Chrissy Allwood hopes to establish herself as one to watch on the World Women’s Snooker Tour having returned to competitive action with renewed purpose for the 2021/22 season.
The Tattershall potter made her Tour debut at the 2017 Eden Masters, competing in four tournaments up to the 2019 UK Championship and is targeting a rise up the ranking list from her current position of 83 as she returns to the baize in Coulsdon later this month.
Already she has made a winning start at national level, claiming Challenge Cup titles at August’s English Women’s Open and English Women’s Tour Event 2, organised by the English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards (EPSB) and is now relishing the challenge ahead.
“I’ve really enjoyed the events I’ve played in so far,” said Allwood. “More focused practice away from tournaments is paying off and I’m finding with the return of the local leagues and one-day competitions that this is also giving me a lot more match practice that had been missing. This definitely helps keep the nerves in check when it matters, which I think has been the difference for me.”
As with many players, the 36-year-old put her cue down during the UK lockdowns at the height of the pandemic, but this is something that she says has been a positive for her on her return to play. Her recent tournaments have included a standout victory against world number six Emma Parker on the EPSB Tour and Allwood hopes to build on such results over the coming months.
“I started back this season with a new attitude after realising how much I’d missed competitive snooker and the WWS Tour,” explained Allwood. “I’m wanting to get much more out of my snooker now rather than just a day out and a catch up.”
“Away from competition I want to keep hitting the bigger breaks I’ve been getting from more focused practice so I can pull that out in live match play more regularly.
“Also, to just keep pushing the top girls – I know I’ve got it in there and want to be seen as a potential threat in any match against any player, rather than a surprise winner occasionally. In a couple of years, I’d like to be winning main events and I just need to keep knuckling down and remember why I’m doing it.”
Allwood began to play seriously approximately seven years ago and now practises regularly at the Woodhall Spa & District Conservative Club in Lincolnshire. But it was with her father that at the age of 11 that she was first introduced to the game that she remains fascinated by to this day.
“I loved playing with Dad,” recalled Allwood. “He was a flair player and loved playing with ridiculous spin, fast aggressive play, yet technically he wasn’t all that – but he was exciting and unpredictable to watch and knocked in regular 60’s and 70’s in his prime.
“I wanted to play that way, but from various health conditions down the years I’ve found I get the most from snooker with a bit of a boring technical game to try and get consistency – flair play is only fun when you are winning, I find.
“I love studying other players’ cue actions, stances, grips etc to probably an unhealthy level, but the most fascinating thing is that the real top pros of the sport still all play very differently, see the game differently, and that keeps it interesting for us nerds.
“Really, we all know it’s between the ears that it counts, and a lot of amateur players don’t give this side of the game enough attention or respect, and I’m one of them.”
Alongside her own personal goals, there is of course another added incentive for all women players this season following the announcement that the World Women’s Snooker Tour is now an official pathway to the World Snooker Tour. Both Reanne Evans and Ng On Yee have this season begun their respective journeys on the professional tour and will be joined next term by a further two female players.
“This is such a huge deal,” enthused Allwood. “It has really invigorated a lot of the top players I think and has certainly given me an incentive to want to really up my game.
“The opportunity is there in the women’s game ready for everyone to push each other even harder and improve the overall quality of the entire tour – hopefully so that anyone who earns their chance to get on the main tour can have a good crack at it.”
But while the competition on the table is fierce, Allwood also identifies the positive atmosphere and camaraderie among players away from the baize as something that she has learned to truly value over time as like many players, she has made lasting friendships on the circuit and beyond.
In fact, away from the baize, she maintains a varied home and work life that allows her to relax when not potting balls.
“I’m a construction design manager,” explained Allwood. “So, I spend most of time buried in technical drawings being geeky, which I like, but it’s a stressful industry, so chill-out time is essential.
“I’m really passionate about ingredients and cooking and this is my go-to for unwinding – of course with a glass of Chardonnay.
“There’s always music playing somewhere, and I love a night in with some classic albums and the hi-fi on, or bashing out some indie hits on my guitar, and sometimes a bit of classical chill-out on the piano.
“Getting outdoors for a wander and seeing nature is also something I love, as well as smushing my cat Ozzy at every opportunity!”
But despite Allwood’s other interests, it is snooker that remains a huge part of her weekly routine and she encourages any women and girls out there with an interest in the game to pick up a cue and get involved on the WWS Tour.
“For goodness’ sake get yourself out there!” said Allwood. “It’s fun, competitive, and you’ll be around other people who share your passion and sometimes your struggles. Plus, what’s the worst that could happen? 😉”
Thank you to Chrissy Allwood, who will be among those competing at the Eden Women’s Masters at Frames Sports Bar from 27-28 November 2021, with entries still being accepted for the event HERE.