Winter league goes Sliema’s way

Saturday, May 14, 2011, 11:11

by Sandro Micallef

Mark Meli firing home one of his three goals in yesterday's final

A strong display by Sliema Mc Donalds made sure that they won the first honour of the season, the BOV Winter League, when they beat Sirens Ritter Sport 13-6 (6-1, 1-3, 4-2, 2-0) in the second final playoff in the best out of three series.

From the opening whistle Sliema showed their determination to close off the tie and in fact they put the game beyond their opponents’ reach in the first session. Soler, Rath and Meli caused the damage and after only four minutes Sliema were four goals up. Sliema went on to extend their lead to 6-1 by the end of the first session.

Sirens came out very strongly in the second session, and led by Clint Mercieca they managed to bring down the gap to 6-4. Sammut played a blinder in the Sirens goal, denying Sliema on various occasions, including a splendid penalty by Rath. The St Paul’s Bay side could have easily levelled matters when they missed two relatively easy chances in front of Coleiro’s goal. Paolella restored a 3 point advantage for Sliema when we fired home from long range to send both teams to rest with a 7-4 scoreline in Sliema’s favour.

After the break Sliema pulled away to make it 9-4, with Dino Zammit getting one back for Sirens before Meli scored a fantastic goal from beyond the five metres mark. A fast break by Sliema on the right found Soler unmarked on the left, with the latter having little difficulty to hit home. Charlie Zammit got his name on the scoresheet at the end of the third session to make it 11-6 for Sliema.

The final session was a mere formality with Sliema notching another two goals and meritedly lifting the cup after the final whistle. This was Sliema’s third consecutive Winter League title.

In the previous match, Neptunes Emirates beat San Giljan Firectech to take the third place in the BOV Winter League. Although the game did not live up to its expectations, Neptunes always had an edge on their neighbours. The latter were missing captain Paul Fava and coach Karl Izzo due to suspension.

All eyes are now focused on the Summer League which starts in a couple of weeks, with all teams expecting the arrival of their foreigners and fine-tuning their tactics to win the coveted trophy.

Sliema 13 – Sirens 6
(6-1, 1-3, 4-2, 2-0)

Sliema: R. Coleiro, M. Spiteri Staines 1, N. Lubrano, P. Privitera, M. Meli 3, J. Soler 4, D. Paolella, J. Spiteri Staines 3, C. Debono, M. Cordina, B. Rath 2, M. Agius, D. Abela.

Sirens: J. Sammut, A. Attard, P. Micallef, P. Borg, A. Sammut, R. Mock, J. Borg, D. Cutajar, M. Grech, C. Zammit 1, L. Caruana, D. Zammit 1, C. Mercieca 4.

Neptunes 9 – San Ġiljan 7
(4-2, 2-0, 2-2, 1-3)

Neptunes: I. Bugeja, N. Lanzon 2, E. Aquilina 1, M. Stellini 3, G. Pace, K. Debattista 1, T. Agius, M. Lanzon, B. Buhagiar, S. Gravina 2, J. Gauci, D. Debattista, M. Pisani.

San Ġiljan: D. Camilleri, J.C. Cutajar 1, A. Galea, K. Galea, M. Borg Spiteri, K. Dowling 1, L. Grixti 1, A. Bianchi 2, K. Mock, C. Gialanze 2, A. Bugeja, M. Fenech, K. Schembri.

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