The MTBA Youth and Junior Championships were played at the Eden SuperBowl recently with 40 young hopefuls taking part, all vying for the coveted titles in the U-12, U-16 and U-23 categories.

The winners in the U-12 division – Shadon Psaila and Martina Pisani – were decided on straight total pinfall after eight games played over two days.

The tournament for juniors was competed over two days and 12 games.

Matthew Magro certainly did not take long to show his winning intentions as he shot a 1,069 on day one to take the early lead. That put him 71 ahead of defending champion Kurt Attard (998) while Dylan Santillo was third on 872.

Magro really came into his own on day two, however, shooting an inspired 1,144 for a final total of 2,213 to claim victory.

Attard remained second with 1,958 while third place was taken by U-12 winner Psaila.

There was a similar case of domination in the girls’ competition as Sara Xuereb laid an early claim to the title with a great 1,166 on day one, putting her top and 84 pins ahead of elder sister Raquel (1,082).

The positional status quo remained throughout day two, with Xuereb showing fine consistency for a 1,117 session and a title-clinching total of 2,283.

Raquel Xuereb took the silver ahead of Gabriella Zahra.

After the 12 qualifying games for the U-23 division, double-defending champion Philip Gruppetta topped the men’s list thanks to a 2,365 total followed by Matthew Magro, 2,213, and Kyle Burke, 2179.

They were joined in the Round Robin stage by Luke Burke (2,138), Daniel Magro (2,106) and Shaun Montanaro (2,090).

The six qualifiers started the day with only 50 per cent of their prior pinfall intact, and it was underdog Montanaro who was out to impress, winning four of his five encounters to go top and book a place in the final.

Matthew Magro held on to second place while an out-of-sorts Gruppetta only managed one victory to slip to third but enough for him to claim the last spot in the Stepladder Finals.

Magro and Gruppetta faced off in the semi-final that went 202-161 for the holder who went on to face Montanaro in the medal match.

Gruppetta won the opener 202-185 to force a decider which also went his way 224-188.

The top female U-23 qualifier after round one was Sara Xuereb (2,283) with Raquel Xuereb second (2,065) and Alessia Schembri third (1,990). The other three qualifiers were Michaela Briffa, Juliana Bonanno and Raisa Briffa.

Raquel Xuereb came out with all guns blazing to win all five of her encounters, including great games of 192, 200 and 214.

That handed her the top spot and a place in the final.

Sara Xuereb had to settle for second place but she produced a stunning 236 against Schembri’s 169 to reach the final against sister Raquel.

Sara Xuereb easily claimed the first game, 181-135. Game two was closer, but it was the younger Xuereb sibling who won through in a 178-157, mirroring Gruppetta’s achievement of three U-23 titles in a row.

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