Eenech coup catapults dormant Delicata to top spot

At first she lay low, topping her qualifying group by the narrowest of margins. Facing Mario Saliba in the quarter-finals, she stepped up a gear, defeating the three-time National Champion with a solid +400 average game score. She then went a notch higher with a comfortable semi-final win that allowed her to advance to the final. 


And despite coming up against the mighty twelve-time National Champion, Theresa Brousson, and losing the first of the best-of-5 game encounter, the crescendo by Moira Fenech (seen in photo) was not arrested as she took the following three games to take the crown of Rich Red Spring League champion and show a quick mastery of the new CSW19 lexicon.


The surge by Fenech goes further back in time. By the end of the 2018 season, she had gained over a hundred rating points to cement her position as one of Malta's top and fastest-rising players. Although getting off to a bad start to the current season, Fenech bounced back, with this latest exploit of hers now lifting her above her historic peak rating of 1617 to 1639.   


Another initial low lier, Kevin Pirotta started off ranked eighth and scraped through to the knock-out stage as the first best third placed. Here he beat third seed Josephine Mayo in straight games and rose up the rankings to place third overall and move up nearer the middle of the ratings ladder


Mayo made up for her premature elimination by placing first in the round-robin between,quarter-final losers, ahead of another early casualty, Christine Strawbridge. 


Pirotta confirmed his ascendancy in the Pale Pink Spring League where he topped the standings of the premier group, ahead of Frans Farrugia. In the B Group, Alfred Xuereb rose to the top, one higher than Maria Scicluna. Xuereb was unlucky not to repeat himself in the C Section of the Rich Red Spring League, where Albert Zammit beat him to first place by a hairline three spread points.


But none lay lower than six-time National Champion David Delicata, who did not play at all in either Spring League. Thanks to Fenech's triumph, Delicata rises to the summit of the National Player Ratings List as Brousson falls one down. 


Will the ongoing Summer Leagues, where both Brousson and Delicata are vying for the honours as they prepare to represent Malta in the 2019 WESPAC in India, restore the old order?


Only time will tell.


(penned & published by Nicky Vella Laurenti, photo credit: John Chew)