Exiles’ ladies lose Knock-Out Final

Exiles Jetfreight 6 Sliema 7

Partial scores (1-1) (3-3) (1-2) (1-1)

The Exiles Ladies Waterpolo team under the guidance of Coach Gordon Zammit, failed to retain the Knock-Out Trophy which they lifted a year ago when they were beaten by last season’s finalists Sliema in a nail-biting match played at the National Pool Sports Complex on Saturday the 27th August 2016.

The crowd on the stands witnessed a close match which saw both sets of teams trying to shake away from each other but at the end saw the Blues edging a spirited Exiles by the odd goal in thirteen. Tactically, Exiles had a good plan with the double marking of their opponents’ main spearheads Paolella and Spiteri who squeezed a goal a piece with the former adding another goal after converting a penalty. On their part, Exiles’ attacks saw Italian Agnese Rella score a hat-trick whilst Elena Borg (2 goals) and Kendra Navarro (1 goal) kept their team neck to neck with the neighbours. Michela Zammit’s definite expulsion in the final minutes of the last quarter deprived Exiles of their centre with Coach Zammit having to change tactics at a crucial time of the match. Abby Bonello was safe and showed confidence in the goal. Our ladiess have to be commended for their effort but the all must realize that waterpolo is a team sport and the plan by every coach is to place its best shooters in an opitimum position to finish off the attack. Individual initiatives tend to be counter productive and weaken the team’s prospects of winning points and lifting trophies.

Exiles had 7 players sent off, suffered two goals as well as a converted penalty and had a player red-carded with three minutes to the final horn. Sliema had 7 players sent in the cage and conceded three goals but managed to avoid four ‘man-down’ situations with the last two in the final sixty seconds of the match being crucial as Exiles tried desperately to get the equaliser to force added time. As always in the local sphere of waterpolo, the usual controversy was not missing as a referee’s blunder in the final seconds of the match deprived Exiles of a clear penalty when the ‘offending’ Sliema player failed to swim to the cage but swam back to defend – which meant a free shot for Exiles. It was not to be as the official reversed his decision for a ‘man-up’ 10 seconds to go and Sliema hung to their merited slender lead to emerge winners.

Congratulations to the whole Ladies team and hope that they make amends in the League campaign.



photo by Adrian Farrugia shows Exiles player Agnese Rella (Green cap) shooting whilst guarded by Sliema’s Sophie Abela (White cap)


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