Hawke's Bay snooker player Tara Jackson has abandoned her retirement plans after winning a third consecutive national women's title.
"I wasn't going to go down to Christchurch for the nationals as I hadn't been playing much. I had even considered retirement ... but I will go for four-in-a-row as the nationals are in Auckland next year," Jackson explained as she reflected on her campaign in the 12-player championship which ended at the Woolston Club on Friday.
A mother of two who runs her own cleaning business in Havelock North, Jackson, 46, didn't have the best of starts to her title defence.
"I arrived in Christchurch on Thursday morning and had to play straight away. I was beaten 2-0 by Jojo," she said referring to promising 19-year-old Cantabrian Jojo Coleman.
"I had to win my other section games to qualify for post-section play and fortunately I managed to win them both with 2-0 victories," Jackson recalled.
In her quarterfinal Jackson recovered from a 2-0 deficit to beat Taranaki's former winner of the national title Agnes Kimura 3-2. Jackson's semifinal was against Aucklander Kimberley Cullen who she beat in the final of the 2017 nationals and Jackson won 3-1 before going on to gain revenge against Coleman with a 3-0 victory in the final.
"I didn't have any big breaks during the tournament. I was just steady and I relied a lot on my safety play. I just dug in," Jackson recalled.
"Jojo is an up-and-comer who will definitely have her name on the trophy before long. It was just my experience and safety play which worked in my favour," Jackson said.
A Havelock North Club player, Jackson, is coached by her husband Bayden who is the current Oceania Masters champion and a two-time national champion. Jackson only took up snooker when the pair moved to New Zealand from England in 2009.
"I'm more of a pool player and made the England team thanks to Bayden's coaching," Jackson recalled.
When she won her first national title in 2017 the Jacksons became the first husband-and-wife pair to have been national snooker champions. Bayden made history in 2011 when he won the New Zealand Open and national snooker titles in the same year.
In 2013 he won Clubs New Zealand's national eight-ball championship and in 2016 he won the $10,000 first prize when he took out the third annual national world two-shot rule eight-ball tournament in Christchurch. Bayden played these rules for six years when he represented England before the Jacksons moved to New Zealand.
With his wife boasting one more national snooker title than him he won't be short of motivational ammunition when he tackles his next snooker nationals. That won't be this year as he has made the September eight-ball nationals in Auckland his priority.
When he won the Oceania Masters snooker title in February Bayden qualified for the World Masters snooker championship in Turkey in November but he won't be competing at this tournament.