In 2018 the Hockey Association Malta celebrates its 50th Anniversary. A historic milestone for such a small Association. The Valletta Hockey Masters Tournament is being organised as part of the celebrations of this event but the plan is to make this a regular celebration of hockey built on fun, friendship and fraternity.
With an eye on tying up the league championship Hotsticks were in no mood to let up in today’s encounter against Rabat. By the 16th minute they had already taken a 3 – 0 lead through Jonathan Borg on 10 minutes – Silas Plaehn grabbing the second on 14 minutes and Shaun Grima slotting home a penalty stroke two minutes later. On 19 minutes Steve Portelli scored Hotsticks’ fourth taking full advantage of a penalty corner action, the score remaining unchanged until the change of ends.
Hotsticks continued to dominate proceedings in the second half and on 43 minutes Christian Sammut scored his team’s number five . On 52 minutes Ryan Dalli netted his side’s sixth goal. Julian Zahra then completed Hotsticks’ scoring spree netting the seventh and eighth goals within two minutes on the 65th minute mark. The final whistle blew, crowning The Lightshop Hotsticks champions, breaking Qormi’s ten-year strangle hold on the title.
Umpires: John Williams & Shawn Mifsud
A typical cup tie which was played at a frantic pace throughout with Hotsticks on top territorially for most of the game but being unable to breach Rabat’s rear guard. In fact all four goals were scored in the last fifteen minutes of the game. The first half provided few thrills until the 15th minute when Rabat’s Shawn Falzon cleared off the line to keep Rabat’s goal intact. Midfield play dominated proceedings for quite some time afterwards and it was not until the 32nd minute that Hotsticks were awarded only their second penalty corner and once again the ball was cleared over the bar off a defender’s stick. The half time whistle sounded with the score unopened.
The second half provided much of the same fare with Hotsticks’ attacks becoming more incessant while Rabat defended in depth. On 55 minutes Steve Portelli shot home off a penalty corner action to send Hotsticks 1–0 up. Two minutes later Jonathan Borg scored to double his teams’ lead after yet another penalty award. Hotsticks relaxed and on 65 minutes Shawn Grima netted after receiving a pass from Julian Zahra, who had run down the right flank, to increase Hotsticks’ lead to 3–0. A minute from time Zahra pushed home from close range to score Hotsticks’ fourth goal to secure his team a semi final berth.
Umpires: Edward Hughes & Glen Bonello
After securing the championship, in their previous encounter, Qormi extended their lead to five points when they beat Hotsticks 3–1. Both teams cautiously probed each other’s defences but midfield play prevailed early on in the encounter. Qormi did not avail themselves of three penalty corners by the 17th minute mark but, on being awarded their first penalty corner on 25 minutes, Hotsticks’ Lukas Plaehn shot home to send his team into a 1–0 lead. Four minutes later Thomas Degiovanni blasted home from the top of the D to level things up for Qormi, the score remaining unchanged until half time.
Qormi went ahead two minutes into the second half when they were awarded a penalty stroke and Juan Sarcia drove home from the spot to send them into a 2–1 lead. Hotsticks dominated the play and pressed Qormi in their half and on 48 minutes Ryan George just missed reducing the arrears for Hotsticks when his cross shot just missed entering the net by inches. Qormi were awarded another penalty stroke in the 54th minute and Sarcia once again hit home from the spot to send Qormi into a commanding 3-1 lead. From then on Hotsticks strove hard to reduce the deficit but Qormi fell back on defence content to administer their 3–1 advantage which they held to the end of the match.
Umpires: James Mizzi & Raymond Micallef
Hotsticks took the lead on 19 minutes when Silas Plaehn netted. After missing three penalty corner opportunities around the 22nd minute mark Hotsticks went further ahead just before half time when Steve Portelli shot home to send them into a 2–0 lead.
The second half was dominated by Hotsticks with Rabat’s defence keeping them at bay being well marshalled by Shawn Falzon until on 57 minutes Ryan Dalli netted Hotsticks’ third goal. Two minutes later Hotsticks were awarded a penalty stroke and Plaehn netted his second making no mistake from the spot sending his team 4–0 up. On 63 minutes Julian Zahra added a fifth and on the stroke of time, Zahra scored his second to give Hotsticks a 6–0 victory.
Umpires: James Mizzi & Raymond Micallef