Philip Gruppetta confirmed U23 ChampionSara Xuereb wins Girls U16 and U23 CategoriesEdward Xuereb crowned boys U16 ChampionChristopher Fenech and Kathryn Fenech win U12 Championship
Philip Gruppetta and Sara Xuereb were confirmed as the BOV National Bowling U23 Champions for the 5th consecutive year each. Sara Xuereb also confirmed her dominance by winning the girls U16 championship for the 4th consecutive year with her brother Edward Xuereb winning the boy’s U16 championship for the second year in a row. Siblings Christopher and Kathryn Fenech were crowned BOV U12 champions for the 1st time.
The championships were divided into 3 categories: U12, U16 and U23 and this year saw 35 competitors, some of who participated in more than 1 category.
Following the competitions, Stefan Abela, Community Officer at Bank of Valletta and Paul Baldacchino, President of the Malta Ten Pin Bowling Association presented the trophies to the winners.
BOV National U23 Bowling Championship
Day 1 saw Kurt Attard take the early lead with a 1151 series, with Edward Xuereb hot on his heels, with Matthew Magro, Philip Gruppetta, Chris Borg and Luke Burke occupying the top 6 places. Kurt held his lead in Day 2, with Philip Gruppetta climbing to 2nd place followed by Edward and Matthew. Luke improved to 5th whilst Chris relinquished his place to Kyle Camilleri who managed to place 6th.
The boys’ round robin was a fight till the end. The boys were all on even footing and all 6 could make it with the top 3. Philip won 3 matches to take the lead, with Kurt also winning 3 matches to place 2nd. The tussle was who would clinch the last place, as Magro, Xuereb and Burke were very close. In the end it was Matthew who made it through to the step ladder, winning 4 matches.
Matthew Magro beat Kurt Attard 212-162 to earn the right to face Philip Gruppetta, however the reigning champion made sure of his 5th successive title beating Matthew 177-155.
Since there were only 4 participants, they all made it to the round robin phase.Raquel Xuereb started with a low 134, and even though she made a huge effort in the last game, rolling a good 213 game, she failed to close the 95 pin deficit by just 2 pins. 3rd place went to Juliana Bonanno who had one win against Alessia Schembri, while the latter also won a game to drop to 2nd place. On the other hand, Sara Xuereb, who started on a somewhat slow pace, won 2 of the encounters to finish in the lead.
Juliana faced Alessia in a low scoring match, the former winning 156-152 and went on to face Xuereb, who kept her composure to win her 5th U23 championship 168-148.
Both champions have been undefeated for 5 years in a row. Rankin Camilleri held the previous record, having won the title for 4 years (albeit not in a row), which now Philip managed to break, while Amanda Cini still holds the record having won these championships for 6 times, 5 of which were consecutive years. Of course Sara, at 16 years of age, has more than enough years to catch up with this record, since she still has 7 more years to go.
BOV National U16 Bowling Championship
The U16 championships were contested by 9 boys and 3 girls with all athletes playing 12 games, 6 games on day 1 and 6 games on day 2.
The boys’ category was a keen race between last year’s champion Edward Xuereb, and last years’ runner up Matthew Magro. Edward rolled a 1141 on day one, followed by Magro (1116) and Dwayne Zahra (1065). However on day 2, Edward started with two low games, while Matthew started with a 247 and a 192, and positions were shifted. By the 4th game Magro was leading by 156 pins, but as anyone in bowling can tell, the impossible can happen in our game. In fact while Matthew rolled a 145 and a 142, Edward was on fire with a 224 and 234 to defend the title by 15 pins. Matthew ended in the runner up position, while Dwayne Zahra placed 3rd.
Sara Xuereb, 16, had no tangible competition as the other 2 competitors were 12 and 13 years old and she easily won the title for the 4th time in a row. 2nd place went to the U12 Champion Kathryn Fenech, whilst Ruslana Grima settled for the 3rd place, just two pins short from 2nd.
Both U16 champions defended last years’ title, as Sara won it for a staggering 4 times, beating the record previously held by Amanda Cini and Tiziana Carannante (3 times). Her brother Edward on the other hand, has won these championships for the 2nd time in a row, at 12 being the youngest to ever win an under 16 championship.
BOV National U12 Bowling Championship
The Mini Junior event was held for the 4th time for the growing number of young bowlers interested in our sport and this year we had no less than 13 competitors, 4 girls and 9 boys. All the youngsters had to play 4 games on day 1 and another 4 games on day 2.
The boys’ category proved to be very exciting as it was touch and go who would win this title. Kayden Lagana led day one by 5 pins over Christopher Fenech, while the youngest of the lot, Nicolai Mallia, at 8 years of age, was in close pursuit just 8 pins away from 2nd. The latter dropped his average on day 2, and whilst Kayden was leading till the 5th frame of the last game, he got a succession of splits, whilst Christopher Fenech managed to beat him by 12 pins, thus earning this year’s championship title. Kayden had to settle for 2nd place, whilst 3rd place went to Nicolai.
From day 1 Kathryn Fenech led the girls’ category, followed by Karlise Bartolo, and it looked clear that these two young ladies would clinch the 1st and 2nd spots respectively. The tussle would be for 3rd place, and in the end it was the more experienced Celianne Micallef who nipped the 3rd place by 30 pins. Kudos goes to Mia Bugeja, who has only been practicing for a couple of months and she bowled a good 59 average.