Posts by: Matt Huart

Updated WLBS Rankings: August 2016

The WLBS world rankings have been updated for the first time during the 2016/17 season following Ng On Yee’s victory at the Paul Hunter Ladies Classic last weekend.

By securing her third career WLBS ranking title in Germany, the 25-year-old has closed the gap to beaten finalist Reanne Evans, although the world number one still retains a comfortable lead of 15,900 points.

The WLBS world rankings operate on a rolling two-year basis, with points earned during the 2014/15 season to be removed as this season progresses. With no points to be removed at this update however (see points drop-off dates), unsurprisingly there have been gains for many of the players who competed in Germany.

With their runs to the semi-finals, bronze medallists Maria Catalano and Tatjana Vasiljeva both climb one place to third and sixth respectively, while Vicky Shirley breaks into the top eight for the first time since April 2015.

Quarter-finalist So Man Yee, competing in her first WLBS event since the 2015 World Ladies Championship is up two places, as is Russia’s Irina Gorbataya, who came within a frame of shocking eventual champion On Yee at the last 16 stage in Germany.

Further down the list, one of the biggest movers is Ireland’s Ronda Sheldreck, up 14 places following her run to the knock-out stages. Germany’s Diana Stateczny also continues her rapid rise up the rankings, another quarter-final following her run at the World Ladies Championship earlier this year enough to see her climb 10 places to 23rd.

Finally, Belgium’s Wendy Jans is a notable new entry at 46th, having reached the quarter-finals at what was her first WLBS event during the counting period.

The updated ranking list will be used to determine the seedings for the LITEtask UK Ladies Championship which will take place on 8-9 October 2016 at the Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds.

On Yee Claims Ladies Classic

Ng On Yee won the first ever Paul Hunter Ladies Classic last weekend with a 4-1 victory against world number one Reanne Evans at the Stadthalle, Germany.

The pair met in the final of a WLBS event for the third time in 2016, Evans having come out at the Classic and World Championship events at the end of last season.

It was On Yee however who made the stronger start on this occasion, claiming the opening two frames to take an early lead, before Evans closed the gap by taking the third. The next two frames both came down to the colours, but a double on the brown helped On Yee to go two clear again at 3-1, before she set up what would prove to be the match-winning clearance with a snooker on the brown in the fifth.

The success is On Yee’s third career WLBS title to date and her first since the 2015 UK Championship last September. Earlier in the tournament she had found herself 3-1 down to Irina Gorbataya before winning the last three frames to reach the quarter-finals. From there the former world champion never really looked back, dropping just one frame in defeating Wendy Jans, Maria Catalano and Evans to take the title.

The 25-year-old, who remains ranked second in the WLBS ranking list, also hit the tournament high break during the third frame of her quarter-final victory against Jans, a clearance of 104 to the pink enough to secure the prize sponsored by Fracht.com & KSS Events.

“I was struggling a bit from the beginning with my form and some of the shots yesterday,” said a delighted On Yee. “After winning my last 16 match however, I was able to take a short break and regroup. I wasn’t really focusing on the century, but rather trying to play each shot individually and making the best of it.”

The Hong Kong ace described herself as ‘over the moon’ to have won the title and was pleased by how the event had unfolded as a whole, in particular praising the quality of the field, which included the top seven players on the WLBS world ranking list:

“It feels great to be here in Germany for the first ever Paul Hunter Ladies Classic. This is my very first time here in Germany and I enjoyed the good food, very nice people and the weather.

“It was a great venue and it was good to see so many players competing in the event. It had also been a while since I had played together with both Reanne and Wendy in the same tournament so that was a nice experience too.

“I really enjoyed the opportunity to play with so many friends around and I hope to continue to see more doors opening up for ladies snooker in the future. I am really looking forward to this season’s Eden World Championship which will be held in Asia for the very first time. Hopefully this will attract new faces to the game and create more opportunities for ladies snooker.”

The Paul Hunter Ladies Classic was the first event to be held outside of the UK in over a decade and the first of a new co-operation between the WLBS and the WPBSA, the world governing body for snooker and billiards.

For the first time, the final of the event was played alongside the quarter-finals of the professional competition staged by World Snooker at the Stadthalle venue and was enjoyed by a large number of spectators in attendance.

Please click here for full results.

Home Hopes

With just two days to go before the start of the 2016 Paul Hunter Ladies Classic in Germany, today we profile some of the eight players who will be competing in a WLBS event on home soil for the first time in their careers…

Diana Stateczny

Bochum-based Diana Stateczny is perhaps the best known and certainly the most decorated German female snooker player, having won the German Championship on five occasions and made a tournament high break of 78.

Also a finalist at the European Championship in 2010, the 36-year-old enjoyed a strong performance at this year’s WLBS World Ladies Championship. Having progressed through her group with four wins from four, she then shocked fourth seed Maria Catalano with a 3-1 win to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.

Christina Schneider

A talented American pool player, Christina Schneider will be competing in her first snooker tournament in Furth as she looks to take herself out of her comfort zone.

On the pool circuit she notably reached the semi-finals of the 2014 9-ball German Championship and plays regularly for BC Ludwigsburg. This week however snooker will be the challenge and she has stated that she is looking forward to meeting her fellow players from across the globe and seeing how her game matches up against them.

Ramona Kirchner

Something of a local hero at the Paul Hunter Ladies Classic, Ramona Kirchner plays for 1.BC Lechbruck and has a competition high break of 50.

Winner of the German Championship back in 2005, like Schneider she is looking forward to mixing with international players and to seeing how her standard compares to the other players in action in Fuerth.

Diana Schuler

Following a two-year stint based in England, Diana Schuler has recently moved back to Germany and perhaps has reason to look forward to the Paul Hunter Ladies Classic more than most.

Alongside her playing career, which has seen her compile a competition high break of 53 and reach the semi final of the European Team Championship 2013, the 35-year-old also acts as Marketing Director for the WLBS and has been instrumental in the organisation of the event.

At local level she plays for 1.SC Schwalbach and has the distinction of being included on the professional game’s 147 list, as she was the opponent when two-time world champion Mark Williams made his second career maximum in Rüsselsheim six years ago.

Completing the field

Completing the German contingent in Fuerth will be four relative newcomers to the scene:

Dorothee Rapp (Bielefeld)

Ingird Kuna (Berlin)
Tanja Ender (Fürth)
Steffi Henze (Stuttgart)

New Ranking System for WLBS

A new world ranking system has today been announced for the WLBS Women’s World Ranking Series. The new list will take immediate effect from the start of the 2016/17 season.

Click here to view the revised WLBS rankings at the start of the 2016/17 season

As under the previous system, theWLBS ranking list will continue to operate on a two-year rolling basis. Players will be awarded ranking points in accordance with their results at ranking events. Tournaments have effectively been designated into three categories (World Championship, multi-day and single day events), as set out within the new provisional points schedule.

In addition to the main events, points will also be awarded to players who either win or reach the final of the new Challenge Cup events, which replace previous Plate competitions.

Only players who have earned ranking points during the current two-year cycle will be included on the WLBS world ranking list.

All points earned during both the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons have been converted to the new system, with the updated ranking list to be used to determine the seedings for the 2016 WLBS Paul Hunter Ladies Classic later this month.

The updated rankings following this event will subsequently be used to determine seedings for the UK Ladies Championship in October. Provisional details of all of the re-ranking points during the 2016/17 season are also now available.

Granger Excited By Germany Trip

There was a strong line-up at the semi-final stage of this year’s WLBS World Championship, with the top seeded Reanne Evans and Ng On Yee among the four.

Few however were familiar with Keighley’s Rebecca ‘Bex’ Granger, who was competing in only her second WLBS ranking tournament, following her debut at the Eden Classic just a month earlier.

Having come through her group undefeated with the loss of just two frames, she beat experienced duo Kathy Howden and Jaique Ip in the knock-out stages to reach the last four. Although she would ultimately come up short against reigning champion Ng On Yee, she was proud of her performance and to have surpassed her own pre-tournament expectations:

“After my first tournament, I’d learnt a lot about my game and the standard I was up against,” explained Granger. “I only had a short time to get some real practice in, so I had a realistic target in mind which was to get through the group stage and reach the last 16.

“To reach the semi-finals has given me a big confidence boost for future tournaments. I’m now getting real practice in and learning more all the time. I hope to perform well this season and my target is to climb into the top eight of the rankings and perhaps to reach an event final.”

Next up for Granger and the rest of the WLBS tour will be a trip to Fuerth for the inaugural Paul Hunter Ladies Classic which gets the new season underway later this month. The event represents the first ranking event to be held outside of the UK this decade and Granger, who will be sponsored by Airedale Chemical at the event, is looking forward to being involved:

“I’m really excited to be able to participate in this event,” said Granger. “It’s great that the semi-finals and final will be played in the same venue as the professional tournament.

At one point Granger, who amongst her other interests is a keen football player, feared that she would miss the event with surgery to correct a shoulder injury scheduled just nine days beforehand. Thankfully however the operation was brought forward to July and she is now in the process of recovering ahead of the trip to Germany:

“I fell awkwardly during a football match last October and dislocated my shoulder,” explained Granger. “Without wanting it to sound too gruesome, there was a large tear that needed repairing and my joint needed stabilising to stop it dislocating in the future.

“Luckily there was a cancellation at the hospital so I was able to have the operation on 11th July. So I have six weeks to recover before the tournament. As I’m a personal trainer I’m confident that I can do the necessary exercises and recover quickly in time for the tournament.”

Although a new face on the WLBS tour, Granger is far from new to snooker, having got her first 6×3 table when she was around six years old and played for the first time on a full-size table just a few years later:

“I remember that I wasn’t tall enough to re-spot the blue or pink!” said the now 27-year-old, who cites Stephen Hendry as her favourite player when growing up. “By the time that I was 11 I started to play pool for my local pub team and entered local tournaments. I think I won the ladies individuals and mixed doubles aged 13.

“I then started playing pool for Keighley Ladies which was on a Sunday, but this was short-lived as I’d started playing for Keighley Ladies football team where matches were also on a Sunday. As my passion for football was much stronger, pool took a back seat, although I still played in the local pub league and played snooker with my dad on a weekend.

“It wasn’t until two years ago that I started playing league snooker for my local social club, The Liberal Club. After playing for years with my dad we were asked to join the team.”

Unfortunately, the last year has been a difficult period for Granger as her father was diagnosed as terminally ill in 2015 and sadly passed away last December.

“I still went down to the club on my own. I played to de-stress and cope with the situation,” continued Granger. “After I lost my dad, again I played more and more snooker and with me not being able to play football, I went online to see if there were any ladies events I could take part in.

“I found the WLBS website and only just made the deadline to enter the Eden Classic. I had no idea of the standard of the ladies game and I honestly didn’t think that I would win a frame.”

As it would turn out, she would win three matches to qualify for the knock-out stages at Clay Cross and pave the way for her memorable run at the subsequent World Championship. She is now looking forward to the new campaign and already has an eye on a trip to the Far East next spring:

“I intend to play in all of next season’s events,” added Granger. “I will have to get saving for the World Championship in Singapore but I’m really looking forward to that.”

To enquire about sponsorship opportunities for Rebecca Granger please contact the WLBS.

Entries Open for Paul Hunter Ladies Classic

Entries are now open for the 2016 Paul Hunter Ladies Classic which will take place from 25-28 August 2016.

The tournament will be the first event of the 2016/17 WLBS Women’s World Ranking Series and the first ranking event to be held outside of the UK this decade.

The group stage and quarter-finals will be held at the Ballroom Nurnberg, before the semi-finals and final are played alongside the World Snooker Paul Hunter Classic at the Stadthalle in Fuerth.

Full details and the entry pack are now available here. The closing date for entries is the 21st July 2016.

WLBS Director Diana Schuler said: “The staging of a women’s world ranking event in mainland Europe this season is a significant milestone for the WLBS and I am delighted that our first tour stop will be in my home country Germany.

“It is fantastic to be able to give the many women players in Germany and mainland Europe the chance to be able to play on the WLBS tour and also to showcase their talent to the fans in Germany.

“We would like to thank the WPBSA and Thomas Cesal as the promoter of Paul Hunter Classic for this great opportunity to play alongside the sport’s top professional players.”

Earlier this month the WLBS announced its full calendar for the 2016/17 season including events in the UK, Germany and Singapore.

Vasiljeva Takes Positives From Fu Encounter

Latvia’s Tatjana Vasiljeva lost 4-1 to Marco Fu today in the opening round of the 2016 Kasperksy Riga Masters.

The 32-year-old received a wildcard to the first event of the 2016/17 professional calendar and was handed a tricky draw against this year’s Crucible semi-finalist Marco Fu.

The WLBS world number five impressed onlookers however, taking the second frame of the match and only narrowly losing the final two frames, both on the last black.

Vasiljeva though was happy with her performance: “I felt strong and not scared. I missed a pink in the 4th frame, maybe I should have played safe instead or trying to play a double. In the next frame I missed a red and it was a frame ball for me.

“But I liked the way I played. It’s an amazing feeling when you are competing with one of the best players in the world and feel competitive. I enjoyed playing Marco, he is a great player with a very good attitude. Not bad for the first time playing in a major event – I definitely want to come back.”

WLBS Announces 2016/17 Calendar

World Ladies Billiards and Snooker (WLBS) has today announced its provisional calendar for the 2016/17 Women’s World Ranking Series.

For the first time since 1995 the Eden Ladies World Championship will be held outside of the UK, at the Lagoon Billiard Room in Toa Payoh, Singapore.

The season will begin with the Paul Hunter Ladies Classic, a new event in Fürth, Germany which will run alongside the long-standing World Snooker Tour professional competition. The early rounds of the event will be played at a separate venue, with the semi-finals and final to be played at the Stadthalle.

The event will be followed by the LITEtask UK Ladies Championship in Leeds and the Eden Ladies Open Championship at the Cueball in Derby, before the one-day Connie Gough Memorial Trophy returns to Dunstable.

Following the Eden Ladies World Championship in Singapore, the season will conclude with the LITEtask World Festival of Ladies Snooker in Leeds, which will include mixed pairs, ladies doubles, seniors and under-21 competitions, as well as an innovative new 10 reds format competition.

WLBS President Mandy Fisher said: “I am delighted with our first calendar of events as the newly-formed WLBS and am really looking forward to the start of the season. This is the beginning of a great future for the ladies game and I would like to thank Eden Resources, LITEtask and the Northern Snooker Centre Leeds for their continued support.”

WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson said: “Today’s announcement marks the beginning of our efforts to engage more women and girls to take up competitive snooker. Fundamental to the growth of WLBS is that players all over the world have the opportunity to compete and the events in Germany and Singapore mark a new beginning. It is our view that engagement with the regional and national governing body network will see more women stars emerge and compete for place on the open to all, World Snooker Tour.“

The WLBS has also unveiled new branding to be used from the start of the 2016/17 season, including a purple logo design based upon that previously seen at World Snooker Ladies Day.

Vasiljeva to Play in Riga Masters

WLBS world number five Tatjana Vasijeva has received a wildcard to the 2016 Kasperksy Riga Masters.

Winner of the European Ladies Championship in 2012, 32-year-old Vasiljeva is Latvia’s most successful ladies player and recently reached the semi-finals of the WLBS World Championship in Leeds.

She has been drawn to play world number 12 Marco Fu in her last 128 match, which will be held over to the venue stages of the event in Riga which will run from 22-24 June 2016.

Her appearance will be the first at the televised stages of a ranking event since Reanne Evans successfully qualified for the 2013 Wuxi Classic.

Having previously formed part of snooker’s European Tour series, for the first time the event in Latvia will become a full-ranking event on the World Snooker Tour.

The total prize money for the tournament will increase from €125,000 to €200,000. The winner’s prize for next season’s Kaspersky Riga Masters will be doubled to €50,000.

Ladies Day 2016 – First and latest World Champion united

This Tuesday saw Ladies Day successfully staged for the fourth successive year at the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.

Led by WPBSA World Snooker coaches Andrew Highfield and Dannie Findlay, there were opportunities for members of the public to try snooker at the Cue Zone in the Winter Garden.

The day was supported by players from the World Ladies Billiards and Snooker (“WLBS”) tour, including 11-times world champion Reanne Evans.

Activities included a coaching masterclass delivered by Andrew Highfield and doubles competitions involving members of the public, as well as a 60-second challenge competition won by Latvia’s Tatjana Vasiljeva.

There was also a special appearance by Vera Selby MBE, winner of the first ever World Ladies Championship held in 1976 and again in 1981. The 86-year-old from Gosforth played a few shots with Reanne Evans and both appeared with presenter Hazel Irvine on BBC television.

The event supported Bluebell Wood Trust, official charity partner of World Snooker at the World Championship.

To learn more about ladies snooker and how you can get involved visit http://www.wlbsl.com/