What was the most important match of the season for the UM Wolves RFC lived up to the billing, as a tense game resulted in a minimal win which was enough to secure the club’s first ever league title on Saturday.

A Wolves kick-off was turned into a Wolves scrum on the Stompers 22 metre line.  Mari Clemensen moved forward with an angled run, and a neat offload found debutant Connie Toledo on the wing, who was brought down just short of the try line.  A knock-on, however, curtailed any further action.

A strong tackle by captain Raisa Farrugia kept Stompers mired on their try line, and they were forced to kick the ball away to relieve some pressure.  Tessabelle Sultana Evans picked the ball up 25 metres downfield, and played to Rasvita Sluckute – but her final pass out to Amber Dalli on the wing was deemed forward by the referee.

Stompers pushed their way upfield from the resulting scrum, but Farrugia’s defensive pressure resulted in a forced offload which was intercepted by Sultana Evans.  She broke through the Stompers line but was held in a last-ditch tackle 15 metres from the try line.

Stompers came away with the ball, and with two carries managed to create an overlap on the wing, with a 50-metre run resulting in a try, which went unconverted, leaving the score at 5-0 to Stompers.

An infringement on the kick-off gifted Wolves a scrum and an opportunity to put pressure back on and go in search of an equaliser.  The ball made it out to Toledo who could only be stopped with a high tackle, which was penalised.  The penalty was played quick, but Sluckute dropped the ball as it seemed like she was about to blow through a gap in the defensive line.

It was a scrappy game as a Stompers attack ended with another knock-on, with Wolves coming out of the scrum in ascendancy.  More good play, with the ball ending up on the wing, resulted in another penalty inside the Stompers 22.

Sultana Evans played quickly, offloaded to Emma Borg, who in turn got the ball out to Sluckute, who bashed her way over to score and put Wolves on level-terms.  No conversion meant that the score was 5-5 going into the break.

The kick-off for the second half was dropped, giving Stompers a scrum, but good pressure led to Stompers dropping the ball themselves.  It was pounced upon by Sultana Evans, who pushed forward 15 metres despite defenders hanging onto her.

Play however was scrappy, with the ball going nowhere in particular – until Sultana Evans got her hands on it again and passed out to Sluckute who was in acres of space on the wing.  She however knocked the ball on as she was tackled to ground.

Stompers were getting some phases together and winning metres, but the Wolves put on a dogged defensive with some great tackling to stop them making too much progress.  The pressure paid, and Wolves won a scrum just outside their 22 because of a knock-on.

Toledo made up ground in the first phase, before an offload to Sultana Evans led to some hands which allowed Sluckute to again make a strong break.  She offloaded to Clemensen from the floor, who made even more ground.

Amber Dalli was then stopped out wide after a few passes.  She offloaded to Sluckute, who took contact and offloaded back to Dalli, with the winger sprinting the last 15 metres to score and put Wolves in front.  No conversion meant the score now stood at 10-5 with only minutes to go.

Wolves put pressure on the kick-off, with Rebekah Bartolo now off the bench making a good tackle.  Stompers won a scrum, but Wolves were swarming defensively, and Sultana Evans pounced on a panicked offload to regain possession.

A knock-on however gave Stompers one last roll of the dice from a scrum on the halfway line.  Sluckute stopped the Stompers runner in her tracks with a textbook tackle, and two more tackles from Sultana Evans and Bartolo came before Dalli sprinted through to intercept a looping pass.

That proved to be the last play of the match: the referee’s whistle sounded at an infraction, and the full-time whistle followed.

The 10-5 win meant that UM Wolves RFC had opened up a gap of 6 points in the league standings with one weekend of matches to go, thereby mathematically securing the league title – the first ever piece of silverware in the club’s short history!

The women’s team will be in action on 13th April in what will be the final weekend of the season.

SQUAD: Raisa Farrugia (C), Tessabelle Sultana Evans, Rebekka Bartolo, Mari Clemensen, Raquel Pace, Rasvita Sluckute, Sairita Cassar, Amber Dalli, Annah Mallia, Emma Borg, Earlin Cheska Gayle Millado de Ocampo, Storm Ghirlando, Luana Dona Borg, Connie Toledo, Amy Munro

Wolves Admin

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