Neptunes Grimaldi and San Ġiljan Salini Resort had little difficulty in beating Valletta McDonald’s and Exiles Jet Freight yesterday to maintain the top two places in the Premier League, six and five points respectively ahead of Sliema, with the first phase completed.
The Reds made sure of collecting maximum spoils after a whirlwind start which earned them a 7-0 lead inside the opening 14 minutes. That buffer was enough for them to coast home 15-10 winners.
Valletta looked totally out of shape in those early stages and were unable to prevent danger man Cosmin Radu from rattling in four goals, with his fifth coming in the last quarter.
At least the City team fought back to trim the deficit to 12-9 at one point early in the last session before the Balluta team again pressed the accelerator.
Left-hander Michael Spiteri Stained stood out in his team’s partial comeback when scoring four goals, fully exploiting the space in the number one position.
As early as the second session Neptunes coach Zoran Maslovar started drafting in his tailenders leaving only a couple of established players in the water.
Miguel Zammit, the eighth player in Maslovar’s pecking order, was given starting duties, this time in lieu of the indisposed other youngster, Jeremy Abela.
Zammit responded with an admirable performance as he bagged a hat-trick.
A feature of the game was the duel between Dmitrii Kholod and Steve Camilleri, the provisional top scorer with 32 goals, who marked each other vigorously.
In the second match, San Ġiljan bagged the points at the expense of Exiles when winning 13-7.
The disparity between the sides was clear despite a close scoreline which drifted well into the third session when Exiles, without the suspended Sean Gravina, were only one goal adrift.
But then the defending champions pulled clear when hitting three goals to make it 10-6 and put the result beyond Exiles’ reach.
The losers went on to throw in the towel against a fresher side who made ample use of their units on the bench.
Left-handers Boris Vapenski, five goals, and Matthew Zammit, four, were their team’s chief scorers, with Milos Vukicevic for Exiles striking three times.
San Ġiljan 13
(3-4, 2-3, 1-3, 1-3)
Exiles: I. Bugeja, J. Rizzo Naudi, S. Vassallo, D. Pace Lupi, D. Borg Millo, E. Gravina, L. Felice, K. Griscti 2, N. Paris 1, A. Bianchi 1, G. Ciappara, M. Vukicevic 3, K. Lanzon.
San Ġiljan: J. Sammut, P. Borg 1, A. Galea 1, B. Vapenski 5, Darren Zammit, M. Zammit 4, K. Galea, C. Mercieca, B. Plumpton 1, A. Cousin 1, P. Fava, Dino Zammit, D. Camilleri.
Referees: Massimo Angileri, Andrea Baretta.
(0-4, 2-3, 4-4, 4-4)
Valletta: R. Sciortino, J. Spiteri Staines 1, A. Agius, M. Rizzo, D. Spiteri, R. Mock 1, D. Paolella 1, N. Bonello Ghio, M. Cordina 1, C. Zammit 1, D. Kholod 1, A. Zarb Cousin, M. Spiteri Staines 4.
Neptunes: A. Borg Cole, N. Lanzon, C. Radu 5, M. Cutajar, T. Agius 2, M. Lanzon, S. Camilleri 2, J. Camilleri 3, J. Abela, M. Zammit 3, B. Lanzon, M. Azzopardi, M. Castillo.
Referees: Peter Balzan, Giuseppe Ibba.
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