TEN months away from the lanes has done nothing to stop Warners Bay’s Jake Cromie rolling his rivals to become the kingpin of Australian junior bowling.
Cromie, who turned 18 in March, blitzed his competition to win the national junior championships at Tenpin City Lidcombe in Sydney from April 7 to 21.
He won 12 of 13 games in taking the title, racking up a highest score of 269 and an average of 216.23.
His nearest rival, Queenslander Sean Bowling, who he defeated in the final, averaged 192.1.
He beat Bowling 662-508 in the decider.
It was Cromie’s last chance to win the junior title and came only five months after he returned to tenpin bowling following a 10-month break to concentrate on his plumbing apprenticeship.
‘‘I was hoping I’d get it, with it being my last year and all,’’ Cromie said.
‘‘It feels good.
‘‘It opens another window now, to keep going with it after my apprenticeship.’’
He said he ‘‘didn’t play at all during break’’ but was confident of playing well after bowling a perfect game in March and training well under coach Peter Zambelis since returning.
But Cromie was still shocked at the ease of his win at Lidcombe.
‘‘It surprised me, I thought it was going to be tough,’’ he said.
His 300 game last month was his second. Cromie, who took up tenpin at the age of 12, bowled his first 300 in 2010.
His next best effort at nationals was making the top 16 and his previous biggest win was at the NSW Open junior title.
Cromie will turn his focus back to work before preparing for his maiden international competition, which will also be his first time overseas.
He is planning to contest the Milo Junior All-Stars at the Sunway Mega Lanes in Malaysia in December and said the national victory had reignited his interest in tenpin bowling.
‘‘It’s a confidence boost getting back into the sport,’’ he said.
Cromie was one of many bowlers from the Hunter competing at the national junior contest.
Mitchell Brown finished equal fifth in the open boys. Jayden Panella, Trent Osland and Jack Watson were joint 17th. Harrison Mears was equal 29th.
In the girls’ event, Alexia Hicks took joint third place and Jennaye Dodd was equal ninth.
Kaitlyn Bowen, Jodie Kos and Emily Rigney were level at 17th.
Catherine Hewitt, Kaitlyn Dodd and Janet Hunt were tied in 29th.