Hawke's Bay's sole New Zealand under-21 snooker representative Michaela Spencer's approach to this weekend's North Island championships in Havelock North is admirable.
Spencer hasn't set herself any unrealistic goals for the 28-player event which begins at the Havelock North Club today and continues until Monday.
That's sensible because the quality field includes national men's champion Bayden Jackson of Hawke's Bay, his wife and national women's champion Tara Jackson, who is in Spencer's section and former national champions Louis Chand and Henry Killian of Auckland and Taranaki's Steve Robertson.
"I just want to play to the best of my ability and keep my cool. Hopefully that will get me somewhere," Spencer said.
The 19-year-old Greenmeadows BP worker wants some tidy rehearsals for next month's world under-21 championships in Jinan, China.
"That's going to be my first time playing overseas. I'm pretty excited and I know it will be an eye-opening experience," Spencer said.
"I'm not expecting anything and I'm not expecting to win over there. I'm just going for the experience and to have a good time ... I've got plenty of time at this level in the future."
Although Spencer took up snooker six years ago she has only been playing seriously for two years. Numerous relatives are involved in the sport and that was the attraction for the Taradale High School product.
While her Hawke's Bay-based New Zealand team manager and another of the Bay starters in this weekend's tournament, Dave Judd, is her main coach, Spencer said she takes advice from everyone.
"I even take criticism and put it towards how I play. I have a good long game and I've had a 27 clearance in tournament play. I consistently have breaks around 16 and 18," Spencer said.
"Break building and shot selection are my biggest work ons and they will improve with more experience," Spencer explained.
During her school days Spencer was involved in target shooting and archery.
"Those sports all help with snooker," she added.
Judd is rapt all members of the New Zealand under-21 and under-18 teams for the world champs will be in action this weekend.
They include 19-year-old Chand, who became the youngest national champion at the age of 16 in 2016, Taranaki's Ryan King and Canterbury's Adam Lilley from the Kiwi under-21 male contingent.
Spencer will be the only female in the Kiwi under-21 team. The New Zealand under-18 male contingent includes Taranaki's Denin Bunn and the Capital City pair of Blane Watson and promising 9-year-old Riley James, who is 70 years younger than this weekend's oldest competitor, 11-time Hawke's Bay Open and multiple national billiards champion Paul Stocker.
Taranaki's Mario Hildred will be the Oceania under-21 and under-18 rep in China after beating Lilley in the final of the Oceania tournament. Hildred finished second in last year's North Island tournament to Taranaki's Chris Maltby who won't be attempting to retain his title.
In his absence, top seed Bayden Jackson must be considered the hot favourite. Paul Temple and Aaron Carlson will complete the seven-strong Bay contingent in this weekend's tournament.
Section play begins today and continues tomorrow. Last 16 matches in post-section play will also be staged tomorrow and quarterfinals, semifinals and the final will be played on Monday.