Justin Caruana SciclunaJustin Caruana Scicluna

The eighth annual MTBA Masters was played recently at the Eden Superbowl and saw Justin Caruana Scicluna clinch this year’s honours by a single, solitary pin.

There were eight qualifiers in all from the initial eight-game session – Sara Xuereb, Joanna Attard, Mark Muscat, Claude Camilleri, Amanda Cini, Philippe Vancell, Tiziana Carannante and Cynthia Duca.

Step One also meant a start for four seeded bowlers – Rankin Camilleri, Neil Sullivan, Dennis Mercieca and Sue Abela.

Sullivan came out on top with a great 1,310 total. He was joined in the next round by Abela (1,212), Attard (1,160) and Xuereb on 1,129.

The top-four seeds – Caruana Scicluna, Mauro Anastasi, Mark Spiteri and Kenneth Arpa – joined in at the quarter-final stage.

Abela finished with a 238 and 218 which, together with her ladies’ bonus of eight per game, placed her first on 886 pins.

Arpa pulled off an 810 series and defending Masters champion Spiteri placed third on 798.

Xuereb was fourth on a 771 total, ahead of Caruana Scicluna on 750, and Anastasi on 749.

The semi-finalists were split into two groups of three. This was where Xuereb’s Masters run came to an end, as her 194 just wasn’t enough.

Anastasi went out in game two with a 175, against a 212 from Arpa who reached the final.

Spiteri (178) was beaten by Abela (233) and Caruana Scicluna (212). The latter got the better of Abela, his mother and mentor, in a 176-189 second game.

The final could not have been closer.

Arpa held a slight advantage right up to frame eight, until his spare in the ninth was met with a strike from his opponent to give Caruana Scicluna an advantage of one pin.

That is the way it stayed as the pair matched each other in frame 10 for a thrilling 223-224 conclusion which rewarded Caruana Scicluna with the Masters title.

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