Hawke's Bay snooker player Sam Martin's relaxed approach to the sport is the perfect lesson to any other teen considering taking it up.

Nothing rattles him. The 17-year-old apprentice electrician is one of those players who takes matches as they come and tournaments one-day at a time.

One of three Hawke's Bay players in the field of 16 for the Oceania under-21 tournament which begins at the Havelock North Club tomorrow, Martin, is the only Bay player in the New Zealand team of six which will take on their Aussie counterparts in Wednesday night's Trans Tasman test.

An admirable effort considering he has played the sport for only 18 months.


"I don't lack confidence and I have no fear," Martin replied when asked what his strengths were.

He also doesn't worry about doing homework on future opponents.

"I know nothing about them," Martin replied when quizzed on his knowledge of the Aussie players he will face.

However he got a look at one of them, Sydney's Denzel Nicholson, who turned up for a training session while the Dave Judd-coached Martin dealt with his media commitments yesterday.

It's fair to say Martin's hand-eye co-ordination is decent. He played first XI cricket during his days at Hastings Boys' High School and is ranked nationally on the junior darts scene.

"While I still play darts, snooker is the No 1 sport," Martin, who boasts a competition high break of 55, said.

He was a beaten semifinalist at last year's national under-21 champs and won the plate section of last year's Hawke's Bay Open.

Like most promising players Martin said break building around the big colours is his biggest work on.


No prizes for guessing his snooker hero either.

"English professional Ronnie O'Sullivan ... everyone likes him," Martin replied.

His Clubs Hastings clubmate Marcus Moat and Napier RSA's Michaela Spencer are the other Bay players in the tournament.

Last year's winner, Taranaki's Mario Hildred, and runner-up, Canterbury's Adam Lilley, will again be New Zealand's best hopes for the title.

The final will be played on Wednesday and on Wednesday night a six-strong New Zealand team will take on six Aussies in the transtasman test.

The Kiwi team also includes Hildred, Lilley, Wellingtonian Cody Turner and Taranaki's Denin Bunn, who beat Martin in last year's semifinals of the national under-21 tournament.

The sixth spot will be decided during section play of the Oceania tournament as three other players were so even at a training camp in Paraparaumu last month the selectors wanted to see then in action again.

The Oceania Masters for men and women will be played from Thursday until Saturday.

Multiple national champion in a variety of cue sports, Bayden Jackson, is the only Hawke's Bay player entered in the field of 16.