POOL: Rowland aims high in bid to reach the top

Ben Rowland is hoping to continue his climb through the pool ranks

Ben Rowland is hoping to continue his climb through the pool ranks

First published in Sport Bicester Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy Sports Editor. Call me on 01865 425457

Ben Rowland, one of the country’s most promising young players, wants to follow in the foosteps of Mark Selby and become a double world champion.

The 15-year-old, from Sto-ckey End, Abingdon, already plays for the England under 18 team, less than three years after taking up the sport.

Rowland, the youngest member of the team, has not only played for his country, but helped them win two tournaments in six months.

“I can’t wait to leave school and devote more time to the sport,” said Rowland, also an accomplished snooker player.

“Mark Selby went from becoming a world pool champion to the best in snooker, and I would love to do the same.”

Rowland started playing pool for fun at the nearby Peachcroft Social Club, Abingdon, in 2011 and since then has been a regular member of the club’s team in the Oxfordshire League.

However, in his search for improvement, he has now joined the Midget in Abing-don, who play in the Premier Division.

In 2012 he was picked for the Oxfordshire junior C team and then in March last year, played at the national youth finals in Selsey and received two trophies for best C team player and most improved player.

He has now made it to Oxfordshire’s junior A team and has been picked for the senior C team.

Rowland was asked to attend trials for the England under 18s side by Maria Hawkins, the team manager, and played brilliantly to earn selection.

On his international debut, Rowland helped England to win a tournament in Malta in November 2013, having been given time off to compete by John Mason School, Abingdon.

But the highlight of his short, but burgeoning pool career came when he competed in the European Under 18 Championships in Brid-lington.

With the final against Scotland standing at 12-12, Ben won the decider to give England a thrilling victory.

He said: “I think I was put in that position, because I’m quite good under pressure. It was a brilliant experience.”

He added: “I’d like to earn a living from the sport.

“There is some money at the top of pool and also in snooker.

“My aim is to keep improving and see how it goes. Following in Mark Selby’s footsteps would be my ultimate aim.”

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