Malta’s Sara Xuereb crowned Champion in major UK tournament

Monday, August 3, 2015, 22:43

Gavin Muscat

Tenpin Bowling, Junior London International:

Malta’s Sara Xuereb crowned Champion in major UK tournament

Hot on the heels of their success in the Junior British Open in Norwich, a group of Malta’s most enthusiastic and dedicated youth and junior bowlers moved on to London, where they participated in the 2015 edition of the JTE Junior London International, held at the Airport Bowl (Heathrow). Hopes were high among the group, and hopes of repeating their previous week’s successes were very high indeed, and in fact the week’s competition culminated in a real dream come true for 13 year old Sara Xuereb, who was crowned the London International Champion, after a thrilling final stage.

In all, no fewer that 17 Maltese U-21 bowlers took part in the championships and had rather mixed fortunes. The best performance among the boys came from Matthew Magro (13yrs) who, like Sara, is a pupil at the National Sport School, with tenpin bowling as his chosen discipline. Matthew qualified on his best entry of 1449 pins over eight games to go through to the final stages, having registered a pair of 216’s and also a 236 during his qualifying set. Matthew then went through in sixth place from Final Stage 1 with a good 752 four-game total, before eventually being knocked out in Final Stage 3, where he was beaten 379 – 405 over two games by Shinya Haest from Belgium.

Sara Xuereb made it through the qualifying round on an excellent 1527 for eight games, for a 190.8 game average and including highs of 213, 225 and 236. She then never faltered through Final Stages 1 through 4, with four consecutive victories from her two-game matches. Then in Final Stage 5, she ended up on the losing side against England’s Keira Ray (399 – 420), but still made it through to the Stepladder Finals having been unbeaten in all previous head-to-head matches.

Xuereb won her first Stepladder match by just four pins (418 – 414) against Lewis Johnson from England, meaning that she was through to the Grand Final, and would again face Keira Ray. As Ray had already beaten Xuereb in their earlier encounter, Sara would have to beat the higher seed twice for the tournament title. She got off to a great start with a 454 total (216 – 238) against 373 (201 – 172) from Keira, to force that all important second match.  Tension was high and the pressure was on for both deserving finalists, and in the end it was to be Sara’s day, as she won through by just ten pins on 440 pins (206 – 234), against 430 (192 – 238) from the English girl.

Sara’s father, Josward was the first to proudly congratulate his daughter for her astounding success, and first championship title in a foreign tournament, and another in a rapidly growing list of honours, both in the international arena, as well as on the local tenpin bowling scene.

A good number of other parents had also made the trip to the UK to support their children, along with Liliana Spiteri, youth and junior mentor on behalf of the MTBA. Rick Vogeleseng – official NSS coach to Sara Xuereb and Matthew Magro was also present to witness his students’ success.

Sara Xuereb(far right) alongside the other competitors




Sara Xuereb

The Maltese contingent

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