A hard fought win for Swieqi Overseas as they triumph over a battling Kavallieri. This game on Pitch 1 at Marsa, was the beginning of the second round of the Cisk Lager League.
In the first round Overseas had won by 36 points to 19, so the interest was to see which team had developed their team play to another level. Overseas were missing a few players due to injury and probably that resulted in problems of continuity and finishing, as they plied their trade.
Kavallieri used their strong forward pack to keep Overseas on the back foot, not allowing them to win clean ball for their speedy backline. The first half was a “to and fro” affair, as both teams worked their way towards the tryline, only to be driven back downfield due to wrong options being taken, dropped passes or turnovers. For the spectators it was all about waiting for the game to spark into life.
Kavallieri drew first blood with a penalty around the 30 minute mark from Joseph Cutajar(8) to put them into the lead 3 points to nil. Overseas finally got some phases going with their forwards Harvey(3) Debono(1) and Bordes(2) crashing it up. Quick ball reached Briffa(10) he arced a kick over the Kavallieri backline and the fast paced Mhaouch (14) scored in the corner. The conversion missed but Overseas were in the lead. 5 to 3.
Doublesin(9) once again playing a lively game, got a fortuitous bounce off the head of an Overseas player and ran 60 metres to score, only to look back and see that the Touch Judge, Amanda Cassar had signalled that he had stepped out, where it had all began.
The Overseas loose forwards Crawford(6) Corner(7) and Murray(8) were trying to get their team on the front foot, but at times it seemed unco-ordinated and opportunities were lost. Kavallieri had made great improvements in their forwards, contesting the lineouts, big shoves in the scrum, with Doublesin the scrumhalf telling his forwards what he wanted from them. Their backs were tackling well and were adventurous with the ball, getting the ball out to their speedsters Imbroll(14) Fajak(13) and Bartolo(11).
The second half had Overseas with a slight breeze at their backs and Briffa(10) put some kicks in behind the Kavallieri defence for his wingers to run on to. In one such move, a head high tackle brought a penalty try to Overseas and a yellow card to Brendan Dalton(23) with Overseas taking the lead 12 to 3 with the conversion.
With their tails up Overseas attacked again and 5 minutes later, quick ball from their forwards saw the ball move swiftly through the backline to Chris Borg(11) who scored out wide an unconverted try. Overseas 17, Kavallieri 3.
Just when it seemed Overseas would run away with it, a series of forward drives from Kavallieri with Nicholai Grech(4) Terence Galdes(3) and Brenton Bonello(5) prominent, provided the backline with fast ball and Dalton(23), who had just returned from his yellow card, scored out wide, making the score 17 to 8, with Kavallieri raising their game.
A penalty from 40 metres out by Darren Edmunds(15) who had just come on as a substitute, had them within striking distance, now needing a converted try to win it.
Murray(8) was yellow carded for Overseas and with the extra man in the forwards, Kavallieri powered their way over from a ruck with Joseph Cutajar(8) going the blindside to score in the corner. Edmunds(15) needed to kick the conversion to win it and got two attempts at it, as the Overseas players were shouting as he moved in to take the kick, which is not in the spirit of the game.
But he missed the second shot as well and that was when Referee Sam Ramage blew the whistle for full time, with the final Score 17 to 16 to Swieqi Overseas. A well contested game.
Man of the Match
Swieqi Overseas RUFC: George Corner(7)
Kavallieri RFC: Joseph Cutajar(8)
Match Report by Bryan L. Corlett