Although Sliema Betsson woke up to their responsibilities late in the game and only pulled clear in the final three minutes after leading only by one goal on 7-6, Exiles Jet Freight should be commended for a gallant performance which frustrated their more-quoted opponents at least on paper.
But the talking was done in the water as Dorian Pisani’s team kept pegging, forcing the Blues to become jittery until Edward Aquilina and Jerome Gabarretta struck two final goals to bring relief in the Sliema clan.
This was an encouraging display by Exiles whose discipline almost paid dividends.
On the other hand, Sliema’s showing was in contrast to their game against San Ġiljan when they played a blinder.
Their main undoing yesterday was their blunt shooting and an inferior four on eight scoring rate on numerical superiority as compared to that of their opponents who netted one more from as many occasions.
The Blues’ early lead on 3-1 into the second session was pegged back momentarily to 4-4 before they made it 6-4 at the halfway mark.
At 7-4 Exiles reduced the arrears to 7-6 before the final conversions put the Blues’ minds at rest.
In the lower division match, Marsaxlokk Fischer kept a clean slate when they beat Ta’ Xbiex Amigos 12-8.
New signing Sean Meli had a field day when striking no fewer than six times.
Although the losers battled hard to stay in the game and at one time in the third quarter reduced the deficit to 9-7, it was not long before the southerners again stepped up a gear to win by a four-goal margin.
(1-2, 3-4, 1-1, 1-2)
Exiles: I. Bugeja, J. Rizzo Naudi, S. Vassallo, D. Pace Lupi, D. Borg Millo, E. Gravina, S. Gravina 1, K. Grixti 2, N. Paris, A. Bianchi 1, L. Felice, M. Vukicevic, K. Lanzon 2.
Sliema: R. Coleiro, J. Gabarretta 2, E. Aquilina 2, C. Cluett, K. Dowling, J. Soler, M. Fenech, T. Sullivan 1, J. Brownrigg, A. Attard 2, M. Cuk 2, N. Bugelli, Z. Sciberras.
Referees: C. Balzan, M. Piano.
Ta’ Xbiex 8
(3-1, 3-1, 3-5, 3-1)
Marsaxlokk: D. Abela, C. Spiteri De Barro 1, L. Calleja, K. Galea 1, C. Gialanze 1, C. Bugeja, S. Meli 6. I. Basara 1, B. Buhagiar 1, R. Scerri 1, K. Navarro, G. Busuttil, A. Xuereb.
Ta’ Xbiex: J. Micallef, A. Maklari 3, A. Camenzuli, B. Grech 1, E. Meli 1, K. Mock, M. Mifsud 1, T. Schembri, G. Attard, D. Fenech, R. Attard 1, J. Zerafa Gregory 1, J. Tanti.
Referees: M. Dalli, R. D’Antoni.
Division One: 16.45 Marsascala Nutrition Empire vs Otters Nivea.
Premier: 18.00 Sirens Ritter Sport vs Valletta McDonald’s; 19.15 San Ġiljan Salini vs Neptunes Grimaldi.
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