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BRIFFA, PSAILA CLINCH LATEST TITLES

The third annual Silver Cup, a national tournament specifically for tenpin bowlers in the Youth and Special Olympic categories. was organized by the MTBA over the weekend .

The tournament attracted a very encouraging field of 37 bowlers, comprising 26 male bowlers, and 11 females. The Silver Cup is a handicap tournament, with playing averages capped to ensure a fair and level contest across both divisions.

Saturday’s qualification round was played over six games for total pinfall, including any individual handicaps. And at the end of the session the male competition was led by junior bowler, who at just 10 years old was the youngest competitor in the tournament.

His 807 scratch total was bolstered by his 44 handicap to put him on 1071, just 24 pins ahead of fellow Junior Edward Xuereb, on 1047. Shadon’s series featured high games of 155 and 157 (199, 201 gross).

Six bowlers in all would make it through to the penultimate Round-Robin stage, and Psaila and Xuereb were joined in that stage by Milos Kojic, Kurt Attard, Matthew Magro and Bjorn Tabone, who qualified in 3rd through 6th place in that order.

Shadon Psaila managed four wins from five in the Round-Robin to pick up some valuable win bonuses, but slipped to second place after an inspired performance from Bjorn Tabone, who won all five matches with some impressive scoring to qualify for the Stepladder finals as top seed. Edward placed third to claim the last spot in the men’s final.

The male semi-final saw Psaila face Xuereb in a single game to determine who would then meet Tabone in the grand final. Shadon was playing with a confidence well beyond his years, and won the match 170 – 152 to go through, although sorry that the victory had to be to the detriment of his good friend Edward.

Going into the final as the lower seed, Psaila knew that he would have to defeat top dog Bjorn Tabone twice, in order to claim the Silver Cup title. Game one was all in his favour, as he won it 144 – 212 to take it to the all important second game.

That one could not have been any closer, going down to the wire with Shadon finally claiming glory with just one solitary pin, 174 – 175 the result.

In the female event, it was another of the three Xuereb siblings, Raquel who impressed on day one, leading the pack on 974 pins ahead of Michaela Briffa on 934, and Natasha Bianchi in third place on 927.

The girls were joined in the ladies’ Round-Robin by fourth placed Jessica Farrugia, Graziella Bonnici in fifth and Marika Rodgers in the sixth and final qualifying spot.

There was only a positional change among the top three girls after the Round-Robin, although Raquel Xuereb managed to hold onto the top spot thanks to five straight victories, and so secure her spot as top seed in the grand final.

Natasha Bianchi managed to improve a spot to second place, switching positions with Michaela Briffa who filled the remaining spot in the Stepladder.

It was Bianchi vs Briffa in the semi-final, which fell to Michaela in a 111 – 142 score line, to see her into the grand final against Xuereb. Again, it was to go to two games as the underdog was again on the better end of the 116 – 148 result in game one.

Game two saw the scoring pace pick up a little, and it was Michaela Briffa again, managing to bag the ladies’ Silver Cup title with a decisive 134 – 154 win.

Other than the all-important titles of Silver Cup winners for 2015, the two new champions also each received and engraved trophy, as well as a cash voucher courtesy of the MTBA, allowing them a free entry into a future tournament of their choice.
 
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