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San Ġiljan, Neptunes, Sliema off to winning start in Summer League

San Ġiljan skipper Matthew Zammit looks for an opening against Barracudas. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

The 2024 Summer League got under way this week and the three title favourites San Ġiljan, Neptunes and Sliema recorded comfortable victories.

San Ġiljan broke little sweat to brush aside the challenge of Barracudas 29-11.

As the scoreline clearly shows, the match turned out to be a no-contest with the defending champions assured of the win by the end of the first quarter when storming into a commanding 8-2 lead.

From then on, they kept scoring at regular intervals with Barracudas having the only satisfaction of reaching double figures in terms of goals scored.

Ben Plumpton and Jeremy Abela were the team’s leading scorers with six goals apiece.

Neptunes were equally in command when they cruised past Otters 19-9.

The Balluta Bay team stormed out of the blocks and were assured of the win by the halfway stage when taking a 10-4 lead.

Stevie Camilleri led Neptunes’ scorers list with five goals with Sam Gialanze, Jake Muscat and Alec Fenech grabbing a hat-trick.

Solid Sliema ease past Sirens

Sliema were off to a solid start in the first round of the preliminary round with a breezing victory over Sirens.

However, the gap in class between the teams was only evident after the change of ends with the Blues taking a five-goal lead in the third session.

Once Sliema broke loose in that third session, the frequency of their conversions waned.

The opening quarter ended 3-2 in the Sliema’s favour.

The Northerners nosed ahead early in the first quarter through Daniil Merkulov, only to see Sliema open a 3-1advantage. Sirens levelled matters with two quick goals either side of the end of the first session.

But two successive goals by new recruits Andreas Galea and Dimitrios Dimou, who joined the Blues after clinching bronze with Olympiakos at the LEN Champions League Final Four competition. This gave Sliema a two-goal lead for the second time in the game.

Sirens fought back to neutralise their opponents advantage with two goals from Merkulov and Jerome Zerafa Gregory in the dying seconds.

In the third session, Sliema added five more goals without reply. Two of these conversions were five-metre throws netted by Dimou. Matias Ortoleva reduced the leeway but Dimou kept banging in the goals.

Finally, Sliema found some rhythm with Jayden Cutajar and Dino Zammit orchestrating play on the outside positions.

By then, Sirens realised that their priority in the last session could only be that of damage control as Isaiah Riolo and Merkulov reduced the arrears.

Marsaxlokk steal early march on Exiles

Marsaxlokk upstaged Exiles in the second session when they netted no fewer than five times without reply to increase the lead, thus sealing victory.

This was a super performance by Marsaxlokk with Exiles into total submission as the two teams locked horns in what was anticipated to be a keen duel in the first round of the preliminary round.

After conceding an early goal, Marsaxlokk found some rhythm with Ryan Galea orchestrating play on the outside position. They took a 4-2 lead in the opening session before the Southseasiders went on a goal-spree in the second session.

In fact, a disastrous performance in the first two sessions threw Niki Lanzon’s men into disarray as they tried to regain the lost ground.

But to no avail in the last two sessions, which condemned Exiles to a defeat in the first match of the Summer league.

Ivan Nagaev show downs Ta’ Xbiex

In the first match, Ivan Nagaev masterminded Valletta’s victory over Ta’ Xbiex with a seven-goal haul.

Ta’ Xbiex collapsed after keeping abreast with their opponents in the opening session which ended in a 2-2 draw.

The Nagaev show was minimally aided by Max Zammit and Matthew Mifsud.




(2-2, 5-2, 3-3, 6-3)

VALLETTA: B. Busuttil, M. Mifsud 3, J. Sciberras 2, S. Busuttil, K. Borg, M. Zammit 3,  I. Nagaev 7, S. Micallef 1, A. Agius, K. Cremona, A. Bugeja.

TA XBIEX: J. Micallef, J. Farrugia 2 V. Figliomeni, A. Camenzuli 1, F. Scardino, M. Jelaca 3,  J. Saliba, G. Gatt, M. Soler 1, J. Culic 2,  Z. Bartolo, P. Tabone, A. Theuma, T. Fenech 1

Refs: S. Licari, V. Volpini.



(2-4, 0-5, 5-5, 6-4)

EXILES: Z. Zozavovic, Z. Cutajar 1, Z. Micallef, D. Pace Lupi, M. Martelacci, S. Cutajar 1, D. Gogov 10, K. Griscti 1, N. Paris, N. Bonavia, M. Fenech, N. Saliba, G. Galea Curmi.

MARSAXLOKK: M. Farrugia, M. Lanzon 1, A. Cook, B. Zammit, T. Aguis 1, J. Valletta 2, R. Spiteri 1,  J. Pawley, R. Galea 4, J. Borg Tabone 1, D. Vasic 6, R. Attard 2, A. Fava

Refs R. Magri, A. Naccari, V. Volpini.



(3-2, 2-3, 7-2, 4-3)

SLIEMA: N. Grixti, Z. Mizzi 1, L. Galea 1, J. Gambin, E. Schembri 1, B. Cachia, J. Cutajar 3, D. Rizzo, J. Brownrigg, A. Galea 2, T. Dimou 4, D. Zammit 2, M. Castillo, J. Cassar 2.

SIRENS: M. Bonello Depius, P. Serracino, K. Erdogan, P. Borg, J. Cachia, K. Agius, D. Merkulov 4, I. Riolo 2, J. Zerafa Gregory 1, G. Farrugia, M. Sciberras, M. Azzopardi 1, J. Parnis, M. Ortoleva 1.

Refs: R. Spiteri, V. Volpini.



(3-4, 4-3, 3-4, 1-6)

MARSASKALA: A. Muscat, D. Ciantar, E. Manzi 6, J. Pace Mizzi 1, M. Agius, R. Greco, K. Navarro 2, M. Farrugia 1, K. Grech, J. Colombo, J. Ciantar 1, M. Carani, L. Gatt, L. Brownrigg.

BIRŻEBBUĠA: M. Sladden, M. Aquilina, N. Cassar 1, B. Grech, S. Bezzina, M. Manara, A. Barroso 11, M. Cassar, D. Farrugia, M. Cutajar 2, G. Mannino, M. Curmi 2.

Referees: Alex De Raffaele, Alessandro Naccari.


NEPTUNES          19

(0-5, 4-5, 3-4, 2-5)

OTTERS: M. Xerri, M. Bonnici, K. Scicluna, T. Milne, M. Meli, D. Dimec, I. Azzopardi, S. Dimech, L. Dimech 1, P. Smiljevic 7, M. Farrugia, A. Dimech 1, M. Grech, K. Micallef.

NEPTUNES: A. Borg Cole, D. Kholod 1, S. Gialanze 3, G. Pace 1, J. Camilleri, L. Mallia S. Camilleri 5, M. Castillo 1, J. Muscat 3, J. Bajada 1, A. Fenech 3, E. Mallia 1, M. Rossi, D. Bugeja.

Referee: Peter Balzan, Alessandro Naccari.

SAN ĠILJAN        29


(8-2, 7-3, 8-4, 6-2)

SAN ĠILJAN: J. Tanti, N. Bugelli 3, G. Bonavia 1, B. Plumpton 6, R. Caruana 2, M. Zammit 3, J. Bonavia 2, D. Tully 2, J. Abela 6, N. Zammit 2, J. Zammit, N. Schiavone, G. Borg, S. Van Wyk.

BARRACUDAS: C. Borg, C. Bugeja, N. Farrugia, D. Micallef 1, W. Ruggier 1, R. Sciortino 1, K. Mock, J. Schembri Young, S. Apap, M. Guidi 4, L. Pursehouse 1, C.J. Saliba, L. Bowman, T. Camilleri 1.

Referees: Neville Mercieca, Valerio Volpini.

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