The XV Mediterranean Challenge Cup has been held by San Marino Bowling Federation (F.S.B.), and was contested by 13 nations from the Mediterranean region, namely; Catalonia, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Israel, Italy, Malta, Slovenia, Tunisia, Turkey, and host nation San Marino.
Team Malta comprised Sue Abela, Melissa Swift, Justin Caruana Scicluna and Mark Spiteri, who had previously qualified in the top spots of an MTBA run event at the Eden SuperBowl.
The Maltese bowlers put on a very impressive display once again, netting medals in no less than three of the seven qualification events, while Sue Abela once again achieved the ultimate championship goal, by winning the Ladies’ Masters finals, and so the 2012 title.
After some worrying results in the initial singles competitions, team Malta’s fortunes changed when it came to the separate Men’s and Women’s Doubles events, each played over six games. Spiteri and Caruana Scicluna played together with more conviction than either had during the singles, getting off to a decent start before shooting a great 441 in game three to go joint second.
The competition was so close that a lower 344 in game four saw Mark and Justin drop to seventh, but they responded to that with a 413-420 closing pair, to claim third place and the bronze medals. First place went to Greece, and second place to France.
Sue Abela had managed a fair sixth placing in the Singles event from a total of 24 bowlers, while MCC newbie Melissa Swift had finished sixteenth.
The Women’s Doubles event was the first time the pair had played together, and the combination certainly worked well. They shot to the top of the classification with a 426 opener, and then jostled for position over the next three with scores of 358, 383 and 375.
The ladies needed a good finish, and a back two of 408 and 438 pushed them back up to second place, for an excellent silver award. The event was won by Turkey, with Greece below Malta in third.
While Sue Abela put in a typically solid 1,195 individual series for the event, credit must surely be given to Melissa Swift, who shot a 1,203, the third highest set among the field.
The Masters event saw Sue Abela winning anoither title.
The top eight bowlers in each division, based on total scores accumulated during the qualifying events would go through to the all important Masters finals. Only Sue Abela managed to qualify for Malta in seventh place, although Melissa Swift can be proud of her 10th place with 4,498 pins (187.4 average over 24 games), which left her a mere 15 pins down on eighth place. Mark Spiteri also placed tenth in the men’s ‘All Events’, while Justin Caruana Scicluna finished 15th.
In the final, Abela defeated Turkey’s Adile Michajov who took an early but narrow advantage, with a 212 opening game against Sue’s 199. The tables turned in game two with the Turkish bowler shooting a 189, against a title winning 212 from Sue Abela (401-411).
In the four-man team event, Malta managed a silver medal, finishing second.
They finished with 4,809 pins, behind the winners, Greece, on 5,031. Italy placed third.
Team Malta’s joint efforts, and Sue’s gold medal in particular, helped keep Malta atop of the MCC medals standings, after 15 editions of this annual event. Malta boasts 30 gold medals, just ahead of Greece on 29, while Italy lie third, well down on 14 gold medals.