Joe Hunn's career choice in Islington, London 41 years ago proved a pivotal moment in the history of cue sports in Hawke's Bay.

"I was 16 and about to embark on a career as a telegram boy at the local Post Office," Hunn recalled.

"It was a poster which lured me to the job. There was a picture of a footballer, a cricketer and a snooker player on the poster. That Post Office had access to some fantastic sporting facilities including snooker which I took a liking to straight away ... there wasn't a picture of a telegram boy anywhere on the poster," Hunn recalled.

Hunn, 57, who moved to New Zealand 15 years ago, stopped playing when he was 26 and took it up again three years ago when he was living in Auckland. He moved to Hawke's Bay in April and when he won last weekend's New Zealand Masters title at the Tauranga Citizens Club, Hunn gave Hawke's Bay and his Havelock North Club their third national snooker title for the year.


Last month Bayden Jackson won the national men's title and his wife Tara the national women's title.

"It's pretty good to have three national titleholders in the one club. Hopefully it will encourage more players into the game here in the Bay," Hunn said.

One of 80 starters in the Tauranga tournament, top-seed Hunn beat Kathy Van Den Eden 2-0 in the final.

"It was a handicap event and I had the toughest handicap, -48. In the final I had to give Kathy an 84-point headstart in each frame. Hunn, who is also a member of Club Hastings, qualified top from his section with three 2-0 victories and a 2-1 loss.

"It was the first time I entered the tournament and I only went because a couple of mates from here in the Bay wanted to go," Hunn recalled.

When quizzed on the key to his success in Tauranga, Hunn replied: "I was a bit more wily around safety play than my opponents. I'm not one of those wham, bam, thank you ma'am type of players. I'm a bit more methodical."

His biggest break at the tournament was a 66. Hunn has produced a personal best 140 break in tournament play.

He is unsure whether last weekend's success will encourage him to play more regularly.

"I think I will just play tournaments when I can fit them in but I will continue to play a couple of times a week at Club Hastings. I'm building a house at the moment and that's the priority. Jacko [Bayden Jackson] told me we've got the Hawke's Bay Open here on September 2 and 3 but I didn't know anything about it until he told me. I'll have to wait and see about that one."

In his younger days Hunn regularly watched the likes of Aussie professional, the late Eddie Charlton, and six-time world champions Ray Reardon of Wales and Steve Davis of England in action on television. Davis was his hero and not because he's an Englishman like Hunn.

"Steve was an ex-neighbour of mine and we're pretty proud of that," he added.

Needless to say Hawke's Bay cueists are proud of the fame Hunn and the Jacksons have brought to the province during the past two months.