This weekend’s British Women’s Open represents the first stop on the World Women’s Snooker Tour in 2022 and below we look ahead to what is guaranteed to be another fantastic weekend of snooker in Leicester.
The 27th staging of the British Women’s Open marks a significant return to the calendar for an event that has been contested more than any other with the exception of the World and UK Championships.
To be held at a new home – the excellent Winchester Snooker Club – the tournament will be held for the first time since 2018 when Reanne Evans defeated first time finalist Nutcharut Wongharuthai to win the title for a record sixth time.
The top two seeds four years on, the pair are set to head a 36 player draw to contest what is the final ranking event prior to next month’s World Championship.
As at last November’s Masters, the top four seeds will advance straight to the last 16 stage, with Reanne Evans, Rebecca Kenna and Maria Catalano joined by third ranked Nutcharut Wongharuthai, who is set to make her first appearance on Tour since the 2020 Belgian Open
The remaining 32 players have been drawn into eight groups, with 16 players to progress to the knockout rounds. All group winners will progress straight to the last 16, with the remaining 8 players to contest a preliminary round match on Saturday evening.
Heading up the first of eight groups is Wakefield’s Steph Daughtery who will be looking to improve upon her last 16 run at the tournament in 2018 and consolidate her position inside of the top 10.
She is joined by fellow Yorkshire players Aimee Benn – the highest ranked player outside of the top 12 seeds – and Nat Howard, as well as 13-year-old Sophie Nix from Scotland.
Group B is highlighted by sixth ranked Emma Parker, whose previous British Open tournament yielded double success in both the Under-21 and Challenge Cup competitions in Stourbridge.
She is joined by three debutants including namesake Emma Powers-Richardson, Sarah Dunn and former World Women’s Billiards Championship runner-up Rochy Woods.
Two-time British Women’s Open semi-finalist Suzie Terry has been drawn in Group C and will be hoping for another strong performance at her most successful tournament
The world number eight leads a group that features both two debutants and two teenagers, with newcomers Laura Killington joining Chloe Payne and Clare Gamble in the draw.
One of the stand out groups on paper – Group D features three players who began their Tour careers in 1981, 1988 and 1994 respectively, with the seeded Jenny Poulter set to be joined by Mary Talbot-Deegan and the returning Tessa Davidson this weekend.
The previous meeting between Talbot-Deegan and Davidson came at the 1998 Scottish Championship, while Davidson also took on Poulter at the 1998 Welsh Open a month earlier.
The experienced trio will be joined by Leicester’s Samantha Biddlecombe who will be making her debut in the competition.
Northern Ireland’s Chucky Preston is rewarded for her impressive run of three quarter-final appearances from four tournaments played with a seeding position for the first time in Group E.
She will compete against England’s Louise Cothier and Poland’s Izabela Łącka, alongside another local debutant in Helen Brindley-Walker.
Liverpool’s Zoe Killington is seeded for a second successive tournament but has been handed a tough draw with Jamie Hunter and Chrissy Allwood – both quarter-finalists at the Eden Masters – also present in the section.
The group is completed by China’s Lynn Shi, who competed at the recent EPSB 6-Red Championship and will be making her WWS debut at The Winchester.
Fresh off the back of a new personal best break in open play earlier this month, 26-year-old Connie Stephens will be the seeded player in Group G.
She will have Seniors number two Jan Hughes for company, as well as reigning World Ladies Billiards champion Anna Lynch and debutant Leah Humphrey rounding out the group.
Perhaps appropriately – Group H is led by ‘Double H’ Harriet Haynes, who like Chucky Preston is seeded in a WWS event for the first time at her fifth tournament appearance.
Completing the group are Poland’s Ewelina Pislewska and English duo Laura Gillett and Jasmine Bolsover, with the latter having enjoyed a successful Tour return at November’s Masters, narrowly missing out on a place in the last eight.
Steph Daughtery will be hoping to maintain her unbeaten streak in Under-21 competitions so far this season, Chloe Payne and Laura Killington set to meet in the opening round for the right to face her in the last four.
The lower half of the draw will see Aimee Benn take on Sophie Nix in the opening match, with Zoe Killington awaiting the winner.
The Seniors draw meanwhile will see a second meeting of the weekend between top seed Jenny Poulter and Tessa Davidson – who also share a place in Group D above – with Masters winner Mary Talbot-Deegan a potential semi-final opponent.
The action gets underway this Saturday at 10:00am with the latest match results and standings available via WPBSA SnookerScores throughout the weekend.