The sport of Eight Ball (or pool, as it’s commonly called) developed in Australia, from very humble beginnings.
Whilst various forms of Pool had been played for a number of years, the catalyst for Eight Ball (pool) in Australia, was the introduction in approximately 1965, into Hotels and Clubs throughout the country, of the smaller 7’ x 3’6” billiard table.
- The initial popularity of this new form of sport, very quickly found converts who were looking for an alternative to the traditional Hotel/Club game of darts.
- Before very long, in a great many venues, clubs were formed. Often nearby clubs had regular “challenge matches”.
- From there developed the formation of Leagues and/or associations, whereby club members were able to compete in regular competition matches.
- Nearly all of these early leagues and/or associations were manned by volunteers – as is mainly the case, to this day.
- By the late 1970’s, it was felt by a great many involved in the game, that two areas were of great concern and were holding back the progress of the sport.
- The many versions of the playing rules.
- The public and media concept of the sport i.e. “it’s that game that is played in Public bars of hotels / mis-spent youth, etc. Yet! Despite these two very real handicaps, the game flourished.
- By the early 1980’s it was estimated some 20,000 –25,000 people were participating weekly in organised competition matches, with many thousands playing the game purely as a social pastime.
- The big break-through came via the “Eight Ball Association of south Australia” who issued invitations to all known 8-ball (pool) leagues/associations throughout Australia, to attend a meeting – to be held in Adelaide in November, 1983 – with the proposal of the formation of an Australian body being formed and the conducting of annual Australian championships.
- Attending that inaugural meeting in Adelaide, November, 1983 were representative from – South Australia; Queensland; Western Australia; Victoria and Tasmania. Northern Territory, forwarding a letter in support for the proposals.
- The outcome of this inaugural meeting, saw the official formation of the Australian
Eight Ball Federation Incorporated (AEBF), with the five (5) States and Northern
Territory being foundation members.
- New South Wales becoming members in 1987, followed by the Australian Capital
Territory in 1990.
The objects of the AEBF were/are:-
- Creation of a higher public profile for the sport.
- Standardisation of a set of playing rules.
- Conducting annual Australian Eight – Ball Championships
- Establishment of a Development Plan
- To contact and exchange ideas, with international bodies regarding 8-Ball
- Establishment of a Coaching Accreditation Scheme
- Establishment of a Umpire’s accreditation Scheme
- Investigate the possibility of this sport being granted Olympic Games status
- To date, all of the above have either been achieved, or are subject to on-going attention.
- Playing rules were standardised in 1984 throughout Australia (although, taking some time, as was expected) for the majority to adopt.
- Australian 8-Ball Championships (Nationals) were first held in Adelaide in November, 1984. They consisted of the following three events:-
- Open (men) – singles; Doubles and Teams.
Singles consisted – Best of 7 Frames, with a round Robin Format.
Doubles were Best of 5 Frames, with a Round Robin Format.
Teams events consisted of 8 players, Best of 3 Frames, (8 singles and 4 Doubles matches). Round Robin Format.
1989 saw the introduction of a Women’s Singles event into the Nationals.
1990 Women’s Doubles were introduced.
1992 Women’s Teams event introduced – bringing to 6 events (Titles) at each National Championship.
1993 saw the Format of Teams events alter to consist of:-Open 32 frames Round Robin; Ladies – 24 frames Round Robin.
2001 saw the singles move from 1 State representative being able to play in the singles events, to an open format, where all players in a State open team could play in an Open Australian singles title, with the women also having the same option, playing for an Australian women’s singles title
2002 marked the last year that Open and Women’s Doubles were to be played, to make way for a new format in the teams event
2003 saw the Open and Women’s teams play a full round robin twice (Home and Away) and the frames reduced from 32 to24 for the Open and 24 to 18 for the women’s matches, with a final 3 making up the finals format at the end of the round robin
2006 saw the final 3 format extended out to a final 4 where it currently remains
Since, that time, states/territories, have hosted, in the following order:- “Appendix A”
- A further development was the staging of Australian Junior 8-Ball Championships.
These have been held in the following areas:- “Appendix B”
- On completion of the Australian 8-Ball Championships (Nationals), an Australian
Team is selected. From 1984 up until 1989, this consisted of 12 players from the Open events. In 1989 – a woman was also selected to represent Australia.
With the introduction in 1992 of Women’s Teams event into the Nationals, two Australian Teams are selected – 1 being 12 players from the Open events and 1 being 6 players from the Women’s events.
- Contact with overseas organizations i.e. England, America and New Zealand had been made during 1989.
- This in turn in 1990 led to the first International match for Australian Team players.
- This event was held in Hamilton, New Zealand against a New Zealand Chartered
Clubs 8-Ball Council Team. These international matches were also a first for
New Zealand Team members. The Team consisted of 12 male players with 1 female player from each country competing for the Ladies Title.
* The series of five (5) Test Matches, which consisted of both Open and Women’s Singles, plus Open Doubles and Open Teams events, were extremely successful and have become a annual event. In 1991 New Zealand travelled to the Gold Coast Queensland to contest the event. The event being known as the Trans
Tasman 8-Ball Series competing for the Clancy Cup.
At the time (1990) there was no international set of playing rules for 8-ball.
2 matches were conducted under Australian Rules, 2 under New Zealand
Rules with the 5th match finally being held under New Zealand Rules.
Australia having already clinched the series having won the first 4 matches.
- Following on from this inaugural international series between Australia and New Zealand, correspondence between ruling bodies of various countries, increased dramatically.
- Most bodies looking forward to the day when an international set of playing Rules would be adopted by all.
- International (World) titles being held on an annual basis.
- In 1992, Australia issued an invitation to England to attend a challenge match in Perth,
Western Australia (1 week prior to Australian Nationals) As Australia was also due in 1992 to travel to New Zealand for the now annual Trans Tasman Series, we were fortunate to be able to convince New Zealand to return to Australia (twice in 2 years), to enable the event to become a Tri-International Series (during which Australia would compete against New Zealand for the Clancy Cup)
- This was later to prove, as an historic moment in the sport of 8-Ball, world –wide.
- To ensure the acceptance by the English Pool Association, both Australia and New Zealand offered to compete under the current playing rules of England (which at the time neither country had played – only read – the English rules).
- August 16,1993 – Manchester, England, saw the first day of competition in the inaugural World Eight Ball Pool Federation’s World Championships.
Countries involved in this great event were:-
England: Australia: New Zealand: France: Ireland: Belgium: Hungary:
Hong Kong: Scotland and Wales. The inaugural championships consisted of the
- Open Singles (maximum of 4 players per country)
- Open Teams (9 players per country.
- Ladies Singles (1 representative only, per country).
- Teams format, 9 players, single frame against 3 different opponents.
- 1994 saw the event increased by 1 additional female representative per country (now 2).
- Introduction of a World Junior 8-Ball Championship (maximum 2 representatives per country – under 18 years).
- Further 5 countries participating in 1994 i.e. Channel Islands: Netherlands: Spain: West Indies and Ireland.
- 1994 Open Singles format, altered slightly to enable a maximum of 9 players
from each country to participate (using up all Team Members).
Note: Following on from the first World Championships, England was granted
Host for the next 3 years (until after 1995), owing to sponsorship agreements.
- 1993 – Playing rules of the World Eight Ball Pool Federation used in Australia for the first time.
- 1993 – Structure of the AEBF Nationals Teams event, adapted to fit into the WEPF’S method of conducting events, with the exception we use 8 players, single frame, against 4 different opponents.
- The AEBF adopts the WEPF playing rules for Australia.
- The AEBF stages the 1994 Australian 8-Ball Championships (Nationals) under the Paying rules of the WEPF.
- 1995 – Mathew Franceschini of Western Australia wins the World Junior Singles Championships.
- South Africa joins the WEPF.
- Teams Event won by the AEBF at the 1996 World Championships.
Australian Juniors: Ben Crawley of Northern Territory wins the World Junior Singles Championship with Mark Warry of South Australia taking second place.
With some 33,000 – 35,000 (2015) 8-Ball pool players registered and some estimated 2 million non-registered players, within Australia. Registered players numbering 90 million, in all pool games, throughout the world – this sport of Eight Ball – is indeed headed for a great future.