Exiles share spoils with neighbours

Sliema 12 Exiles Elia Caterers 12

Partial scores: (4-1) (1-3) (4-3) (3-5)

Exiles won a precious point against Sliema when earlier tonight, both sides met in a high-scoring nail-biting contest which ended in a draw and may be considered as a fair result for Marco Cuk’s side.

It was a ‘deja vu’ in the first four minutes as Sliema piled four goals without a reply from a shocked Exiles side that matched their opponents’ number of shots but somehow missed the target with a solitary¬†goal coming two minutes from time. A strong reaction ensued in the second quarter to narrow the margin to a slender lead (4-5). The third session Sliema inched away (9-7) but in a dramatic final quarter Exiles caught up with their neighbours after two minutes (9-9) before Sliema pulled away for another two-goal margin (9-11) before equalizing (11-11) two minutes thirty five seconds to the final horn. With less than two minutes Sliema converted a ‘man-up’ situation to nose ahead (12-11). Into the final minute, Marco Cuk called a time-out and it paid him as Andrea Bianchi scored 35 seconds to go. It was Sliema’s turn to call a time-out but a well-focused Exiles defence made sure no damage was caused as Sliema fumbled the ball without attempting the final shot at the Exiles’ fort.

In a match, characterized by non-stop swimming, very few major fouls were recorded; Exiles had six players excluded but Sliema converted three of them Exies had just three man-ups, missing one of them.

Boban Nikic had a hard time in the ‘hole’ where he was tightly marked by two opponents. This enabled the rest of the team to shoot at goal and apart from the first session, this proved to be a determining factor in last night’s performance with nine players put their names on the scorers’ list.

The Exiles line-up included Matthew Castillo, Mark Fenech (2 goals), Andrea Bianchi (2 goals), Michele Stellini (2 goals), Timmy Sullivan (1 goal), Sean Xerri de Caro, Slobodan Nikic (1 goal), Kurt Griscti (1 goal), Nicky Paris (1 goal), Aurelien Cousin (1 goal), Benji Lanzon, Philip Paris (1 goal) and Gianni Ciappara who was not utilized.

The Waterpolo Premier stops to make way for the Knock-Out competition in which the top six teams will, between the 3rd and 7th July, determine the finalists for the Cup Final scheduled for the 11th September. Exiles and Valletta United were given Byes and await the clashes of Sliema against Neptunes and San Giljan versus Sirens respectively scheduled for Tuesday 3rd July. Exiles meet the winner of the first tie on Saturday 7th July at 19.45 hours.

Meanwhile the second round of the Premier League resumes on the 31st July, just after the European Waterpolo Championships being hosted in Barcelona with the Maltese National Team joining fifteen other nations. Exiles will be in action on Wednesday 1st August when they meet current leaders San Giljan.


photo by Adrian Farrugia shows Michele Stellini (blue cap) aiming at Sliema’s fort in the second part of tonight’s with defender David Fenech blocking.



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