21st Malta Bowling Open ChampionshipsFriday, July 13, 2012, 1:00
The 21st edition of the Malta Open Championships was recently held at the Eden SuperBowl, where 44 tenpin bowlers from no less than eleven European countries participated for the title, and a share of the €5000 in prize money. Those nations were; Austria, Belgium, England, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland and of course, Malta.
The exciting and successful tournament format introduced to include a ‘re-entry’ system in 2009, and amended slightly in 2011 was again adopted for this year’s event. While bowlers would qualify on a twelve-game round one total, they had the chance to play six-game re-entries in the hope of replacing the lowest of their initial series of six to improve their qualifying position. This is worthwhile for competitors, as those who make the top six from round one, would be rewarded with ‘byes’ in the final stages, meaning less games to play on the otherwise grueling final day.
Another popular feature is the Desperado Squad, played immediately after the final qualifying squad, before the final stages. Those who failed to get into the top 21 from round one, are given one last chance to make the cut, by playing a single game. The top three ‘Desperados’ would make it through at this last ditch attempt.
After all qualifying squads were completed, and the low sets weeded out to be replaced by any re-entry scores, it was local ace Kenneth Arpa who topped the standings, on an excellent 2802 tally (233.5 ave). Malta Open regular Christian Vandamme from Belgium was second on 2757 (229.7), while 2012 National Champion, Mark Spiteri was third on 2751 (229.2). Ireland’s Paul Stott Jr. went through in fourth place on 2746 (228.8).
There were no less than fourteen local bowlers among the 24 qualifiers, the remaining ones being; Justin Caruana Scicluna (5th), Rankin Camilleri (6th), Neil Sullivan (9th), Mauro Anastasi (10th), Joana Attard (11th), Danial Swift (12th), Sue Abela (13th), Mark Muscat (14th), Paul Baldacchino (15th), Dennis Mercieca (18th), Philippe Vancell (21st), and Desperado qualifier, Tiziana Carannante (24th).