My rugby team, Stompers, also won the Malta Rugby Union Cup. The Cup is a separate competition that runs parallel with the league. It is a round robbin comp where you play each team just once. The top 2 teams then play off for the Cup. This year we faced off against Overseas.
Here is the write up in the local papers:
Stompers claimed the MRFU Cup after beating Overseas 22-13 in the final on Saturday.
Overseas started with a hiss and a roar, immediately putting Stompers under pressure and within 29 seconds of the game, scored their first try, out wide by Vince Stivala after Overseas picked up a wayward pass and ran it in. The conversion was waved away and Overseas lead by five points to nil.
From the kickoff, Stompers ran it through their backline and went close to scoring, with some surging runs by both backs and forwards. Overseas were making the tackles to keep them out, but finally Overseas were penalised for the tackler not rolling away and Attard stepped up and drilled it; Overseas 5 Stompers 3.
It was around this time, just 9 minutes into the game, when under pressure from Stompers, Stuart Holliday tried to run the ball out of trouble, on his own goal line, when he was caught in a tackle and down he went, with an injury to his leg.
Once play started again Stompers kicked long and as Overseas tried to run it out from their line, a poor pass was intercepted by Chris Morton, who then ran it in under the posts, with Malcolm Attard slotting the conversion it was Stompers 10 Overseas 5.
Play see-sawed up and down the field, with neither side being able to finish off promising moves, as the defense shut them down. The half ended with the score unchanged.
In the second half, Overseas lost their Australian fullback Justin Barlogio, due to an injury. Overseas kicked a penalty just a few minutes into the half, to give their supporters some hope again, which took the score to: Stompers 10 Overseas 8.
It was very much a defensive game, as both Stompers and Overseas piled into each other with the big hits, not allowing any continuity in the play. A number of dropped passes did not help the cause and led to a stop start affair.
Steve Busuttil had the game under control, but was trying to let things flow. Overseas were winning the territorial battle, but just could not finish off any of their promising moves.
Diamantino went off with an injury, after establishing control in the line-outs, which then allowed Overseas, to gain at least parity for the lineout ball. Overseas back three were scavenging for the ball well and were trying to get big Clayton Cassar to clatter his way through the 10 channel, but every time, he was scythed down, by Patrick Satariano.
Satariano was trying to get his backline functioning, but on a number of occasions, he was caught by Stivala coming through, putting him under pressure. The Overseas Captain Josh Howland was yellow carded for slowing down the tackled ball, with hands in the ruck.
It was the last 15 minutes and Overseas, who had been battling all day to stay in the game, started to look tired, that midweek game against Kavallieri was beginning to take its toll.
It was allowing Stompers that extra yard to move in, so they began to work it around in the backline, a sweeping move upfield with Mario Fountain in the line to create the overlap and to run his winger, Tom Diacono, into the corner for the try.
A swirling kick from Attard, from the touchline, just snuck over the bar and it was Stompers 17 Overseas 8.
With the extra lineout ball that Overseas were getting, they spun the ball through their backline and laid siege to the Stomper’s line, winning a series of rucks, sucking in the defence, then going wide for O’Reilly to go over, 10 metres in from the corner. Stivala’s kick bounced back off the uprights. Stompers 17 Overseas 13
The Stomper’s backline was finding space out wide and again, they ran it at the tiring Overseas defence, outflanking them, their winger heading for the corner, then giving an inside pass back to Attard who was backing up the move for him to score wide out.