27th of September 2023
Qualifiers for the Lions Tour to South Africa will be held in March 2012.
LIONS CONQUER MALTA - NOW FOR SOUTH AFRICA?
AFTER a historic series win in Australia last October, the British Lions were anxious to maintain their winning form during a week long trip to Malta.
And they did just that, rounding off an excellent stay on the George Cross Island with a 17-7 Test win over their hosts.
It was another great performance by Wayne Smith's squad who also played warm-up games against local representative sides.
And while the Lions defeated Top Guns 15-9, they started their stay with a 16-8 defeat to a strong team from St Georges.
However, both fixtures were great preparation for the game against former European champions, Malta.
And despite split loyalties local hero Clayton Attard represented the Lions as he had done with distinction Down Under.
Maverick Zammit gave the hosts the perfect start before Attard, Jason Murgatroyd and Smith defeated Antoine Aquilina, Johan Attard and Clint Azzopardi.
A 3-1 scoreline became 6-1 as Gavin Lomax, Paul Hawkins and Liam Stanley played solidly to beat Marjus Catt, Mario Brincat and Christ Mills.
Ivan Rizzo, who famously knocked out Mick Hill at the 2002 WEPF World 8-Ball Championships, pulled one back for the home side, defeating Scott Waring.
The second session started with the Lions roaring to the opening seven frames through: Attard, Murgatroyd, Smith, Matthew, Lomax, Hawkins and Stanley.
Marjus Catt defeated Waring to reduce the arrears to 13-3 going into the final session.
Mathew made it 14-3 over Rizzo, Azzopardi beat Murgatroyd (14-4) while Attard continued his good form against Zammit. (15-4).
Malta won the next two frames through Johan Attard and Mills, beating Smith and Lomax before Hawkins and Stanley won both their games. The last word, however, went to Malta with Mario Brincat defeating the unlucky Waring for a 17-7 final score.
Player of the week for the Lions was Jason Murgatroyd who won seven of his nine frames.
Wayne Smith 9/ 5
In addition to the Test, a 32-man singles competition was won by Johan Attard beating Smith 8-5.
Future plans for the Lions includes a tour to South Africa later this year and potentially games against several emerging East African pool playing nations.
Indeed, the presence of the Lions would give the game a major shot in the arm in Kenya and Uganda.
Certainly talks are well advanced for South Africa where it's envisaged playing internationals in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
This will be the third visit by a UK side but the first by the Lions whose numbers could be supplemented by ladies and over 50's representatives.
It's also planned to hold a Lions versus Rest of the World contest during this summer's World Championships at Blackpool.
And while the same cuemen have competed in Australia and Malta-the latter trip players paying their own air fares-qualifiers will be held towards selecting future Lions teams.
Indeed, interest is certain to be high as in 2013 the Lions will return to Australia to mark the 20th anniversary of the forming of the World 8-Ball Pool Federation.
Lions on Tour to Malta
British Lions Tour Report – Malta Test Match
Match against Malta National Team
The test match started with Malta taking a 1 – 0 lead, as Darren Matthew lost to Maverick Zammit who cleared from a mistake by Darren. The Lions then cleared from the break in the next three frames as Clayton Attard, Jason Murgatroyd and Wayne Smith beat Antoine Aquilina, Johan Attard and Clint Azzopardi for a 3 – 1 score line to the Lions. The Lions then won the next three frames with Gavin Lomax, Paul Hawkins and Liam Stanley playing some solid pool beating Marjus Catt, Mario Brincat and Christ Mills. Ivan Rizo of Malta pulled a frame back by beating Scott Waring to give the Lions a 6 – 2 first session lead.
The second session started with the Lions winning the first seven frames as Clayton Attard, Jason Murgatroyd, Wayne Smith, Darren Matthew, Gavin Lomax, Paul Hawkins and Liam Stanley all won to give the Lions a 13 – 2 lead and the victory after playing some quality pool and clearing at their first opportunity every time. Scott Waring was unlucky to lose the last frame as Marjus Catt recorded his second frame leaving the Lions to lead the match at 13 – 3.
The Lions played superb in this match and deserved their victory over a very strong Malta team. The score line of 17- 7 will certainly give Malta something to think about as the Lions go from strength to strength.
Player of the week for the Lions was Jason Murgatroyd who won 7 from 9 frames.
Wayne Smith 3 / 2
Wayne Smith 9/ 5
Malta 7 v 17 British Lions
Match against Malta Top Guns
The second match started with the Top guns taking a 1 – 0 lead, as Darren Matthew lost to Clint Azzopordi who cleared from the break. The Lions then kicked in with three quick frames as Clayton Attard, Gavin Lomax and Wayne Smith (Break and Dish) beat Maverick Zammit, Leydon Debono and Ivan Rizo. Top guns hit back with wins for Antoine Cluscheri and Marcel Micallef over Paul Hawkins and Scott Waring. The session ended with Jason Murgatroyd beating Miguel Falzon who was unlucky to go in off on the black. The match was now drawn at 4 – 4 after the first session.
The second session started with the Lions winning the first three frames as Clayton Attard, Gavin Lomax and Wayne Smith beat Clint Azzopordi, Maverick Zammit and Ivan Rizo for a 7 – 4 scoreline. The Lions then lost the next 2 frames after missing good chances as the Top Guns of Layden Dobono and Antoine Cluscheri beat Darren Matthew and Jason Murgatroyd. The Lions hit back well by winning the last three frames as Liam Stanley, Scott Waring and Paul Hawkins beat Marcel Micallef, Twanny Misfud and Miguel Falzon to give the Lions a commanding 10 – 6 lead.
The Lions played much better in this match and deserved their victory over a very strong Top Gun team. The score line of 15- 9 will give them plenty of confidence for the match against Malta on Thursday night.
Wayne Smith 3 / 3
Top Guns 9 v 15 British Lions
British Lions Tour Report – Match 1
Match against St Georges
The first match started with the Lions taking a 2 – 0 lead, as Darren Matthew and Jason Murgatroyd beat Wayne Bonnia and Mario Cutajar. St Georges kicked into gear as they took the first session 6 – 2 with wins from Christ Mills, Ray Demanrude, Jason Misfud, Stephen Mangion, Kevin Mercieea and Johan Attard The Lions missed many chances to win this session.
The second session started with both teams sharing the first two frames as Jason Murgatroyd beat Christ Mills and Darren Matthew losing to Ray Demanrude for a 7 – 3 scoreline. The Lions then lost the next 3 frames after missing good chances, St Georges had a commanding lead of 10 – 3. Liam Stanley won a solid frame against Kevin Merciea but more mistakes from Scott Waring and Paul Hawkins left the scoreline at 12 – 4 in favour of St Georges.
The third session started well for the Lions as Darren Matthew and Jason Murgatroyd beat Johan Attard and Ray Demanrude. The match was finally won by St Georges as Mario Cutajar beat Gavin Lomax with a Break and clear, quickly followed by wins from Kevin Mercieea over Wayne Smith and Christ Mills over Liam Stanley. The last two frames were shared as Paul Hawkins beat Jason Misfud while Scott Waring lost to Stephen Mangion for a well deserved victory to St Georges at 16 frames to 8.
The Lions made far too many errors in this match and could easily have won it if they took those chances, but St Georges did what they needed to do and having quite a few Internationals in their side made the difference in the end.
Wayne Smith 3 / 0
St Georges 16 v 8 British Lions