Swieqi Overseas (30) Vs. Stompers (29)
In a game that swung from one end of the field to the other, Swieqi Overseas won the Mediterranean Bank Cup by the slimmest of margins at the expense of Stompers.
Overseas started the game at express speed with their big forwards Matt Stoker and Matty Jones crashing into the Stompers’ defensive wall, but with scant success.
Overseas were not protecting the tackle area and Maylor and Cerketa forced a turnover, McLister ran with the ball 30 metres into the Overseas’ half with Dudman finally pulling him down.
But the offload found Richard Gum who broke down the touchline to score Stompers’ first points
Gum converted his own try – 7-0.
Sarres for Overseas was gliding out wide, but was hit with a high tackle by Jeremy Debattista who was sinbinned.
Dudman kicked the penalty into the corner and from the lineout Harvey scored, breaking from the maul.
Overseas were putting a lot of pressure on Stompers as they tried to get over the gainline, their rush defence shutting down the red team’s options.
A Stompers’ passing move broke down around the half way mark, with the ball going to ground, Sarres swooped and kicked it through, it bounced into his hands and went over to score in a tackle.
Dudman then scored from a penalty to put Overseas 13-7 ahead.
Isaac Bezzina was winning good balls for Stompers in the lineout allowing his backs some front foot ball with Betts beginning to run into the line from fullback.
But it was a head high tackle by McLister putting him in the sin bin, that made his team step up and go on the attack, putting Betts in near the corner when Gum saw the mismatch of Overseas forwards against the speed and flair of the Stompers backline – 13-12.
Overseas lifted their game and attacked with Dudman running a straight line bumping off tacklers to score, converting the try himself to hand a 20-12 half-time lead.
The second half opened with Stompers putting together a number of phases, with Cerketa, Gatt and Hili on the charge, giving their backs room to move and Betts in the line again scored out wide an unconverted try.
From a penalty awarded to Stompers a quick tap and go put Cerketa in for a try and give Stompers a 22-17 lead.
Overseas were looking tired and Hepburn blasted a kick 70 metres into touch, forcing them to trudge back near their own line.
From the lineout McLister broke and offloaded to Pace-Moore who ran a good line and scored a try converted by Gum 29-20.
Dudman kicked a penalty kick 50 metres downfield into the corner and from the lineout, a catch and drive had Harvey scoring near the corner his second try, 29-25, to set up a tense finale.
But Overseas had the final say as Stompers failed to deal with their opponents pressure as from a line-out the ball bounced away from the jumpers and into the hands of Cocoran who ran straight through for the winning try.
Man of the match: Luke Galea (Overseas); Richard Gum (Stompers).
Match Highlights & Media
Match Report: Bryan L. Corlett
Photographer: Zara Ameen