Mildura’s Rory Jowett, 16, is a rising star on the Eight Ball scene. He helped his South Australian team to their first Australian Eight Ball Association Junior National Teams Championship in 13 years, while also making the final of the national Under 18 Boys division.
Photo: PAUL MENSCH

By MITCH RODD

HELPING South Australia break a 13-year eight-ball national title drought was a sweet sensation for Rory Jowett.

The Mildura 16-year-old and his SA teammates surprised perennial champions Queensland in the final of the recent 2020 Australian Eight Ball Association Junior National Teams Championship in Albury.

One of the ‘elder statesmen’ of the squad, Rory scored two victories to lead the combination of Under 12, Under 15 and Under 18 players to their first Australian title since 2007, winning 14 to 10.

It was almost the perfect event for the young gun, however he fell just short of winning the Under 18 Singles title, being beaten by SA teammate Danyal Porter 6-3.

The result sees the 2018 Under 15 Australian champion join a strong national squad for the World Championships in Blackpool, England.

Rory said knocking over the almost unstoppable Queensland outfit in the Teams grand final was a proud moment.

“Queensland had won the last two years in a row, and before that they had about eight titles in 10 years,” he said.

“In the past our team hasn’t been strong, although when we lost two years ago we probably had the better team.

“We were thinking ‘just try your hardest and do your best’, it’s the way everyone thinks against Queensland.

“I only had to play two of my three games as we already had the win secured, but I won both of mine.”

Rory was in hot form for the finals, winning head-to-head contests against Holly Jane Va’aelua and Lockie Smith in SA’s 14-7 preliminary final win over Western Australia, before knocking over Maroons Nikolas Burnett and Joseph McClintock.

As well as sitting equal at the top of the stack in scoring statistics for the Teams event, he also led the way in the Singles.

Rory admitted he was disappointed not to win, but said his teammate Porter “deserved it”.

“He played well, and if you are going to lose to anyone, your State teammate is probably the best person,” he said.

“I have one more year in the Under 18 comps so I’m hoping I can get that title next year.

“I won the National Under 15 title two years ago, but last year was quite tough making the step up in age groups. I finished in seventh, but there were some really good players still in the Under 18’s that have now taken the next step up.

“State Black Ball titles are coming up in a few weeks, but I’m most excited about the Worlds in Blackpool. We have a really good team this year, one that could potentially bring home the World title.”