The 18th Mediterranean Championships hosted by the Hellenic Bowling Federation in Chania, Crete, has been a massive day for Maltese Tenpin Bowling so far, with Team Malta picking up Gold in the Mixed Team event.

That was not the only honour taken however, as Sue Abela was also awarded Gold in the Ladies All Events category, Mark Spiteri bowled a fantastic ‘perfect’ 300 game, while the team of four also smashed the tournament record for a highest game.

The team comprising Sue Abela, Tiziana Carannante, Mauro Anastasi and Mark Spiteri, played their initial three games on Friday afternoon and continued with the final three early on Saturday, and needed to improve on their 2313 interim total in order to have a chance at a medal.

They began the day with solid determination and a superb team mentality, and didn’t have to wait long for massive boost to their campaign.

That came in the form of an incredible joint effort in game four with a 199 from Carannante, 232 from Abela, and a 233 from Anastasi. The star of the show however was Mark Spiteri who could not have wished for a better start to the days bowling, bowling 12 strikes in a row for a solid 300, the ‘perfect’ game and every bowler’s goal.

That gave Team Malta and incredible 964 total for the game, which smashed the previous team record, that of 939 pins that had been held by Greece, who were forced to see their own record broken on home turf by their Maltese rivals.

That shot Malta straight up to the top of the rankings with two games to go, and their determination was at its absolute peak. Greece were still there snapping at their heels, and after a good 807 in game five, Malta led by a mere 19 pins heading into the final game.

Spiteri was on a high, shooting a great 225 to complete a 744 individual series. His teammates complimented that with a 202 from Abela, a 204 from Anastasi, and an excellent 219 from Carannante for an excellent 850 team effort.

That gave them a fantastic 4834 final total to bank on as they then had to watch the Greeks play out their final frames. The writing was on the wall however, as all that Greece could muster was a fair 790 total, to finish on 4755 and so confirm Gold for Malta. Greece took Silver while Bronze went to Slovenia on 4736.

As if three fantastic honours were not enough for half a day’s work, there was more to come in the All Events standings, which is the individual categories based on each bowler’s scores from the four events played.

There, Malta’s Sue Abela claimed the Gold medal on a brilliant 4774 total over 24 games (198.9 ave), and so she goes into the Masters Finals on Saturday afternoon as the top seed.

Mark Spiteri also earned a place in the men’s Masters Finals, after his impressive performance earlier on Saturday. Spiteri qualified in sixth place on 4792 (199.7 ave).

Sue Abela’s Masters medal hopes were unfortunately short lived, as she was knocked out in her Quarter Final match against Annalisa Balzano of Italy.

All matches were decided over a two-game total, and Abela was 44 behind after game one (179 – 223), although improved to a 217 against a 211 from Balzano. That made it 396 – 434 for the Italian, and fifth place for Sue Abela.

The ladies Finals were eventually won by Aksular Gulhan from Turkey, who beat another Italian, Giada Dimartino 415 – 395.

Mark Spiteri fared better in the men’s Finals, beating local favourite Ioannis Stathatos in grand style, with a Quarter Final score of 385 – 498, (189 – 221, 196 – 277).

Spiteri was now guaranteed to take at least a Bronze medal from his Semi Final clash with Slovenia’s Hiede Josko, but went down 216 – 157 in game one, a considerable disadvantage of 59 pins at the half way point.

However Mark’s incredible day on the lanes took another upturn in game two, which he took 158 – 229, and so win the match 374 – 386.

The Maltese star would then meet another Slovenian, Grabrijan Anze in the men’s Final, which would turn out to be a real thriller, befitting of the week’s eventful play during the four qualifying events.

The Slovenian took the first by just 16 pins (217 – 201), but hopes were still high in the Malta camp, all having witnessed what Spiteri was capable of more than once earlier in the day.

However thing’s did not go Mark’s way this time, as Anze took the second game 203 – 190, for a 420 – 391 match win for Slovenia, and to the Masters title as Spiteri took Silver for Malta.

The team’s brilliant performance today saw Malta regain its position at the top of the medal standings, having been temporarily toppled by Greece earlier in the week.

After 18 editions of the Mediterranean Bowling Championships, Malta’s previous lead has been increased to 36 Gold medals, ahead of Greece on 34, with Italy way back on 17 Golds in third place.

The next edition – the 19th Mediterranean Championships, are to be held in Bologna, Italy in April/May 2016.

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Thursday, November 15, 2018
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