Saturday sees the return of the World Women’s Snooker Tour with staging of the 2018 British Open in Stourbridge and with the draw for the tournament now out, we take a look at a few of the key themes to follow throughout the event.
This weekend could see a change at the top of the ranking list for the first time in four years as reigning world champion On Yee homes in on long-time number one Reanne Evans.
Like the professional World Snooker Tour, the WLBS operates a two-year rolling ranking list on which points earned at events this season will gradually replace those earned during the 2015/16 campaign.
On Yee comes into the tournament 1,550 points behind Evans following their most recent clash at the Eden Masters in Gloucester last October, but with Evans set to lose a significant amount of ranking points from title victories in early 2016, it is the Hong Kong player who will become world number one for the first time in her career if she can win just one match to reach the quarter-finals this weekend in Stourbridge.
With the top two not entering the draw until the last 16 stage however, we must first turn to the Group Stages, the draw for which has thrown up a number of interesting contests.
There are local derbies in at least two groups as Suzie Opacic and Chloe White, who both practice at the same club, have been paired together in Group A, while the two Welsh players in the competition Laura Evans and Sharon Lewis have been matched in Group B.
Four players will be making their first appearances of the season, including Thailand’s Nutcharut Wongharuthai who memorably made the tournament high break of 90 at last year’s World Women’s Snooker Championship in Singapore. Also returning for the first time since last season’s LITEtask Festival in April will be Hong Kong’s Jaique Ip Wan In, while both Sharon Lewis and Chrissy Allwood will also be back in action.
There will be one WLBS debutant competing at the tournament as we welcome Connie Stephens to the tour. She will begin her tournament against number three seed Maria Catalano and Jackie Ellis, who made her own debut last time out at the Women’s Masters in Gloucester.
There will also be side-events played during the course of the weekend, with the draw for the Under-21 competition already made ahead of the competition. The top two seeds Shannon Metcalf and Stephanie Daughtery (using the current Under-21 ranking list) have been kept apart in the draw, which also sees Chloe White paired with Emma Parker in the quarter-finals, set to be their third encounter this season at Under-21 level having won one each previously.
A Seniors event will also take place, with the draw to be made during the course of the weekend.
There will also be a Challenge Cup tournament contested for players who have not qualified to play during Sunday’s final stages.
As always, the latest results and draws from the British Open will be available to view throughout the weekend at MySnookerStats, with regular updates and photos to be posted at our Facebook and Twitter pages.