‘Perfect’ 300-Game for Matthew Cossai

Friday, March 30, 2012, 18:24

TENOVAR Gold Cup 2012 – Round 1 Completed

The qualifying round of the 2012 TENOVAR Gold Cup Tournament has been completed at the Eden SuperBowl after two six-game sessions, and the stage is now set for Round 2 followed by the thrilling ‘Stepladder Finals’ to be played this Sunday morning. Of the 32 initial entrants, Sundays play will be contested between the top six qualifiers from both the male and female divisions.

Male Division: Camilleri pips Mallia for top spot

After six games in day one of qualification, Peter Mallia occupied the top spot in the men’s competition with a very good 1237 interim total (1219 scratch, 203.1 average), after a set which featured a great 255 opener. That put him ahead of Matthew Cossai on 1183, and Jean Marc Galea in third place with 1180 pins. Fourth place was held by Claude Camilleri just six pins behind on 1174.

With just 83 pins separating the top six going into day two, with at least another six bowlers still in contention, the top spots were all still to play for. Mallia started consistently, holding his lead through the initial three games, although Claude Camilleri was improving steadily through the ranks. The latter then shot a gross 248 in game four, against a 186 from Mallia which meant a lead of 28 for Camilleri with two games still to play. Camilleri stretched that to 35 in the penultimate game, and then the final qualifying game saw a solid 249 comeback game from Mallia, but the new leader just managed to hang on to his position with his own 217 effort, clinching the top spot by a mere three pins (2417 – 2414).

A perfect 300-game in the twelfth catapulted Matthew Cossai into third place on 2366, and the three are joined in the next Round Robin stage by newcomer Peter Dunbavin (2306), Mario Ellul (2300) and Nikolai Borg (2300) respectively.

Female Division: Favourite Stephanie Said, table-topper

2011 female champion, Stephanie Said, entered the 2012 event as clear favourite, and it only took her two games (207 – 218), in the first of her two qualifying sessions to stamp her authority on the ladies competition. Said finished the front six with a considerable 114 pin lead over nearest rival, Marianne Mula (1254 – 1140). Bringing up the rear were Josette Falzon Reale and Josephine Borg in respective third and fourth positions.

Day two was more about who would claim the remaining five from six qualifying positions, as Stephanie continued to dominate. She topped the 200 mark in no less than four of of her six games, peaking at 229 and finishing in first place on 2441 pins (2369 scratch, 197.4 ave). Marianne Mula held onto second with 2231, and Josette Falzon Reale stayed third on 2134. Also advancing to the Round Robin were Josephine Borg (2122), Liliana Said (2085) and Marthese Cossai (2032), fourth through sixth place.

Matthew Cossai qualifies in ‘perfect’ style

In spite of a positive start to the 2012 TENOVAR Gold Cup, with just one game remaining in the twelve game qualifying round, youth bowler Matthew Cossai (20yrs) was languishing in ninth place, and all but out of the running for qualification. It was at this ‘last chance saloon’ that the youngster realised every tenpin bowlers dream, and shot a game of twelve consecutive strikes, for the ‘perfect’ scratch score of 300 (304 including handicap). That was enough to take him up to third place and into the final stages.

The incredible feat, although the latest in a growing list of Malta’s bowlers to have achieved that magical score, is Cossai’s first ever 300. As the strikes started to accumulate on the SuperBowl’s overhead scoring display, so did the spectators all eager to witness the event, including Matthew’s mother Marthese, who had just completed her own six games on adjacent lanes.

The excitement reached fever pitch as the final frame saw strikes ten and eleven take Matthew’s tally to 290 with just one ball still to play. Cossai stepped up, encouraged by the considerable crowd now gathered behind him, and took the shot, which he snatched at and immediately turned away, visibly disappointed with himself. The ball travelled the length of the lane, going through the headpin, scrappily taking out nine to leave the 9-pin teetering for what seemed like an eternity, before it finally fell for strike number twelve. Matthew still had his back to the pins expecting something like a 7-count, but the cheers of his bowling peers and friends were confirmation enough of the 300 game total.

Play commences at 0930 this Sunday at the SuperBowl, starting with the penultimate Round Robin stage, and then the final matches. Spectators are more than welcome, at no charge.

The two eventual 2012 TENOVAR Gold Cup Champions will be rewarded with all-expenses paid trips, in order to take part in an Open tournament of their choice abroad, courtesy of the Malta Tenpin Bowling Association.

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