Malta medal haul in Doubles, Team events

Monday, April 30, 2012, 6:53

Sue Abela claims Ladies Title

The XV Mediterranean Challenge Cup has been held by San Marino Bowling Federation (F.S.B.), and was competed between thirteen nations from the Mediterranean region, namely; Catalonia, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Israel, Italy, Malta, Slovenia, Tunisia, Turkey, and host nation San Marino. Team Malta comprised Sue Abela, Melissa Swift, Justin Caruana Scicluna and Mark Spiteri, who had previously qualified in the top spots of an MTBA run event at the Eden SuperBowl.

The Maltese bowlers put on a very impressive display once again, netting medals in no less than three of the seven qualification events, while Sue Abela once again achieved the ultimate championship goal, by winning the Ladies’ Masters finals, and so the 2012 title.

Joint Doubles Success

After some worrying results in the initial singles competitions, team Malta’s fortunes changed when it came to the separate Men’s and Women’s Doubles events, each played over six games. Spiteri and Caruana Scicluna played together with more conviction than either had during the singles, getting off to a decent start before shooting a great 441 in game three to go joint second.

The competition was so close that a lower 344 in game four saw Mark and Justin drop to seventh, but they responded to that with a 413 – 420 closing pair, to claim third place and the bronze medals. First place went to Greece, and second place to France.

Sue Abela had managed a fair sixth placing in the Singles event from a total of 24 bowlers, while MCC newbie Melissa Swift had finished sixteenth. The women’s Doubles event was the first time the pair had played together, and the combination certainly worked well. They shot to the top of the classification with a 426 opener, and then jostled for position over the next three with scores of 358, 383 and 375. The ladies needed a good finish, and a back two of 408 and 438 pushed them back up to second place, for an excellent silver award. The event was won by Turkey, with Greece below Malta in Third.

While Sue Abela put in a typically solid 1195 individual series for the event, credit must surely be given to Melissa Swift, who shot a 1203, the third highest set amongst the field.


Team Event – More silverware for Malta

While our bowlers struggled a little in the Mixed Doubles event – the pairing of Melissa Swift and Mark Spiteri finishing in eighth place from 24 teams, while Sue Abela and Justin Caruana Scicluna finished eighth – there were no such problems in the 4-Man Team event.

Teamwork was definitely the key among a very tough field, and Malta started strongly with an opening brace of 826 and 861. The Greek line-up managed to just keep ahead of the field, and some strong competition from Cyprus was to follow in the shape of a big 884 game, but team Malta held fast, rounding off the six-set with and 829 and 808, to clinch a well deserved second place on 4809 pins.

The formidable Greek team took gold with 5031 pins, and a late flourish from Italy saw them improve to take bronze.


Masters Event: Another MCC title for Sue Abela

The top eight bowlers in each division, based on total scores accumulated during the qualifying events would go through to the all important Masters Finals. Only Sue Abela managed to qualify for Malta in seventh place, although Melissa Swift can be proud of her tenth place with 4498 pins (187.4 average over 24 games), which left her a mere fifteen pins down on eighth place. Mark Spiteri also placed tenth in the men’s ‘All Events’, while Justin Caruana Scicluna finished fifteenth.

The Masters Finals were played on a knock-out basis with head-to-head matches, decided by the highest pinfall over two games. This meant that Sue Abela had to face second seed, Daniela Buzzelli (ITA) in her opening game, and after a low 176 opener she picked up her game for a strong 216 in game two and a 392 total, to top the Italian’s 368 effort (198 – 170).

Next up for Sue was top seed, Sandra Torrents from Catalonia. Her opponent’s qualifying prowess failed to daunt the Maltese National Champion, who is famed for performing under pressure, as she shot an excellent 427 set (205 – 222) to dispose of Torrents (181 – 191, 372 total), and so make the grand final.

Turkey’s Adile Michajov had gone past Cristina Sanz (CAT) in her quarter-final match, and then knocked out fellow Turk Ebru Ozogluuntur in the semis to earn her place against Sue Abela in the Ladies final match. Adile took an early but narrow advantage, with a 212 opening game against Sue’s 199. The tables turned in game two with the Turkish bowler shooting a 189, against a title winning 212 from Sue Abela (401 – 411).

Team Malta’s joint efforts, and Sue’s gold medal in particular, helped keep Malta atop of the MCC medals standings, after fifteen editions of this annual event. Malta boasts 30 gold medals, just ahead of Greece on 29, while Italy lie third, well down on 14 gold medals.

Team Malta’s participation in the IV Mediterranean Challenge was possible thanks to the MTBA, the Malta Olympic Committee and also Kunsill Malti Ghall-Isport. Prior to the championships, the team were afforded training facilities by the Eden SuperBowl, in order to be fully prepared for the championships. The team were accompanied by National Coach, Mr. Rick Vogelesang for their trip to San Marino.



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