Sliema Frank Salt 9 Neptunes Grimaldi 7
(2-2, 2-1, 3-1, 2-3)
After San Giljan’s overwhelming win over the Citizens, in the game before, Sliema needed just a drawn result to make sure of the league title, being on equal points with Neptunes. They went one better, and obtained their fifth straight victory, as they outwitted their adversaries, who gave a really quiet performance. Neptunes had Steve Camilleri to boost them, as usual, in their last encounter, against Sliema, which has now become an annual fixture, but he did not seem match fit. He had been nursing an injury for some time and was below par for his standards.
Sliema were a confident lot and though they conceded the first goal in the game, it was the only time that Neptunes were ahead as they spent the rest of the match chasing after their opponents. Sliema could also concede ten man-ups to their rivals, and not feel the burden, as Neptunes only converted three of them, whereas the new champions managed three goals in
four extra player occasions.
Sliema have now won this honour eight times, reaching Neptunes on the same figure, and this means that, at least for another season, Sliema will be the only team to make a clean sweep of all four honours in a season, still being the only side to achieve such an honour in 1998. It was really five honours, as they went on to win the Team of the Year Award, in the national sportwriters sports people choices.
Back to the last match of the winter league. After going in front, Neptunes saw Sliema overturning the score, but they managed to draw level till the end of the opening session. Sliema were ahead once more, with Neptunes dragging themselves back another time, only for Mark Meli to put Sliema ahead with a thunderbolt, as did John Brownrigg, in the first session, for them.
That had Sliema just ahead, at 4-3, till the interval.
Sliema consolidated their advantage after the break, with Neptunes' reply being a solitary goal to Sliema’s three. With Neptunes still wasteful on their man ups, Sliema could keep control, and when Neptunes got a goal back, Sliema always managed to regain their former advantage, and by the time Niki Lanzon squeezed home his team’s last goal, the time had all but wound down for Neptunes, and Sliema could could start to relish their first honour, a good omen for them in the summer matches to come.
After the match Sliema’s captain and his team mates, received their victory medals, and the winter league trophy, from the Hon. Parliamentary Secretary for Sport, Chris Agius, the BOV Chief Officer, Peter Perotti, and the ASA president, Joe Caruana Curran. Rivalries will resume in a fortnight’s time, when the summer season will start.
Sliema: R. Coleiro , J. Gabarretta 1, N. Lubrano 2, T. Sullivan , M. Meli 1, J. Soler , J. Borg 1, C. Cluett 1, J. Brownrigg 3, A. Attard , A. Agius , N. Bugelli , K. Schembri
Neptunes: A. Borg Cole , N. Lanzon 2, G. Mizzi , M. Stellini 1, T. Agius 1, M. Lanzon , S. Camilleri , J. Camilleri 1, A. Zarb Cousin 1, L. Gialanze , K. Debattista , S. Xerri de Caro , C. Mercieca 1, B. Gougall
Referees: M. Angileri, P. Balzan
Sliema Frank Salt 5 5 0 0 57 32 15
Neptunes Emirates 5 4 0 1 58 37 12
San Giljan Allcare 5 3 0 2 48 30 9
Valletta United 5 2 0 3 31 46 6
Sirens Ritter Sport 5 0 1 4 32 52 1
Exiles Ferretti 5 0 1 4 26 55 1