Stompers Dog it out in Cisk Lager league match

On a perfect day down at Marsa, a Stompers team ran out the winners over Overseas by 18 points to 5, in a game that never really fired as a spectacle.

Photo: Zara Ameen
Photo: Zara Ameen

By Bryan Corlett

The last time the two teams had met Stompers had won by 38 to 18. However, this was a new look Overseas team with a number of players back from injury, and much more was expected of them.

But it was Stompers who put the first points on the board, as they repeatedly attacked the Overseas line with quick recycled ball, stretching the Overseas defence from side to side, with McLister (10), Camilleri (12) and Gum (15) running onto the ball.

Stompers won a penalty and Richard Gum slotted the ball between the posts to put them ahead by 3 points to nil, with Overseas still trying to get their hands on the ball.

Overseas found their attacking game for about 10 minutes and worked their way close to the Stompers tryline for Matt Stoker (17) who had replaced the injured John Debono (1) to score to the left of the posts, but Christian Briffa (12) could not convert.

Referee Ramage was warning both teams for their indiscipline as the players were going off their feet in the tackle area, or were guilty of too many high tackles.

Something had to give and so it was, Jamie Murray (6) was yellow carded for a head high tackle on Gum (15) as he tried to scamper down the touchline. But Stompers couldn’t take advantage of the extra man and the score remained the same at the half time whistle at 5 to 3 for Overseas.

There was an expectation that in the second half the game would open up, as both teams tried to get their running game going. Matt Camilleri (12) was running strongly for Stompers, trying to work the ball towards Debattista (22) on the wing, Gum was his usual lively self at fullback.

Overseas were trying to get into the game, but another yellow card this time to Christian Briffa (12) slowed down their progress, along with some wayward passes and dropped balls.

Overseas seemed to be playing against the referee, as they continually back chatted him, to a point where he had to lay down the law with several penalties against them.

Even the players you expected to stand up and take the game by the scruff of the neck, such as Salles (8) and Corner (6) were uncharacteristically dropping the ball or missing tackles, although both did have some charging runs upfield.

Gum put Stompers ahead with his second penalty at 6 points to 5. But it was still anybody’s game.

Stoker for Overseas was yellow carded for a repeated infringement, and so Overseas had played 30 minutes with 14 players, they were just not playing with any passion and anything they tried fizzled out.

But credit must go to Stompers who stuck to their task and worked the ball to their winger Jeremy Debattista (22) who ran strongly to score a fine try for Gum to convert, to make it 13 to 5 for Stompers.

The last play of the game came as the Stompers forwards ran rampant, producing front foot ball for their backs, Camilleri had a dab at the line then lobbed a basketball pass over to Malcolm Attard (20) who ran it in to score, he missed converting his own try and that was when referee Sam Ramage blew for full time with a final score of Stompers 18 Overseas 5.

Men of the Match: Stompers: Matt Camilleri (12). Overseas: Chicco Ramirez (9)

Next Weekend the Malta Rugby Football Union Women host an International 7s Tournament with visiting teams from the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Sweden. It will be pretty to watch!