Bloem youngster makes history at Pool Championships

Mark Steenbok

One of Bloemfontein’s young pool prodigy’s is at it again with his exceptional performance at the South African Nine Ball Championship that took place in Pretoria during the weekend.

The 15-year old Franco Kriel became the youngest in South Africa, to contest in the quarter finals of the championship. The learner from Grey College came up against the eventual champion, François Ellis, and went down by 9-2 and brought his tournament to an end.

The father of Kriel, David Kriel, told Courant taking into consideration that Ellis is a professional player and over 50-years old, makes Kriel’s performance so much more remarkable.

“We are very proud of him. This proofs that if you practice then you will achieve something. The qualification from the group stages was closely contested as it was a mere frame or two that separated those that qualified and those that didn’t,” says Kriel sr.

The nine-ball version is often seen as the dominant version of pool and requires you to play the numbers instead of the colour of the ball. This can be tricky according to Kriel sr.

“No game is the same, because the ball is not packed in the same manner. It is quite unique because you have to play the next number instead of the color,” says Kriel.

Franco Kriel has already cemented his sport as a talented individual, with an impressive tally of five South African championships to his name.

He is the current u.14 SA Blackball champions, SA u.17 and u.19 nine-ball championship. He also the SA Six reds and Fifteen Reds champion.

Snooker runs in the Kriel family, with father David Kriel often seen coaching at snooker events, while David’s older brother, Zander Kriel, is a current professional pool player who travels around the country for matches.

Two other Free State Junior players, Nasie Kotze and  Rocco Kotze, also performed admirably at the Nine Ball Championship.