TENOVAR MTBA National Championships, 2013

Thursday, July 18, 2013, 11:27

Mauro Anastasi claims first National title, 9-in-a-row for Sue Abela

The 2013 TENOVAR National Championships have been played out at the Eden SuperBowl where, in the highly competitive men’s division, there was a first ever national title for Mauro Anastasi. In stark contrast to that first-time victory for Anastasi, the ladies competition saw an eighth consecutive title for Sue Abela,meaning an insurmountable nine national titles in a row, for Malta’s most prolific and successful tenpin bowler ever.

Men’s Division: Mauro Anastasi rises to the fore

The Men’s event in the TENOVAR National Champions is always hotly contested, typically with up to a dozen elite bowlers in with a realistic chance at walking off with the title at the end of the three day, 24-game schedule. Day one’s eight games saw 2009 champion, Kenneth Arpa take a clear lead on 1707 pins (213.3 ave) after a great session, featuring highs of 227, 247 and 234. That put him 170 ahead of Paul Baldacchino on 1537, with Rankin Camilleri (1519) and Mauro Anastasi (1516) in third and fourth place respectively. The altered lane condition on day two did no favours for the early leader, Arpa’s 1457 giving him a 3164 tally after 16 games and knocking him down into second place. The new leader was Mauro Anastasi who shot a solid 1650 on the day, just edging it by two pins to go top with 3166 (197.8). Justin Caruana Scicluna moved up from fifth to third place on 3135, while Rankin Camilleri lay fourth on 3128, just 38 down on the top spot to make for a potentially thrilling final day.

The dual lane conditions – long and short oil on the same pair of lanes – makes day three’s eight game series the most challenging of the TENOVAR Nationals, testing every level of each bowler’s capability. A strong 243 opener would put Kenneth Arpa back in the driving seat, but not for too long because as the session progressed, an epic battle for the top spot developed between Anastasi, and Rankin Camilleri who had always been in amongst the action. The pair matched each other over four games as Arpa fell by the wayside, but then a 224 for Anastasi in game five, against a 171 for Camilleri put just a little distance between the two, although it was still all to play for in the final three games.

The pair went 217 – 225 and 225 – 221 (Anastasi – Camilleri) in games 22 and 23, and Mauro was 41 pins ahead with just one game to play. That would ordinarily be a comfortable advantage over one game, but with the pressure on, both bowlers knew that anything could happen. Anastasi faltered to a below par 182 game, and Camilleri registered a 205, trimming Mauro’s closing lead to just eighteen pins (4815 – 4797), but the title of TENOVAR National Champion, 2013 was safely in the bag.

Ladies’ Division: Sue Abela claims ninth consecutive title, career 18th

Sue Abela’s domination of the local ladies bowling scene is no longer a foregone conclusion, although this is nothing to do with any loss of form for Malta’s top bowler. It is rather down to the great improvement shown by a number of our other female bowlers, such as Joanna Attard, Tiziana Carannante and also Melissa Swift, who recently claimed victory over Abela in the World Games qualifier held at the SuperBowl.

While Abela remained the firm favourite in this year’s TENOVAR National Championships, she was amply aware of the tougher competition out on the lanes and could take nothing for granted. Sue did pick up a fair lead on the short pattern in the first eight game series, opening strongly with a flurry of high games (222 – 222 – 212), and closing on 1581 pins (197.6 ave), 160 ahead of Joanna Attard on 1421, while Tiziana Carannante and Melissa Swift followed closely behind on 1391 and 1385 respectively. However the long oil on day two made for a much more even contest, with the leader barely unable to stretch her lead by any specific amount as Sue notched up a 3074 total for sixteen. There were no positional changes as Attard, Carannante and Swift tallied 2888, 2849 and 2836 respectively.

Day three was the defending Champion really came into her own, on the challenging, Long-Short conditions. After a surprising 149 opener, Abela then improved with good efforts of 235, 206 and 221 for a 1570 for the day, and a title-retaining 3074 final total (192.1 ave). Again the positional status quo remained,with Joanna Attard finishing first runner-up on 2888 (180.5), Carannante in third (2849, 178.0) and Melissa Swift in fourth place (2836, 177.2).

As the new TENOVAR National Champions, Abela and Anastasi will go on to represent Malta against the bowling creme-de-la-creme of Europe, in the 2013 European Champions Cup. The event will be held in Bratislava, Slovakia in October, and the trip will be funded by the MTBA, and supported by the MOC and KMS. Sue and Mauro will also be afforded use of the Eden SuperBowl’s facilities in order to ensure adequate training leading up to their trip to Slovakia.


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