Hotsticks applied early pressure but were unable to break down the White Hart defence in spite of winning three penalty corner awards in the first 14 minutes. However on 17 minutes Jonathan Borg shot home from the top of the D after a penalty corner award had been initially cleared. A period of balanced play followed with White Hart striving to break through down their left flank and they equalized on the stroke of half time through a Glen Bonello effort.
Using their customary possession tactics, Hotsticks dominated the second half but did not avail themselves of three penalty corner awards but went ahead on 47 minutes when Shawn Grima fired them into a 2 -1 lead. On 54 minutes Alessandro Amore netted to send his team 3 – 1 up and Borg grabbed his second goal to net Hotsticks fourth on the stroke of time.
Umpires: Edward Hughes and Nathan Galea
Starting Line-up: Ramon Chircop, Jamie Sciberras, Rebecca Mifsud, Paul Torpiano, Luke Brincat, David Agius, Michael Bugeja, Andrew Beane, Charlo Sammut, Glen Bonello and Andrew Monaghan.
White Hart went ahead on 10 minutes when Charlo Sammut netted as a result of a penalty corner action. From then on both teams gave their all, producing end to end entertaining fare and coming close to scoring on more than one occasion. On 27 minutes Rabat were awarded a penalty corner and Shawn Falzon scored to equalize. A minute before half time, Falzon grabbed his second goal to send Rabat into a 2 -1 lead.
Two minutes into the second half Glen Bonello shot home to level for White Hart. Both teams strove hard to break the impasse by using the flanks yet missed chances along the way. The game came to and end with no clear victor emerging and the spoils being shared.
Umpires: John Williams and Nathan Galea
Starting Line-up: Ramon Chircop, Jamie Sciberras, Daniel Micallef, Rebecca Mifsud, Luke Brincat, David Agius, Andrew Beane, Michael Bugeja, Charlo Sammut, Glen Bonello and Andrew Monaghan.
Substitutes: Robert Vassallo Agius, Peter Flynn, Abbas Husain.
Qormi scored two goals in as many minutes very early in the match and this conditioned the outcome as White Hart faced an uphill task from then onwards. On 8 minutes Thomas Degiovanni shot Qormi into a 1 -0 lead with a crisp shot from the top of the D and within two minutes Ayrton Falzon doubled their lead hitting home from the far left side of the D. Qormi kept up the pressure on White Hart’s defence but did not avail themselves of another four penalty corner opportunities up to half time.
The second half continued in the same vein but White Hart came out of their defensive shell more often counterattacking on the occasions they won the ball back in their defensive positions. Qormi kept on missing penalty corner opportunities also due to some excellent goalkeeping by White Hart’s custodian, Robert Vassallo Agius who definitely contributed to defying Qormi in increasing their score. On 53 minutes White Hart were awarded a penalty corner and from the resultant action David Agius prodded home from close range to reduce the arrears. This boosted White Hart’s expectations, and as the clock ran down both teams tried hard to increase their tally but the final whistle blew leaving Qormi 2 -1 winners.
This game was played at a fast pace right through with both teams throwing down the gauntlet from the word go. On 10 minutes Matthew Buhagiar pushed home from close range as a result of a penalty corner action to send Rabat one up. White Hart struck back immediately and on 12 minutes Charlo Sammut scored with a shot high into the corner of the net for the score to read 1 – 1. The rest of the half was played at fast and furious pace but the score remained unchanged at half time.
The second half saw Rabat dominate proceedings, not availing themselves of several penalty corner awards, even hitting a post on one occasion. They continued to exert pressure on the White Hart rear guard and just when it seemed that the game would end in a draw, Paul Torpiano popped up a minute from time to push in a rebound and send White Hart into a 2 – 1 lead which they held until the final whistle.
Umpires: Manuel Imbroll and Steven Cachia
Starting Line-up: Ramon Chircop, Jamie Sciberras, Daniel Micallef, Rebecca Mifsud, Paul Torpiano, Luke Brincat, David Agius, Michael Bugeja, Charlo Sammut, Glen Bonello and Andrew Monaghan.
Substitutes: Robert Vassallo Agius, Peter Flynn, Carl Tua and Andrew Beane.
Young Stars started the game at a gallop and forced three penalty corners in the first five minutes, only being denied the lead by some brilliant goalkeeping courtesy of Ramon Chircop, the White Hart custodian.
The game was played at a cracking pace with end to end stuff the order of the day and on 20 minutes Luke Brincat shot low into the net to send White Hart into a 1 – 0 lead which they held until half time.
The second half provided a different script altogether. Young Stars were awarded a penalty stroke 38 minutes but Edward Hughes saw his shot from the spot well saved by Chircop. A minute later they were awarded another penalty stroke and this time Mark Camilleri made no mistake to score Young Stars’ equalizer. Young Stars then proceeded to dominate the latter stages of the game using the left flank to inflict damage on the White Hart rear guard. On 44 minutes Camilleri provided a pinpoint cross for Luke Borg Costanzi to affect a simple tap in from close range sending Young stars into a 2 -1 lead. On 54 minutes Borg Costanzi grabbed his second goal netting a rebound of his own shot to send his team 3 – 1 up. On 61 minutes Ryan Seychell hit home from the right side of the D and a minute later he scored his second and Young Stars’ fifth hooking high into the net from close range. White Hart continued to plug away and a minute from time Charlo Sammut netted to reduce the arrears leaving Young Stars 5 – 2 winners.
Umpires: Andre Ghio and John Williams
Starting Line-up: Ramon Chircop, Jamie Sciberras, Daniel Micallef, Rebecca Mifsud, Paul Torpiano, Luke Brincat, Andrew Beane, Michael Bugeja, Charlo Sammut, Glen Bonello and Andrew Monaghan.
Substitutes: Robert Vassallo Agius, Abbas Husain, Shawn Mifsud and Carl Tua.
White Hart started this encounter playing open hockey forcing two penalty corners in the opening minutes with David Agius going close with a shot which shaved the far post. Young Stars hit back with a penalty corner of their own on 14 minutes when Martijn Post hit an unstoppable shot low into the far corner of the net to send his team into a 1 – 0 lead. On 18 minutes Jamie Mifsud fluffed an opportunity to increase his team’s lead, this preceding a period of the game which flowed from end to end. Young Stars did not avail themselves of four penalty corner awards in succession on 30 minutes, mainly due to excellent goalkeeping of Ramon Chircop, White Hart’s custodian who definitely kept them at bay with one particular full length diving save which kept his goal intact. The half time whistle blew with Young Stars maintaining their 1 – 0 lead.
The second half continued in the same vein. Young Stars and White Hart both exchanged penalty corner awards with the latter exerting additional pressure in the middle of the half in search of an equaliser. On 56 minutes Young Stars extended their lead to 2 – 0 when Mark Camilleri picked his spot shooting low into the left corner of the net as a result of a penalty corner action. He came close to increasing his tally on 53 minutes but the final whistle sounded with Young Stars holding on to their two goal advantage securing third place in the Challenge Cup competition.
Umpires: Paul Brincat and Manuel Imbroll
Starting Line-up: Ramon Chircop, Jamie Sciberras, Rebecca Mifsud, David Agius, Paul Torpiano, Luke Brincat, Michael Bugeja, Charlo Sammut, Glen Bonello, Andrew Monaghan and Shawn Mifsud.
Substitutes: Robert Vassallo Agius, Peter Flynn, Carl Tua.
Qormi dominated this encounter territorially but White Hart gave them a run for their money and were only beaten by two late strikes at the end of the game. Nevertheless Qormi squandered nineteen penalty corner awards and were denied by top class goalkeeping of the White Hart custodian Ramon Chircop. In fact White Hart’s defence was well marshaled by David Agius and on 20 minutes they even created a scoring opportunity of their own. On 32 minutes Keith Calleja shot a bullet from the right side of the D which was initially parried by Chircop but squeezed in over the line to put Qormi 1 – 0 ahead, a lead they held until half time.
Qormi continued to exert pressure down the right flank with the Degiovanni brothers prominent. Tired legs and frayed nerves came to the fore and as the clock ran down gaps started to open on both sides. White Hart threw caution to the wind to try to grab an equaliser and this proved their downfall in the end as on 61 minutes Kurt Grixti grabbed Qormi’s second with his shot from the centre of the D and two minutes before the final whistle Kyle Micallef netted Qormi’s third to seal their place in the final .
Umpires: James Mizzi and Nathan Galea
Starting Line-up: Ramon Chircop, Jamie Sciberras, Daniel Micallef, David Agius, Andrew Beane, Luke Brincat, Michael Bugeja, Charlo Sammut, Glen Bonello, Andrew Monaghan and Shawn Mifsud.
Substitutes: Robert Vassallo Agius, Peter Flynn, Carl Tua, Rebecca Mifsud.
Sliema Hotsticks stamped their authority on this match through their customary tactic of retaining possession to apply pressure on their opponents’ defence. After not availing themselves of a penalty corner action on ten minutes and Ramon Chircop, White Hart’s custodian denying them by some smart goalkeeping, Hotsticks went ahead on 14 minutes when Jonathan Borg shot home from the top of the D. Hotsticks missed taking advantage of five penalty corner awards between the 17th and 32ndminute but on 33 minutes Silas Plaehn netted a beauty when he lifted a reverse hit high into the net from the top left side of the D. The half time whistle blew with Hotsticks leading 2 – 0.
In the second half Hotsticks did not relent and retained their hold on the encounter while White Hart shed their defensive shackles and became more adventurous going forward , though they were found wanting when opportunities presented themselves inside their opponents’ D. On 45 minutes Chircop kept his side in the game when he affected a blinding save diving full length to push a ball past the post. With just four minutes to go, Borg grabbed his second goal, a rather soft one when from an acute angle on the right side of the D his shot squeezed over the line after Chircop had partially smothered it. Full time was reached soon after with Hotsticks emerging 3 – 0 winners.
Umpires: John Williams and Nathan Galea
Starting Line-up: Ramon Chircop, Jamie Sciberras, Daniel Micallef, David Agius, Rebecca Mifsud, Luke Brincat, Michael Bugeja, Charlo Sammut, Glen Bonello, Andrew Monaghan and Carl Tua.
Substitutes: Robert Vassallo Agius, Peter Flynn, Shawn Mifsud, Paul Torpiano.
The first match in the challenge cup was won by White Hart who got the better of Rabat in an interesting encounter. The game might have taken a different turn had Ramon Chircop not saved brilliantly in the 7th minute off a Rabat penalty corner action. The game ebbed and flowed from end to end without any goal scoring chances but on 32 minutes Glen Bonello shot White Hart into the lead which they held until the whistle blew for half time.
Three minutes into the second half White Hart forged further ahead when Shawn Mifsud shot them into a 2 – 0 lead off a Charlo Sammut assist. Rabat reacted but did not avail themselves of a penalty corner action around the 50 minute mark. A minute later Sammut shot low into the corner of the net as a result of a penalty corner action to send White Hart into a 3-0 lead. To their credit, on 66 minutes, Rabat did geta consolation goal through through a Shawn Falzon beauty, the game ending with White Hart emerging victors.
Starting Line-up: Ramon Chircop, Jamie Sciberras, Daniel Micallef, David Agius, Rebecca Mifsud, Luke Brincat, Michael Bugeja, Charlo Sammut (1), Glen Bonello (1), Andrew Monaghan and Carl Tua.
Substitutes: Robert Vassallo Agius, Peter Flynn, Shawn Mifsud (1), Dieter Grunewald, Mark Zahra.
Last Thursday White Hart played their first friendly of the season against Qormi. With the players still in pre season mode and fully focused on improving their fitness the Reds showed great character with each player having to play the whole game.
The Reds started the game well and were holding their own against last season’s runners-up. The game was mostly played in White Hart’s half however the Reds left few gaps at the back and there was very little goal mouth action.
The first attack created by the Reds produced the first goal of the game. A short corner was awarded and from the resulting set piece Charlo Sammut fired home. From that point on Qormi applied more pressure to force an equaliser creating a couple of attempts which failed to yield the desired results.
At the change of ends with legs getting tired on both sides the Reds’ defence was pressured inside its 25 yards. Qormi were winning a number of short corners but every opportunity went begging. In the final minutes of the game Qormi pulled the goalie and were playing with 11 outfield players. During this period, in the last short corner of the game, Qormi managed to equalise through a flick by DeGiovanni.
The remaining seconds of the game were end to end with both teams going for a winner. The game finished 1-1 with the Reds disappointed to have conceded so late but very pleased with the overall performance. Pre season training is in its final 2 weeks after which the Challenge Cup takes centre stage.
Squad: R. Chircop, D. Micallef, J. Sciberras, G. Bonello, D. Agius, A. Moneghan, C. Sammut, L. Brincat, P. Torpiano, C. Tua and Y. Dingli.