Next weekend will see the return of the British Open to the World Women’s Snooker Tour calendar – an event steeped in history almost 40 years on from its first edition.
Last held in 2018, the tournament has been staged on 26 previous occasions, with only the World and UK Championships having a greater pedigree on the circuit. From Sue Foster to Reanne Evans, the event has crowned no fewer than 11 different champions, including five multiple winners across four decades.
As with many events on the circuit, it is world number one Evans who has enjoyed particular success with a record six victories over a 14-year span from 2004-2018. Among her tournament highlights include a career-best break of 140 during her 2009 semi-final victory against June Banks, while in 2018 she achieved the rare feat of scoring two century breaks during a single match to beat Rebecca Kenna en route to the title.
That win saw Evans move two clear of four-time champions Allison and Kelly Fisher, who also enjoyed considerable success in the tournament at the height of their careers.
Allison’s first triumph in 1989 would in fact see her make history along the way as she scored a break of 116 during her semi-final victory against Karen Corr – at the time an all-time record during a women’s snooker competition – not bettered for two years until Tessa Davidson scored an incredible 135 also at the British Open.
For Kelly, her titles would come in consecutive years as she dominated the competition from 1999-2002, but perhaps another of her most significant successes would come almost a decade earlier as she won the junior competition in 1992, underlining her status as one to watch over the coming years.
As well as its great champions, the British Open has also played host to the final tournament victory for several legends of the women’s game during its history.
In 1988, the third staging of the tournament saw our very own Mandy Fisher claim the title with victories against Allison Fisher and Stacey Hillyard, while three-time winner Karen Corr and double champion Ann-Marie Farren also claimed their most recent WWS titles to date in 1998 and 1994 respectively.
Conversely, the 2005 edition won by June Banks represented her maiden title, with her hard-earned victory against reigning world champion Reanne Evans coming 18 years after her Tour debut.
The roll of honour is completed by Lynette Horsburgh – winner at the Plymouth Pavilions in 1999, as well as Maria Catalano (2007) and Emma Bonney in the 21st century.
World Women’s Snooker is delighted to see the British Open restored to the calendar at its new home – the fantastic Winchester Snooker Club in Wigston – and with another wonderful mix of established stars, returning icons and precocious talent, it is set to be a weekend to remember!