The recently held MTBA Youth and Junior Championships have been completed at the Eden SuperBowl, where close to 40 young tenpin bowlers participated, all vying for the titles of National Champion, in their respective U-12, U-16 and U-23 categories in both male and female divisions.
A mix of title retentions and also new champions resulted from the enthusiastically competed championships, while an exemplary display of sportsmanship and discipline was displayed by all of the young athletes concerned.
Mini-Junior Category (U-12)
Shadon Psaila, Martina Pisani take honours.
The winners in this youngest division were decided on straight total pinfall after eight games played over two days. In the boys’ section, it was Shadon Psaila who came out on top, claiming his title with a 1187 total for an impressive game average of 148.3. Nicholas Muscat came in a close second (1156, 144.5 ave), while bronze went to Edward Xuereb (1134, 141.7 ave). Martina Pisani claimed the honours in the girls division on 666 pins.
Junior Category (U-16)
National Sport School students Matthew Magro and Sara Xuereb shine This division was competed over two days and twelve games, and NSS student Matthew Magro certainly did not take long to show his winning intentions in the boys’ category, as he shot a 1069 on day one to take the early lead. That put him 71 ahead of defending champion Kurt Attard (998) while Dylan
Santillo lay third on 872.
Magro really came into his own on day two however, shooting an inspired 1144 for a final total of 2213 to claim victory, (184.4 ave). Kurt remained second with a 1958 tally (163.1 ave), while third place was taken by U-12 winner, Shadon Psaila.
There was a similar case of domination in the girls’ category, as Sara Xuereb laid an early claim to the title with a great 1166 on day one, putting her top, 84 ahead of elder sister Raquel (1082). Gabriella Zahra lay third on 825 pins at the half way point.
The positional status quo remained throughout day two, with Xuereb showing fine consistency for a 1117 session and a title clinging total of 2283 (190.2 ave). Raquel Xuereb took the silver placing on 1082, and 3rd place went to Gabriella for her 1669.
Intermediate Category (U-23)
Three Titles in-a-row for both Xuereb and Gruppetta
After the twelve qualifying games for the U-23 division, double-defending champion Philip Gruppetta topped the male category thanks to a 2365 total (197 ave), followed by Matthew Magro on 2213 pins, and Kyle Burke on 2179. They were joined in the penultimate Round Robin stage by Luke Burke (2138), Daniel Magro (2106) and Shaun Montanaro (2090) in 4th to 6th place respectively.
The six qualifiers started the day with only 50% of their prior pinfall intact, and it was underdog Shaun Montanaro who was out to impress, winning four of his five encounters to pick up 80 valuable bonus points, on top of game highs of 223, 213 and 203. That put Shaun in the top spot, with a guaranteed spot in the U-23 grand final.
Matthew Magro held onto second place in spite of winning only two of his matches, while an out-of-sorts Gruppetta managed only one victory from some low scoring matches, meaning he slipped to third place to claim the last spot in the Stepladder Finals.
Magro and Gruppetta faced off in the male Semi-Final match, which was to be decided over a single game. That went 161 – 202 to Gruppetta who went on to face Shaun Montanaro in the final match, knowing that he would have to beat the higher seeded bowler twice in order to retain his U-23 title for a third successive year. Philip won the first game 185 – 202 to force the second game, and then also won that 188 – 224 for victory.
The top female U-23 qualifier after round one was Sara Xuereb (2283) with Raquel Xuereb in second (2065), and Alessia Schembri in third place (1990). The other three qualifiers for the girls’ Round Robin were Michaela Briffa, Juliana Bonanno and Raisa Briffa, in order of qualification.
Raquel came out with all guns blazing to win all five of her encounters, including great games of 192, 200 and 214. That handed her the top spot and a place in the final, ahead of Sara who held second place thanks to her superior qualifying total, having won just one Round Robin game from five. Alessia Schembri won three of her matches to stay third, and so face Sara Xuereb in the girls’ Semi Final.
Sara produced a stunning 236 against Schembri’s 169, earning herself a place in the final against elder sister, Raquel. As in the male category, the girls’ final could potentially go to two games, and it did as Sara easily claimed the first game, 135 – 181. Game two was closer, but it was the younger Xuereb sibling Sara, who won through in a 157 – 178 result, mirroring Philip Gruppetta’s achievement for a three U-23 titles in a row.