Stompers set themselves up as the team to beat

Tuesday, December 20, 2011, 11:38

SLIEMA STOMPERS    44             vs        KAVALLIERI     3

Playing in a strong, cold wind sweeping down the pitch Stompers really set their colours as the team to beat this season. Kavallieri started well,using the wind to establish territorial pressure. However they failed to score from their trademark lineout drive, when the Stompers pack toughed them out, which clearly posted a warning.

They gained a penalty but Edwards missed the conversion, though the ball dropped just short of the line so Kavallieri could mount yet another attack. In the face of the wind, Stompers were forced to run the ball out rather than kick. Right from the atart Stompoers prop was getting the better of Kavalieri Borg, which unsettled possession.

Nevertheless the first 15 minutes was spent in Stompers half. Finally two flowing moves by Stompers backs pushed them into Kavallieri territory, as a well timed pass put Camilleir away on the burst, only to be stopped by the brave Kawara. More Stompers pressure led to a penalty, a quick tap and long pass out to wing Ed. Attard to score the first try.

Stompers were hungry to run now they had soaked up the early pressure, Ed. Attard was always looking for action, Boulais supporting the penetration of Malcolm Attard, Camilleri looking to burst out from fullback, although he could have been more effecttive if he had passed more often.

Malcolm Attard added a penalty, then Ed. Attard snapped up grubber kick off from Edwards to dodge close to the line and Ellul scored with a powerful charge off the ensuing ruck.

Kavallieri retaliated well and Kawara  went close but the Stompers defence was impenetrable until Edwards scored a penalty.

Kavallieri sept back up the field and Edwards kicked into the corner off a penalty and set them up for their trademark driving lineout, but this time Stompers simply drove them back out of the 22 area. The Stompers pack drove on with serial possession, Kavallieri were penalised in desperation, and M. Attard kicked beautifully into the corner. From there Stompers launched attacks but it was the Kavallieri turn to defend well. Unfortunately a poor clearance kick put the ball into Stompers hands and Ed. Attard dodged through yet again, releasing M. Attard to score under the posts and convert his own try. Stompers led 20 – 3 at half time.

Stompers started the second half with the wind at their backs and Ed Attard was stopped again by Kawara, but from a scrum Debattista was released in a burst on the blind side and he was too powerful for the  tacklers and another converted try stretched the lead.

Kavallieri were being stretched by the fast and wide passing Stompers backs, who were excellent in chosing a variety of angles from which to launch their bursts and support.

M. Attard placed a kick into the corner with surgical precision  and the forwards drove in for another try.

Kavallieri backs were inspired to respond as subs in the forwards won a better share of good ball, Degabrielli, Mallia and occasionally Edwards, made some telling runs. Stompers Bradley headed for the sin bin and the game became more even, until Kavallieri   Borda received a red card, although the Kavallieri continued to attack, and Camilleri  at full back was forced to show his class under pressure.

After a while Stompers escaped form their own half and M. Attard burst and swerved his way through some poor tackling to score under the posts and convert.

As Kavallieri tired, burdened by being a man short, Stompers turned the pressure screw and scored a final unconverted try in the corner to inflict  the biggest defeat in many years on Kavallieri.

Mike Turner

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