MTBA Gold Cup 2014 –Stephanie Said makes it 4-In-A-Row David Fenech is deserving Men’s Champion, 2014
The 2014 MTBA Gold Cup Tournament has been played out at the Eden SuperBowl, where a record-breaking 47 tenpin bowlers participated in separate male and female divisions. The eventual winners of the event were David Fenech, who notched up his first Gold Cup title after several years of trying, while in the ladies’ tournament, Stephanie Said stunned the field to claim an incredible fourth consecutive Gold Cup title.
Female Division: Said come out on top in ‘friendly’ ladies’ final
After the first of two six-day sessions, triple-title-holder Stephanie Said had already established an advantage over the 15-strong ladies field, after shooting a solid 1205 interim total (200.8 ave), including highs of 205, and a brace of 210s. That put her ahead of junior bowler, Sara Xuereb in second place on 1144, with Cynthia Duca in third on 1135 and Amanda Cini lying fourth, with 1111 pins.
Day two saw and improved performance from Amanda Cini, with a 1255 total for the day (net 1189) giving her a gross qualifying total of 2366, however it was Said who retained the top spot after her twelve Round 1 games, although managing that by a mere two pins (2368) for a good net qualifying average of 197.3. Sara Xuereb slipped a place to third (2338), with Cynthia Duca in fourth place on 2197.
A total of six bowlers would go through to the second ‘Round Robin’ stage, and the top four were joined by Josephine Borg and Liliana Said in fifth and sixth respectively.
Total qualifying pinfall was carried forward into the Round-Robin stage to give the top seeds a deserved advantage, but as a system of extra bonus points was applied in this round, a lot could potentially change over the series of five head to head encounters.
Stephanie Said played like the champion she is, claiming four match wins from five for some very handy bonus points, and helped along to retain the top spot by some good efforts, specifically games of 201, 224 and 226. She stayed ahead of Amanda Cini who also had a decent set, but was unlucky to manage only two victories, while the third and final spot in the stepladder finals went to Cynthia Duca, who advanced ahead of Sara Xuereb thanks to her three match wins.
The stepladder semi final match was competed between Cini and Duca, with top seed Said securing her place in the ladies final. It was a close run affair, and in fact it would have been a scratch draw on 185-all, however Cynthia’s superior game handicap put her 13 pins ahead for a 205 – 192 win.
Duca knew that as the underdog, she would have to beat her good friend Stephanie Said twice to claim this year’s title. As the intense ladies’ final rolled off it was clear that neither was going to give up the fight, however it was the three-time champion Stephanie Said who got the better of her opponent with a 192 – 186 win to claim her fourth consecutive Gold Cup title, without the need for a second game.
Male Division: David Fenech finally lifts trophy against tough competition
David Fenech is the 2014 Men’s Gold Cup Champion, having thwarted some very strong challenges amid the 30 competitor-strong division. He was in fourth place after six games on 1195 pins, while Matthew Agius Inglott was sitting pretty at the top of the classification on 1251. Second place mid way through qualification went to Gabriel Borg with 1249 pins, while Benny Hili lay third on 1197.
Fenech came out of the trap in a determined mood on day two, shooting an opening threesome of 243-239-235 (gross 717) to shoot up through the rankings. A 214-166-161 back three meant that he took the top spot with a qualifying total of 2453. A very good second set from Clayton Zammit saw him leap from 13th place all the way up to second on 2426, and further changes at the top saw Mario Ellul take third place (2378), and Pierre Yves Galea clinch fourth with 2377. The remaining qualifiers for the men’s Round Robin were Benny Hili (2367) and Nicholas Zahra on 2343.
Clayton Zammit’s broadside attack continued through the penultimate stage, in which he picked up three match wins, but also racked four 200+ games (211-208-220-219) which saw him go first, and book his place in the final. Fenech went through in second after also winning three encounters, but was unable to keep up with Zammit’s scoring pace. Mario Ellul finished third after the Round Robin to bag the last stepladder place.
David Fenech felt that he’d deserved a spot in the final, and was set on getting it regardless by overcoming Mario Ellul in the semis. He did so with ease, but suitable aided by a poor game from Ellul; 182 – 157 the result. The final between Fenech and Zammit went to two games, forced by the former who clinched the first game 180 – 193. Final game two was as close as they come, but it was Fenech’s day after all as he won that 195 – 199 to claim the Gold Cup title with a 0 – 2 final victory.
Apart from their titles and trophies, Stephanie and David shared a €600 cash prize fund, while runners up Cynthia Duca and Clayton Zammit were awarded with a free entry into a national tournament of their choice, all courtesy of the Malta Tenpin Bowling Association.