Exiles 4 – Neptunes 18
(1-3, 1-6, 1-4, 1-5)
In the opening top division clash of this year’s winter league, champions Neptunes Emirates had a very casual ride against Exiles when winning 18-4 in emphatic fashion. Indeed, this first outing of the year was very impressive.
Our lads were much stronger than their opponents from across St. Julian’s Bay. Led by ‘old boy’ Dorian Pisani from the bench and the thoroughbreds in the water, we dictated play, throughout, with captain Niki Lanzon netting a double hat-trick, followed by Michele Stellini’s four. Jordan Camilleri and Clint Mercieca, mostly deployed in deep positions also gave a good account of themselves, as did custodian Alan Borg Cole.
What was encouraging was the debut of Andrew Zarb Cousin who marked his presence for his new club with a hat-trick.
A well-deployed rearguard and quick thrusts forward helped the team to a 3-1 first session lead which was stretched to 9-2 by the end of the second.
In the last two quarters the pattern remained unaltered despite Pisani’s introduction of several tailenders, including the confident goalkeeper Brendan Muscat.
The youngsters, at certain moments doing duty simultaneously, all played with poise and assurance of veterans. Of note was Miguel Zammit’s strike from a penalty in the dying seconds of the match.
Exiles had been completed submerged under an avalanche of goals and unable to react due to our high-tempo game.
Exiles: I. Bugeja, J. Rizzo Naudi, S Vassallo, D. Pace Lupi 2, P. Paris, J. Spiteri Staines, K. Grixti 1, M. Paris, P. Borg 1, B. Lanzon, L. Borg, K. Lanzon, S. Galea Pace, L. Peric
Neptunes: A. Borg Cole, N. Lanzon 6, L. Calleja, M. Stellini 4, T. Agius 1, M. Lanzon, K. Navarro, J. Camilleri 2, A. Zarb Cousin 3, S. Xerri De Caro, K. Debattista, G. Mizzi, C. Mercieca 1, B. Muscat, M. Zammit 1
Referees: Mario Dalli, Ronnie Spiteri