A trip to the world under-21 snooker championships in England is a possibility for Hawke's Bay cueist Sam Martin after exceeding expectations at the Oceania under-21 championships in Havelock North.
"If it comes I will definitely take it ... it's just the start of the season so we will see what happens ," the 17-year-old apprentice electrician replied when quizzed about the April 20-May 6 tournament in Britain.
A day after reaching the semifinals of the Oceania tournament, Martin, was unbeaten for the New Zealand team in their 6-3 win against Australia at the Havelock North Club today. He beat Hawke's Bay-born Aussie Hilton Moeahu 3-0 in his singles and combined with Otaki's Blane Watson for a 2-0 win against Moeahu and Xavier Daw in the doubles.
"I set the semifinals as my goal before the tournament and it was good to tick it off. I had a break of 51 and heaps of constant 40s so I couldn't be happier," Martin said.
Martin was beaten 5-1 by last year's runner-up Adam Lilley of Canterbury in the semifinals. He had earlier eliminated the more fancied Taranaki player Denin Bunn 4-0 in the quarterfinals. The other semifinal saw Aussie No 1 Alex Pace beat last year's winner Mario Hildred of Taranaki 5-2. The best of 11 frame final between Pace and Lilley was scheduled to start at 5pm today and wasn't expected to be completed before Hawke's Bay Today goes to press.
A highlight of pairs play in the test saw Capital City's Cody Turner post his first century break with a 119 clearance. Lilley made a 112 clearance yesterday.
Martin did the best of the Hawke's Bay players in the Oceania under-21 singles tournament with a semifinal finish. The other two Bay cueists, Martin's Clubs Hastings clubmate Marcus Moat and Napier RSA's Michaela Spencer, didn't qualify for post-section play.
Martin's coach Dave Judd said the 17-year-old apprentice electrician more than exceeded expectations.
"It was Sam's first time in an international or major event. He outplayed Denin and I'm sure there is more to come from Sam," Judd said referring to Martin being a contender for the Kiwi team for the world champs.