The annual (well, first annual) rugby off-season squash tournament included 13 players looking to win bragging rights for the next 12 months!
The players consisted of: Chris Borg, Anthony Harvey, Sylvain Tailleur, Sergio Schiavone, Nicky Vella, Dario Azzopardi, Clayton Cassar, Daniel Groves, Jonas Nahon, Matt Valenzia, Vince Stivala, and Steuart Barlow.
The early rounds saw games won by Anthony, Matt, Vince, Sergio, Sylvain and Dario. This eliminated the in-experienced players and the players left were top-draw squash competitors ie. they could hold a rally (just-about).
After 2 months of games at the National Pool Sports Complex, Msida, the 13 were whittled down to just two to compete in the final. Vince Stivala made his way to the final with most noticeable wins over Chris “Balls” Borg and “Super” Sylvain Tailleur. Matt Valenzia was to be the other finalist with wins over Dario “Alla” Azzopardi and Sergio “Squash” Schiavone.
The final took place on the 25th August 2014 at 18:00. At 33deg.C the heat was always going to be a challenge. The first game proved to both players that no easy game was going to be played that day with Vince taking the first game 11-8. The second game saw Matt strike back with some drop shots and serves that would have impressed the pros! The third game went to Matt but only to be hit straight back with a Stivala win to even the scores at 2-2. Much of the game hung on a knife edge and spectators including the Malta Squash Coach and young Malta Squash players were gripped to the court like a blockbuster movie!
The games reached 4 a piece and went down to the final game due to time constraints. The previous games were so close that an hour of play had already taken place. It was the final deciding game, of the final! Unbelievably it looked as if Valenzia had broken as Stivala took a 5-0 lead and kept serve. A fault followed and Valenzia had a glimmer of hope. He fought back well to go ahead 7-6 and eventually 10-9 with the last point being won with a rally of over 12 shots!
Valenzia took the win and both players took in some water and air and congratulated eachother on a great game of squash!
The squash tournament was just one of a number of events that keep Swieqi Overseas RUFC a close-knit family over the summer months when there is no regular training or games. Social events such as the Exiles event and pre-season events including kayaking, circuit training and adventure training is what keeps a good, winning squad together, fit and ready for the next season!
Pictured above: Clayton Cassar (Club Captain & No. 8) Vs. Anthony Harvey (Tight Head Prop)