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MAGRO AND DUCA CLINCH GOLD CUP HONOURS

Matthew Magro is the youngest ever Gold Cup champion after claiming the Men’s Division, while Cynthia Duca clinched the Ladies’ honour.

Male Division: Youngster Matthew Magro tastes victory

At just 13 years of age, Matthew Magro, a student at Malta’s National Sports School, is the youngest ever Gold Cup champion in the 38 year history of the event.

Matthew led the men’s field early on in the first of two 6-game qualifying sessions, which included great scratch highs of 207 and 246 (227, 266 gross) for a 1216 total for the day. That put him ahead of Gabriel Borg on 1175, Clayton Zammit on 1158, and Luke Burke on 1155 in fourth place.

Magro faced a strong challenge from veteran bowler Benny Hili on day two, but shot a scratch 1058 for a good 1178 gross. That put him on a 2394 final qualifying total and kept him on top, with Hili improving from seventh to second place a very good 1177 (1231 gross) on the day, and a 2352 twelve game total.

The top two were joined in the next stage (6-man Round Robin) by Clayton Zammit (2313), Gabriel Borg (2249), Luke Burke (2211) and Nicholas Zahra (2208).

The qualifying scores were slashed by half for the 5-game Round Robin to make for a closer contest, and also a system of bonus points was applied for game wins and ties.

Top seed Matthew Magro opened with two high scoring wins, before stumbling to a low 159 (139) in game three which he lost. A poor 145 (125) meant another defeat, but he rallied to win the final game for more valuable bonus points.

That meant Matthew retained his status as top seed and guaranteed him a place in the final match. Vying to face him in the final were Benny Hili in second place and Clayton Zammit in third, and they met in a 1-game semi-final clash. That went to Zammit, 156 – 170, for Hili to settle for 3rd place.

As the underdog, Clayton would have to beat Matthew twice in the men’s final, while a single game would be enough for Magro to take the title. The end result became clear as the frames progressed, and it certainly wasn’t going to a second game, Matthew ending up the 2015 Gold Cup Champion with a 217 – 158 victory.

Female Division: Duca takes Xuereb in two-game final thriller

It would be another National Sports School student who would lead the female category, young starlet Sara Xuereb.

However, Sara ended day one in second place after six games on a 1178 tally, with fellow youth bowler Alessia Schembri in the top spot with a very impressive 1307 (1187 net) interim total, that included brilliant scratch efforts of 234, 230 and 224. Third was held by Liliana Spiteri on 1064 pins.

Day two brought a slightly better performance from Xuereb, which combined with a drop in Schembri’s form saw her take over the lead on 2386 pins.

Alessia qualified in second place on 2343 while Marthese Cossai was third on 2118. The remaining three qualifiers for the ladies’ Round Robin were Raisa Briffa (2093), Cynthia Duca (2088) and Jenny Swift (2086) who has recently returned to the bowling scene after an absence of several years.

Sara Xuereb was unstoppable during her head-to-head matches, winning all five of them for an extra 100 in bonuses, and shooting three games over 200.

That sent her into the final match as top seed, while Cynthia Duca gave a good and consistent display in winning three games, to go through in second place, as the third final spot went to Marthese Cossai.

The single game semi-final between Cynthia and Marthese went right down to the wire, and it was Duca who just clinched it 203 – 197, to step up and take her place in the Final against Xuereb. Again it would take two wins for Duca to take the cup, and she won the first game 155 – 178.

Her opponent showed mettle beyond her years to improve to a 176 effort in game two, but the glory went to Duca thanks to a sterling 203 match-winner.

Apart from their titles and trophies, Cynthia and Matthew received prizes valued at €600, cash prize fund, while the runners up were awarded with a free entry into a national tournament of their choice, all courtesy of the Malta Tenpin Bowling Association.
 
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