History of MDA

The Malta Darts Association was founded on 14th March 1962 with the first ever president Mr. Benny Pace leading the association for a staggering 35 years, with a 2 year break between 1978-1979. A magazine carrying the name “Morning Star” used to be published by Mr. Pace himself which at the time was also the name the association carried which by time changed to Malta Darts Association as its known today.

The first ever committee was composed of Mr. Benny Pace as President, Mr. Louis Florian as General Secretary, Mr. Peter Tonna as Treasurer and Mr. David Manduca & the Bongailas brothers as committee members.

We asked current Vice-President and long time committee member, Mr. Tony Demanuele a couple of questions regarding the rich history of the association …

Q: When was the first playing experience abroad for Maltese players? And who took part?

The first experience was at the World Cup in 1976 which took place in London, England. This event which was organised by Unicorn saw the Maltese contingent finishing in fifth place. Representing Malta were Grezzju Scicluna, Francis Cikku Mifsud, George Borg and Felix Buhagiar. Scicluna and Mifsud made it all the way to the quarter final where they were eventually eliminated by Canada 3-2 with Borg and Buhagiar finishing in seventh place. A year later the World Darts Federation was formed and the first ever “official” World Cup was held at Wembley, England.

Q: In 1990 the WDF European Cup was held in Malta. What memories do you have of this event?

What an event it was! It was held at the Corradino Sports Pavillion in Cospicua with various top players gracing us with their presence. Our national team was composed of Vincent Busuttil (Il-Ħassu), Charles Ghiller, Godfrey Abela and myself with reserve players Joe Zammit and Mario Tonna. In the team event, Malta was eliminated by the Republic of Ireland 9-6 in a match we lead 6-3. In the pairs events, a match that stood out for me was when Maltese pair Busuttil/Ghiller faced two of the all time best, Eric Bristow and John Lowe. The Maltese players performed exceptionally well on the day and managed to force a decider with a couple of darts missed at the double to which the English pair took advantage off to win the tie 4-3. Abela and I were drawn against possibly the best player of all time, Phil Taylor and his partner Bob Anderson. A 4-0 win for the English pair with one of the legs won in 10 darts (Taylor 180, Anderson 180, Taylor 109 to leave 32). England on this occasion dominated as they completed a clean sweep with all 3-titles won by them (Team, Pairs and Singles) with the singles title going to Mr. Phil Taylor who during these championship hit a staggering 57, 180s !!!

Q: How and who created the Malta International Open?

This was created back in the 70s as a number of Maltese players used to travel to England to play various darts competitions with great performances and results achieved and on one particular occasion a gentleman by the name of Mr. Alan Fraskia spotted their talent and got in touch with the Maltese committee at the time to organise an international event here in Malta with the agreement that he would bring various British players with him to this event. Mr. Fraskia himself was the main person responsible for the organisation of this competition as well. At the time this event did not carry ranking points as that was introduced in 1986.

Q: What memorable moments do you cherries and are still talked about by the darts enthusiasts here in Malta?

Wow, so many moments but for me the best memories are when top players used to come to Malta to player against local players. The three names that stand out for me were Leyton Rees, Jocky Wilson and Cliff Lazarenko. To point out as well that all three were defeated by local players … Rees by Frankie Bonnici, Wilson by Charles Ghiller and Lazarenko by yours truly.

Q: How were the national teams performances in the past during WDF World Cup / European Cup and Mediterranean Cup?

During all editions of the Med Cup the Maltese team performed well with the best moment coming in 2003 when the team was crowned champions in Cyprus.Vincent Busuttil and Mario Camilleri won the pairs competition with the later also reaching the final in the singles event. Three medals (2 silver and 1 bronze) during the 2017 edition in France is also quite a feat for our tiny island.

At the European Cup the best performance came in 2016 which was held in Egmond Aan Zee, Holland which saw the Maltese team topping their group with wins over Luxembourg, Iceland and Germany. At the last 16 stage a brave performance by the Maltese team was not enough to defeat a strong Scottish team. In the singles event, Norbert Attard progressed all the way to the semi-final eliminating 2015 World Champion, Scott Mitchell and number 1 ranked WDF player, Darius Labanauskas along the way to claim bronze medal as he was defeated by home favourite and gold medal winner Richard Veenstra.

At the World Cup unfortunately not to many moments to share due to the lack of participation in this event, mainly because of the costs attached especially when the competition is held outside of Europe.

Q: Anything else that you would like to mention?

Yes, a mention has to certainly go to Vincent Busuttil who not a lot of people know that he held the 24th spot in the World Darts Rankings in 1994.

President’s at the Malta Darts Association:

1962 – 1978 – Mr. Benny Pace

1978 – 1979 – Mr. Joseph Pace

1979 – 1993 – Mr. Benny Pace

1993 – 1998 – Mr. Tony Lia

1998 – 2017 – Mr. Edward Paul Bonnici

Some of the clubs taking part in the national competitions back in the 60s:

Tony’s Bar (Msida), Dusfin Bar (Pawla), Uncle Sam (Pawla), Pompeye Arms, Ritz Bar D.C. (Gzira), Jonnie’s Bar (Birzebbugia), City of London (St Julians), Red Lion (Pawla), Z.P.C.C. (Zabbar), Vince Bar (Gzira), Vittoriosa Bar (Senglea), Gigi D.C. (St Julians), Brittania Bar (Gzira), Four Season’s Bar (Birkirkara), Reno’s Bar and more …

Notable players taking part in the national competitions back in the 60s:

Grezzju Scicluna, Cikku Mifsud, Felix Buhagiar, George Borg, Paul Galea, Lorry Galea, George Formosa, Joe Pace, Joseph Grima, John Wright, Brian O’Neil, Eric Day, Mick McKenzie, William Lang and more …

YEARNATIONAL LEAGUE4 A-SIDE CUP5 A-SIDE CUPSUPER CUPMALTA DOUBLESNATIONAL SINGLES CHAMPIONOVERALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR
1962Vittoriosa Barn/an/an/aDavid Fenech/Alfred FenechGeorge Formosan/a
1963Tony`s Bar (Msida)n/aTony`s Bar B (Msida)n/aJoe Borg/Joseph SciberrasJohn Wrightn/a
1964Vince Bar (Gzira)n/aDusfin Bar A (Paola)n/an/an/an/a
1964/65Uncle Sam Bar (Paola)n/aDusfin Bar B (Paola)n/aAndre Diacono/Victor LibreriBrian O’Neilln/a
1965/66Uncle Sam Bar (Paola)n/an/an/an/an/an/a
1966/67Uncle Sam Bar (Paola)n/aUncle Sam Bar (Paola)n/aJoe Pace/Victor LibreriJoe Pacen/a
1967/68Brittania DC (Gzira)n/aDusfin Bar A (Paola)n/aLouis Florian/Emm DimechJoe Griman/a
1968/69Gigi`s DC (St Julians)n/aDusfin Bar B (Paola)n/aReggie Widdich/Ralph GrechMick McKenzien/a
1969/70Ritz Bar (Gzira)n/aRitz Bar (Gzira)n/aEric Day/John MoncurEric Dayn/a
1970/71Ritz Bar (Gzira)n/aJohnnie`s Bar (BBugia)n/aPeter Galea/Paul Galean/a
1972/73Four Seasons Bar (B`Kara)n/aCity of London Bar B (St Julians)n/aVitor Steele/Ron WillmottWilliam Laingn/a
1973/74Black Cat (Senglea)n/aZ.P.C.C. A (Zabbar)n/aMichael Carr/Paul GaleaFrancis Mifsudn/a
1974/75Z.P.C.C. A (Zabbar)n/aRed Lion A (Zabbar)n/aRon Hindle/Lorry GaleaFrank Bonnicin/a
1975/76Zejtun Corinthians FCn/aRed Lion A (Zabbar)n/aCharles Bugeja/Saviour CiantarFrancis MifsudUnknown
1976/77City of London Bar (St Julians)n/aZ.P.C.C. A (Zabbar)n/aTony Schembri/Charles AbelaGrezzju ScicilunaUnknown
1977/78Victoria United (Hamrun)n/aBlack Cat (Senglea)n/aTony Schembri/Charles AbelaReno MannaraLorry Galea
1978/79Victoria United (Hamrun)n/aBlack Cat (Senglea)n/an/an/aDavid Manduca
1979/80Victoria United (Hamrun)n/aVictoria United B (Hamrun)n/aJohn Spiteri/Emm GafaJohn MagroDomenic Cachia
1980/81Black Cat (Senglea)n/aBlack Cat (Senglea)n/aTony Borg/Joe CallejaDomenic CachiaUnknown
1981/82Black Cat (Senglea)n/aSan Gaetano DC (Hamrun)n/aLorry Galea/Sylvester ZammitDomenic CachiaJoseph Darmanin
1982/83San Gaetano DC (Hamrun)n/aBlack Cat (Senglea)n/aReno Manara/Tony DemanueleTony GennoveseDomenic Cachia
1983/84Black Cat (Senglea)n/aBlack Cat (Senglea)n/aAlfred Desira/Frank BonniciStephen CaruanaTony Genovese
1984/85Black Cat (Senglea)n/aGolden Harvest Satnas (Hamrun)n/aCharles Meilaq/Mark AzzopardiDomenic CachiaUnknown
1985/86Black Cat (Senglea)n/aBlack Cat (Senglea)n/aCharles Ghiller/Lorry GaleaCharles GhillerLorry Galea
1986/87Black Cat (Senglea)n/aBlack Cat (Senglea)n/aVincent Busuttil/Paul FrendoCharles GhillerCharles Ghiller
1987/88Black Cat (Senglea)n/aBlack Cat (Senglea)n/aVincent Busuttil/Tony GenoveseVincent BusuttilUnknown
1988/89Black Cat (Senglea)n/aSan Gaetano DC (Hamrun)n/aGodfrey Abela/Alfred DesiraJoe TagliaferroUnknown
1989/90Ta` Paris SC (B`Kara)n/aWaterline (Marsaskala)n/aJoe Zammit/Tony DemanueleVincent BusuttilDomenic Cachia
1990/91Waterline (Marsaskala)n/aWaterline (Marsaskala)n/aVincent Busuttil/Charles GhillerVincent BusuttilUnknown
1991/92Beland BC (Zejtun)n/aBeland BC (Zejtun)n/aVincent Busuttil/Joe MalliaVincent BusuttilVincent Busuttil
1992/93Beland BC (Zejtun)n/aSouthern Cross (Zabbar)n/aNoel Ebejer/Joe TagliaferroVincent BusuttilGodfrey Abela
1993/94Jesmond SC (Hamrun)n/aJesmond SC (Hamrun)n/aVincent Busuttil/Charles GhillerVincent BusuttilUnknown
1994/95Beland BC (Zejtun)n/aJesmond SC A (Hamrun)n/aGodfrey Abela/Noel EbejerGodwin CesarioVincent Busuttil
1995/96Jesmond SC (Hamrun)n/aJesmond SC A (Hamrun)n/aEmm Ciantar/Alfred DesiraVincent BusuttilGodfrey Abela
1996/97Beland BC (Zejtun)n/aJesmond SC (Hamrun)Godfrey AbelaGodfrey Abela/Noel EbejerGordon StanmoreVincent Busuttil
1997/98Jesmond SC (Hamrun)n/aTa` Giorni (St Julians)Vincent BusuttilGordon Stanmore/John DemicoliVincent BusuttilGodfrey Abela
1998/99Beland BC (Zejtun)n/aBeland BC (Zejtun)Emm CiantarTony Demanuele/John DemicoliJoe CaruanaVincent Busuttil
1999/00Ta` Giorni (St Julians)n/aBeland BC A (Zejtun)Joe CaruanaJulian Bonello/Paul AquilinaUnknownGodfrey Abela
2000/01Beland BC (Zejtun)n/aPO`s Bar B (Gudja)Paul AquilinaEmm Ciantar/Alfred DesiraVincent BusuttilJoe Caruana
2001/02Jesmond SC (Hamrun)Jesmond SC (Hamrun)Beland BC A (Zejtun)Paul AquilinaVincent Busuttil/Charles GhillerJoe CaruanaJoe Caruana
2002/03Pawla Wolves SCMqabba Lily BCPawla Wolves SCJoe CaruanaVincent Busuttil/Charles GhillerVincent BusuttilJoe Caruana
2003/04Mqabba Lily BCMqabba Lily BCPawla Wolves SCCharles GhillerVincent Busuttil/Charles GhillerJoe CaruanaJoe Caruana
2004/05Jesmond SC (Hamrun)Mqabba Lily BC AMqabba Lily BCVincent BusuttilVincent Busuttil/Charles GhillerMario CamilleriJoe Caruana
2005/06Pawla Wolves SCPawla Wolves SCPawla Wolves SCMario CamilleriGodfrey Abela/Gordon StanmoreAlfred DesiraCharles Ghiller
2006/07Pawla Wolves SCPawla Wolves SCZabbar SouthcliffGodwin CesarioMario Camilleri/Julian BonelloVincent BusuttilGordon Stanmore
2007/08Pawla Wolves SCJesmond SC (Hamrun)Jesmond SC (Hamrun)John CiantarChris Cohen/George MizziVincent BusuttilAlfred Desira
2008/09Pawla Wolves SCJesmond SC (Hamrun)Pawla Wolves SCCharles GhillerVincent Busuttil/Gordon StanmoreJohn CiantarGodfrey Abela
2009/10Pawla Wolves SCJesmond SC (Hamrun)Mosta ShanghaiMario CamilleriGodfrey Abela/ John CiantarGodfrey AbelaGordon Stanmore
2010/11Floriana AjaxPawla Wolves SCFloriana AjaxJohn CiantarDarren Vassallo/Charles AttardChris CohenVincent Busuttil
2011/12Marsa St MichaelsFloriana AjaxFloriana AjaxJohn CiantarAlbert Scerri/Stephen GrimaGodfrey AbelaJohn Ciantar
2012/13Pawla Wolves SCMarsa St. MichaelsFloriana AjaxNorbert AttardGordon Stanmore/John CiantarGordon StanmoreNorbert Attard
2013/14Floriana AjaxMarsa St. MichaelsFloriana AjaxAlbert ScerriAlbert Scerri/Mario CamilleriNorbert AttardNorbert Attard
2014/15Floriana AjaxKalkara St JosephKalkara St JosephKevin SpiteriAlbert Scerri/Kevin SpiteriAndy KeenAlbert Scerri
2015/16Kalkara St JosephMarsa St. MichaelsMarsa St. MichaelsAlbert ScerriNorbert Attard/David AttardNorbert AttardNorbert Attard
2016/17Kalkara St JosephFloriana AjaxFloriana AjaxAlbert ScerriNorbert Attard/David AttardNorbert AttardAlbert Scerri