Saints’ victory takes them just behind Neptunes

San Giljan Salini Resort 11 Sliema Betsson 5

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

The champions swept over another obstacle, in their quest to defend the league title won last season. They are now just a point behind the leaders, Neptunes, and their encounter, next Tuesday, grows in importance. Once more they had a comfortable victory over the Blues, as they won all four sessions of play, with the one after the interval being the decisive one, when San Giljan struck three times without any reply from Sliema. The same Sliema made it more difficult for themselves, as they squandered all of their five man ups, during the game. The Saints had a favourable tally, scoring four times from their seven man ups. Peter Borg was back in the champions’ side, after missing their last encounter. Sliema had changes in their line up. Jerome Gabarretta was missing, his place taken by Liam Galea. Kai Dowling returned, but Nicky Bugelli was missing, and Sliema also included Jamie Gambin, with no custodian cover, as Zach Sciberras was absent.

It was Sliema opening the scoring, through Alex Attard, with Paul fava replying for the Saints. Sliema were ahead once more, and for the last time, with a Matk meli special. The champions overturned thescore till the end of the session, with a penalty goal, by Boris Vapenski, and a strike by skipper, Matthew Zammit. In teh next period another Vapenski penalty increased San Gikljan’s advantage. San Giljan’s second goalie, Dean Camilleri, was then expelled from the bench, for protests. Sliema pulled a goal back, from John Brownrigg, but young Andreas Galea went in the water for the champions, and promptly scored from an angle, to give his side a 5-3 lead, at the interval.

After the break it was the Saints on the up and up, as they netted three times, by Aurelien Cousin, Vapenski, with a long range shot, and another from Galea. There was no reply from the Blues, as they fell behind, to the tune of 3-8, going into the last quarter. Ben Plumpton also found space to free himself from the opposing defence, to notch the Saints’ next goal. Sliema had a brief flurry, with teh champions laying back, and goals by Mark Fenech and Marco Cuk made the score more respectable, but San Giljan pressed again, and managed toe more strikes till the end of the match, with Peter Borg and Matthew Zammit goals, to set up their encounter with neptunes, in a few adys’ time.

S. Giljan: J. Sammut , P. Borg 1, A. Galea 2, B. Vapenski 3, Da. Zammit ,M. Zammit 2, K. Galea , C. Mercieca , B. Plumpton 1, A. Cousin 1, P. Fava 1, D. Zammit , D. Camilleri

Sliema: R. Coleiro , L. Galea , E. Aquilina , C. Cluett , M. Meli 1, J. Soler , M. Fenech 1, T. Sullivan , J. Brownrigg 1, A. Attard 1, M. Cuk 1, N. Bugelli , Z. Sciberras

Referees: P. Balzan, G. Fusco