, February 7, 2011, 16:30

by Mike Turner

Photo by Kenny Schembri

Photo by Kenny Schembri


This interesting match saw the League debut of Portuguese referee, Mr. Lionel Dasilva, who has refereed in France for several years, and conducted a difficult match well.

Both sides fielded several reserves as players were missing. The main difference was Overseas fly half Nick Wright who scored a handful of tries and converted many of them. The Valletta pack showed great spirit, but failed to contain their passion to the extent that Valletta played with only 14 men for half of the match. The Valletta coach and managers must instill respect and knowledge into their players, if they want to fully enjoy their technical improvements.

The first 20 minutes saw Overseas established constantly in the Valletta 22, but strong and well marshaled defence kept them out. Then Wismayer collected the first yellow card for the sinbin and as a result the inevitable first try was scored and converted. More attacks from Overseas and two more converted tries came in quick succession. McCrae and Wright were constantly probing Valletta with their quick thinking and balanced running. One came after backchat to the referee led to Valletta being ordered back 10 metres. Two more tries came although Valletta showed great spirit to gain territory, but could not put together sustained attacks. Throughout the game good breaks were made but individual Valletta players, Mifsud and Borg, failed because there was no support at their shoulders to take the offload or quick pass.

Overseas gave away about 40 metres through errors and Valletta spent many minutes camped on the Overseas line, until finally they drove over. Sadly the referee was unsighted at the vital moment and did not award the try. Kelly, who was certain he had scored then earned himself a yellow card for disputing the decision, and Overseas finally cleared. An aimless kick downfield by Wright was fielded by MacLean, but his poor clearance was fielded from an offside position by his own centre, Mifsud, and Overseas scored yet again, ending the half leading by 33 – 0.

Overseas’ forwards were unable to dominate the Valletta pack, despite the leadership of Howland and as frustration set in, slipped into a niggling, spoiling mode, for which they were rather lucky not to be punished. Instead Valletta started to argue too much and their game suffered as a result.

After a high tackle by Cassar, Azzopardi was silly enough to be sarcastic to the referee and earned a red card.

Nevertheless Valletta still had the spirit to come back and Degabrielle finally scored after a long period of forward pressure.

Quite apart from his devastating, sniping runs, Overseas Wright was also superb in defence, with his low, hard tackles dropping charging forwards again and again. A nasty late tackle by an Overseas player should have earned at least a yellow card, but this was missed.

Overall a strange match which served to give some good experience to reserve players from both clubs, and will help Overseas notch up points as they chase the Kavallieri leaders of the Cisk Lager League. Wright was definitely the star, supported by McCrae and Van Reeven for Overseas, with a disappointing attitude shown by Howland for Overseas. Pace, Vella, Aquilina and Debono were stalwarts in the Valletta pack, and despite the score, this was not easy win.

Other results this weekend:

Ladies – Malta International Airport 10s Cup:

Overseas 15 vs Valletta 25

Kavallieri 48 vs Alligators 0

Mens – Cisk Lager League:

Overseas 54 vs Valletta 5

Kavallieri 71 vs Alligators 0

Mens – 10s Challenge:

Kavallieri 15 vs Alligators 0

Falcons 0 vs Stompers 15.

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