Banbury's Tessa Davidson is world snooker champion after 23 years out of the sport
Returning to the sport after a break of 23 years, Tessa Davidson has been crowned world champion.
Tessa, 52, from Adderbury dropped just one frame in four matches on her way to winning the prestigious title for the first time.
She beat Poland’s Ewelina Pislewska in the final.
“I was really delighted to be world champion, it’s brilliant,” said Tessa. “It couldn’t have gone better.”
She also did well in the main competition, winning through in her group and only losing 4-3 in the last 16 to world no. 4 Rebecca Kenna.
At her best Tessa was ranked fifth in the world.
The self employed gardener had been a professional snooker player from the age of 18 to 30, but gave up when she had children - Matilda now 21 and Fred 17 - and sponsorship had dropped out of the sport.
“A lot of girls went to play in America on the pool circuit with big prize money and were very successful, but I didn’t think it was right for me at the time,” explained Tessa, who won the UK Championships three times as well as numerous other titles.
“My life took a different direction. I didn’t play for 23 years but I started playing a lot of pool with friends and snooker just before Christmas. My technique is still quite solid, a bit like riding a bike!
“I started to find some of my old form and thought I would try a competition and see if I enjoyed it, which I did.
“The women’s circuit runs alongside the men’s and I did well at the British Open.”
Tessa has been practising at Fast Eddie’s Pool & Snooker Hall in South Bar and is grateful to them for their sponsorship and support.
“I’ve been playing against some very good players there and they’ve brought me on.
“Snooker is something I really love and when something’s your passion, it feels right to pursue it,” she said.
“I can see quite a difference in the sport from 20 years ago. Like a lot of women’s sport attitudes are changing and it’s very professionally run.”
Tessa urges local girls to pick up a cue and try snooker.
“If they come along to Fast Eddie’s I’m happy to give them advice,” she said.
“There’s no reason why women can’t be as good as men, snooker isn’t about strength like some sports and I’d encourage girls, as well as boys, to have go.
“It’s long been a stereotype that girls don’t play snooker, but those walls are being smashed down!”