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Malta wins the prestigious Team title at Small Nations Cup


The bowlers from Malta dominated the Mixed Team event at the Small Nations Cup in San Marino, and cruised to the gold medal Saturday afternoon at Rose’n’Bowl in Serravalle.

Sara Xuereb, Sue Abela, Justin Caruana Scicluna and Mauro Anastasi (pictured from right to left), who led the preliminaries by almost 300 pins, defeated Cyprus with Neoklis Erodotou, Nandia Irodotou, Niki Schiza and Ioannis Konstantinou in the gold medal match, 849-710, to win the second gold medal for Malta.

In a very close semi-final match, Cyprus, seeded third, edged No. 2 Iceland with Magna Yr Hjalmtysdottir, Dagny Edda Þorisdottir, Bjorn G. Sigurdsson, Arnar David Jónsson, by mere three pins, 793-790, to advance to the title match.

Malta, the only team that averaged over 200 in the six-game preliminaries (4864 pins; 202.67 avg.) to earn the No. 1 seed, flew past No. 4 Luxembourg, with Catherine Chesney, Nora Turci, Alain Lieners, David Manderscheid, in the semi-finals, 850-686.

Malta earned the No. 1 seed in all events but Mixed Doubles, including a 1, 3 and 1, 2 finish in women’s and men’s All-Events.

No medals were given in All-Events which served as qualifying for the Masters finals. The top 4 women and the top 4 men with the highest 18-game totals in Mixed Doubles, Doubles and Mixed Team event advanced to the semi-finals.

There were no changes in women’s All-Events on Saturday. Sue Abela led wire-to-wire and finished with 3643 total and an average of 202.39 for 18 games. No other woman averaged over 200.

Abela will take on Nandia Irodotou, who took the fourth and last place with 3312 (184.00). In the other semi-final match, Magna Yr Hjalmtysdottir (3493; 194.06) will take on Sara Xuereb (3426; 190.33).

Mauro Anastasi leaped from fourth to first place in men’s All-Events thanks to the field-best 1309 series in the Team preliminaries. Anastasi toppled 3865 pins, an average of 214.72, to beat out team mate Justin Caruana Scicluna (3847) for the top seed by 18 pins.

Arnar David Jónsson fell one spot to third place with 3834 and will take on Scicluna in the semi-finals. Previous leader Neoklis Erodotou fell to fourth place with 3721 behind an 1106 series and will meet Anastasi in the other semi-final match.

The Masters finals will conclude the Small Nations Cup Saturday afternoon from 5.30 to 6.30 p.m. The semi-final winners bowl for gold and silver and the losers share bronze. All matches are one game matches.

Starting in 2017 the European Tenpin Bowling Federation’s Small Nations Cup will be conducted biennially. The inaugural SNC will be held from March 15-19, 2017 at the Rose’n’Bowl, an 18-laner in Serravalle in the Republic of San Marino.

European countries with a population under 1 million can participate in the Small Nations Cup. Each participating country is represented by a team of two female and two male competitors.

Players from five countries, Cyprus, Iceland, Luxembourg, Malta and San Marino, compete for gold, silver and bronze medals in Mixed Doubles, men’s and women’s Doubles, Mixed Team and men’s and women’s Masters in the three-day event.

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1st Small Nations Cup 2017 – Mixed Team Medal Round

Rose’n’Bowl in Serravalle, San Marino (March 18, 2017)

Championship Round:
1. Malta (Sue Abela, Sara Xuereb, Mauro Anastasi, Justin Caruana Scicluna), 1699 (2 games)
2. Cyprus (Neoklis Erodotou, Nandia Irodotou, Niki Schiza, Ioannis Konstantinou), 1503 (2 games)
3. Iceland (Magna Yr Hjalmtysdottir, Dagny Edda Þorisdottir, Bjorn G. Sigurdsson, Arnar David Jónsson), 790 (1 game)
Luxembourg (Catherine Chesney, Nora Turci, Alain Lieners, David Manderscheid), 686 (1 game)

Pictured above from left to right: Small Nations Cup Mixed Team medalists Cyprus (silver), Malta (gold), Iceland (bronze) and Luxembourg (bronze).

Playoff Results:
Semi-final Match 1:
No. 1 Malta (Abela 195/Xuereb 207/Anastasi 203/Scicluna 245) def.
No. 4 Luxembourg (Chesney 165/Turci 210/Lieners 164/Manderscheid 147), 850-686
Semifinal Match 2:
No. 3 Cyprus (Erodotou 187/Irodotou 219/Schiza 209/Konstantinou 178) def.
No. 2 Iceland (Hjalmtysdottir 156/Þorisdottir 174/Sigurdsson 226/Jónsson 234), 793-790
Gold Medal Match:
Malta (Abela 246/Xuereb 169/Anastasi 231/Scicluna 203) def.
Cyprus (Erodotou 185/Irodotou 172/Schiza 171/Konstantinou 182), 849-710.

1st Small Nations Cup 2017 – Mixed Team Preliminaries

Top 4 advance to the medal round. No 1 bowls No. 4 and No 2 takes on No. 3 in the semi-finals.

1st Small Nations Cup 2017 – Women’s All-Events (final)

No medals given. Top 4 advance to match play Masters.

1st Small Nations Cup 2017 – Men’s All-Events (final)

No medals given. Top 4 advance to match play Masters.

Herbert Bickel

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