by Alex Vella
Neptunes 10 – Sirens 6
(3-1, 2-1, 2-2, 3-2)
Neptunes claimed another scalp to their list of victims when they dismissed Sirens comprehensively (on Tuesday 17th April) to preserve their clean sheet after five matches, thus making sure of going into the play-offs as the top-placed team.
The northerners, who crushed Sliema 13-3 earlier in the competition, may have harboured hopes of pulling it off by rediscovering that scintillating form against the Blues.
But our boys are made of sterner stuff and such aspirations by Joe Caruana Dingli’s team were soon quashed as the Reds got off to a solid 2-0 start. Sirens responded to make it 2-1, but 4-1 and 5-2 advantages resulting from efficiency and the scoring knowhow of Ċoċċi Aquilina, Michele Stellini, Niki Lanzon and playmaker Clint Mercieca set the basis for our victory midway through the match.
Within just over two minutes in the third quarter Stellini and Jordan Camilleri scored for a 7-2 cushion, after which there was a slight wobble as we missed three consecutive man-up sets. Jurgen Borg’s hat-trick at this point helped Sirens respond with three goals on the trot. That clipped their leeway to 7-5 soon after last session got underway.
However, it was a momentary breather for our opponents. We pressed the accelerator and were again in the comfort zone as Sirens folded once more. Stellini and Lanzon reached their hat-tricks, with Camilleri scoring his second. That made it 10-5, with the St Paul’s Bay’s team’s very late goal making little difference to the outcome.
Meanwhile and as usual, Tony Camilleri had called on more fringe units to play their tiny part.
Rather than a spectacular outing for our team, there was composure and self-assurance behind this latest success.
Neptunes: I. Bugeja, N. Lanzon 3, E. Aquilina 1, M. Stellini 3, Z. Mizzi, G. Pace, J. Camilleri 2, K. Debattista, B. Lanzon, S. Gravina, T. Agius, C. Mercieca 1, R. Sciortino, L. Ellul.
Sirens: A. Grech, A. Attard 1, I. Spiteri, T. Kusztos, A. Sammut, J. Borg 3, D. Cutajar, A. Zarb Cousin, C. Zammit 1, C. Spiteri de Barro, D. Zammit 1, J. Sammut.
Referees: P. Balzan, S. Licari.