David Farrugia will return to Malta next weekend with a bronze medal hanging around his neck after finishing third in the Raffa event following a 15-9 victory over Joseph Demanuele in an all-Maltese play-off at the Rocher Boules Club yesterday.
Earlier in the day, Farrugia and Demanuele played in the semi-finals against San Marino players Matteo Albani and Giuseppe Frisoni respectively.
Demanuele succumbed to the experience of eventual gold medallist Frisoni and lost 15-10 as Albani had to dig deep into his reserves to eliminate Farrugia after a tense finale to their semi-final.
Farrugia was trailing 14-8 at one stage but fought on admirably to pull back to 13-14. Albani then tucked in the point required to deny Malta a place in the final. The GSSE Raffa title went to Frisoni. He beat compatriot Albani 15-3.
The play-off for third place looked more like a friendly between the Maltese players who opted for an open game with no particular pressure on their shoulders.
"Playing against my team-mate was the last thing I wanted," Farrugia said.
"But, the most important thing today was not the medal but to show that this game in our country could indeed flourish with a little bit of support from the authorities.
"We tried hard but San Marino fielded two quality players even though the difference on the day wasn't that big."
High-ranking officials from the European Bowls Federation were present for the final and third place play-off.
They were introduced to the Maltese players by Malta federation president Victor Zahra who said the distinguished guests were impressed with the level of the Maltese game.
"We are doing our utmost to promote the sport in our country," Zahra said.
"Surely, we cannot achieve all our goals alone, we need the backing of other organisations. The Italians have promised to help and said they will supply us with two fully-equipped pitches. However, we still don't have the premises where to install them. Hopefully, we'll sort the problem out soon."