The draws for the first edition of the Wilkinson Sword National Water Polo Championship, organised by the Aquatic Sports Association of Malta (ASA), were held on the 25th May 2006 at the Radisson Bay Point Hotel. The participating teams in this Championship are Sliema Burger King, Neptunes Vodafone, 2X Sirens, Marsascala Breakers, Marsaxlokk Freeport, Ta’ Xbiex Mermaids Paradise, Otters ASC, Exiles and San Giljan Zara.
As in the past, these Championships will be played in two phases. The Preliminary Round is scheduled to start on Friday 9th June and the Final Round will be commencing on the 21st July. A detailed schedule of matches may be found below.
During the press conference, Mr Simon Debono, Marketing Manager for Miller Distributors, local agents and distributors of Wilkinson Sword, said: “Our agreement with the ASA continues with pleasure – we’re working together very well and have built a great relationship which I am sure will continue to help promote the sport of water polo as well as help bring it to higher levels in terms of organization. Entertainment levels can obviously not be done without the clubs and players who are the ambassadors for the sport and I have absolutely no doubt that they will be performing at their peaks – the winter league has warmed the teams up very well for what we are hoping will be another very exciting season – my gut feeling tells me that we’re in for a good one.” said Mr Debono.
Mr. Robert Ebejer, ASA President, thanked Mr Debono for their support in the promotion of Water Polo in Malta. “With the financial support we receive from our sponsors we can plan ahead. We have embarked on an ambitious long term programme which should continue to improve our sport,” said Mr Ebejer. “We have again this year introduced the Youth / Junior National Teams. This team will be participating in the COMEN Junior Championships in July. The Seniors team, in preparation of the 2007 European ‘B’ Championships, which are schedule to be held in Manchester in July, will be participating in the COMEN Cup in September. We are also planning to organize a friendly tournament in May 2007, with the possibility also of participating abroad.
During draws, Jonathan Valletta, Captain of last year’s 1st Division winning team, 2X Sirens, said: “This water polo season should be very exciting. Both the foreign player and the new rules will make the game much more attractive to the crowd. With the
reintroduction of the foreign players some clubs have taken the opportunity
to recruit world class players and therefore I anticipate high score games, as the game is now faster and tougher. I hope that the pool will once again be crowded with supporters not only for top clashes.”
Following last September’s announcement, Wilkinson Sword is sponsoring the National Water Polo Championship from 2006 to 2007, the Wilkinson Sword Water Polo Winter League from 2006 till 2008 as well as the Wilkinson Sword Knock-Out Competitions for 2006 and 2007 having also sponsored the 2005 KO. Wilkinson Sword, established in 1772, has maintained its reputation for developing innovative products ever since, including the 2003 launch of the Quattro, the world’s first four-blade razor which houses the most durable blades in the world.
Following the draws for this year’s Wilkinson Sword National Water Polo Championship, Jonathan Valletta, Captain of last year’s 1st Division winning team, Sirens 2X, and Mario Zammit, player from last year’s 2nd Division team, Valletta Utd, were each presented with the Water Polo Player of Year 2005.