Malta v Cyprus ends in defeat for the Mighty Mouflons
Malta 27 - 10 Cyprus
Our Mighty Mouflons travelled to Malta; a game that was expected to be highly contested turned out to be just that. Several of our experienced players were unavailable for this game, however this presented an opportunity for our coach Andrew Binikos to give our youngsters the exposure to the international scene.
This was a game of particular significance for a player who has become a national legend - George 'Polemi' Agathocleous - winning his 50th international cap.
Bearing in mind that this international was Cyprus’ 53rd international. A record that will stand for a very long time and unlikely to ever be broken. To put things into perspective with reference to his playing career, Cyprus play an average of 4 internationals a year. George started at a very early age and is still going strong at the age of 40.
The game started with Malta applying the early pressure and having more possession of the ball, however it was Cyprus who having won a free kick, successfully converted to put the 3 points on the board. Malta then responded with a free kick conversion taking the points tally to 3 each.
Once again, the game was evenly contested until the 24th minute of the first half when Malta scored their first try, successfully converting to take the score to 10 points to 3. A further 2 tries were added before the half time whistle. Malta going into the break at 24 points to 3.
The second half however was a far different affair. It was Cyprus who came out the stronger and applying pressure. It was as if pride was at stake. The continuous early pressure eventually paid off when Dom Georgiou broke through to score Cyprus’ first and only try of the game, taking the score to Malta 24, Cyprus 10. Our Mighty Mouflons continued to apply pressure but failed to score at the last.
There were several close try line calls. One maul was considered to be off the ground and not awarded by the Austrian referee. This was a close contentious call that could have been the stimulus to change the result, sadly it was not given. The game became fractious with several players involved in a bust up, the Maltese sensing that their grip on the game was slipping. A ploy by the Maltese that went unpunished.
Despite the pressure that the Mouflons applied, no further points to close the gap were scored. Malta winning a free kick deep into the second half took the score to 27 - 10.
There were several positives that will be taken from this game, namely that Cyprus has a good bunch of young players now coming through, which is encouraging for the future.
Cyprus sits mid table in the league below leaders Croatia, who will go into the play offs for promotion into the Trophy division. Malta will finish second. Cyprus sit above Israel with the last game to be played on the 30th April away to Israel to determine 3rd place. Slovenia sit in 5th position with no points and whom will be relegated at the end of the season to the Conference South 2 division.
Written by Peter Antoniou - UK Exiles Director & Head of UK Marketing