The Malta Independent 21 April 2019, Sunday

Updated: San Giljan celebrate ninth waterpolo league victory, fourth double

Saturday, 29 August 2015, 19:10 Last update: about 5 years ago

San Giljan ASC celebrated their ninth waterpolo league championship win, with the last match today against Neptunes just a formality given that they enjoy a five-point lead over the Reds. Neptunes won 11-8 but San Giljan still won the league.

Neptunes' defeat at the hands of Sliema last Wednesday effectively meant that San Giljan were assured of their overall victory with a match to spare. It has been 20 years since San Giljan won their last league.  

That year, in 1995, they became the first Maltese club to win the treble crown, having also won the Knock-out competition and the Winter League. In that season, San Giljan had remained unbeaten for 32 games, a record that has not been matched. 

The only other club to win the three competitions in the same season is Sliema, who managed the feat three times in 1996, 1998 and 2009.

San Giljan's league championship victory this year has been coupled with the victory in the Knock-out competition, with the Saints beating Neptunes 13-12 last Saturday in the final. 

It is the fourth time that San Giljan won the double - the first time was in 1952, which was followed up in 1963 (at the time the club was called Balluta), apart from the 1995 triumph which has already been mentioned.
San Giljan have won the league in 1952, 1958, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1992, 1994, 1995 and 2015. 

The added value of the league festivities for the Giljanizi is that this weekend they are also celebrating the feast of their patron saint, St Julian, which always falls on the last week of August.

The club has organised special transport for supporters wanting to go to the Tal-Qroqq pool on open-top buses, and after the presentation of the cup, the celebrations will continue this evening and tomorrow morning at the San
Giljan premises.


Neptunes Grimaldi     11     San Giljan Crystal Finance     8

(1-1, 6-1, 3-3, 1-3)

San Giljan had already claimed the league's top prize, courtesy of Sliema's win over Neptunes last Wednesday. They were stopped in their tracks by a determined Neptunes outfit, out to end a disappointing season with a victory. The Saints would have liked to end their season on a high, but the defeat by their near neighbours did not dampen their spirits at the end, although they were a bit tongue tied, especially in the second session, when the outgoing champions rocked the Saints with a double hat trick of goals.

All in all there was a quiet start to the game, with Neptunes improving steadily in the second period. The two sides them shared the spoils after the interval, with San Giljan making a determined effort in the last quarter, to make up a hefty deficit, but they only succeeded in part, with Neptunes emerging winners to go within two points of their opponents in the final league table, but still unable to overtake the Saints.

Neptunes opened the scoring, with San Giljan drawing level, in a goal shy opening session. Neptunes took a firm hold on the match, as they made good use of their man ups, scoring three times in a four-goal burst. The Saints were shocked, and only managed to pull a goal back, before Neptunes netted twice more, to obtain a heavy 7-2 advantage midway through the encounter.

After the break Steve Camilleri scored a further two goals for Neptunes, but in between the Saints also managed a brace of strikes. Both sides were then guilty of missing their man ups. San Giljan went a little bit nearer, but Camilleri again restored Neptunes' five goal advantage, on a 10-5 score, going into the last session. Here the new champions wanted to give their numerous supporters something to really shout about, and Boris Vapenski came to the fore, as he slid in three goals in a row.

That brought the Saints just two goals in arrears, but it was an ex to seal Neptunes' victory, as Peter Biros scored his second goal of the match, against his former team. leaving San Giljan trailing by three goals in the last stages of the match.

Steve Camilleri netted a poker of goals for Neptunes, and Boris Vapenski went one better, getting five strikes for the new champions.

After the match came the league presentation, amidst delirious celebrations for the long awaiting San Giljan supporters and players, going back to two decades, 1995, when the Saints last won the league title, and now making it nine times champions.

The BOV Chief Officer, Anthony Scicluna, with the ASA president, Joe Caruana Curran, presented the winning medals to the Saints' clan, and the BOV league trophy to the San Giljan skipper, Matthew Zammit, as his side celebrated a league and Cup double in a matter of days.

Neptunes: A. Borg Cole, N. Lanzon 1, M. Castillo , M. Stellini , T. Agius 1, I. Krapic 2,  S. Camilleri 4, J. Camilleri , J. Abela , P. Biros 2,B. Lanzon , S. Xerri de Caro , C. Mercieca 1

San Giljan: J. Sammut, P. Borg 1, A. Galea , B. Vapenski 5, G. Molina ,  M. Zammit 1, K. Galea , Da. Zammit , B. Plumpton , A. Cousin 1, P. Fava ,  Di. Zammit 1, D. Spiteri

Referees: F. Gomez, M. Bianchi

Championship Pool Final Standings

San Giljan Crystal Finance    34

Neptunes Grimaldi                 32 

Sliema Frank Salt                   14

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