Category: General News

Belgian Women’s Open 2019: Enter Now

Entries are now being accepted for the Belgian Women’s Open as the World Women’s Snooker Tour heads back to Belgium next February.

The three-day event will take place from 1-3 February 2019 and will be played at The Trickshot club, situated in the centre of the historic city of Bruges.

Following victory for Reanne Evans at the European Women’s Masters back in October, the event marks our second trip to Belgium during the 2018/19 World Women’s Snooker Tour, which once again will see a full-ranking event staged, as well as side-events staged for under-21 and senior players.

The closing date for entries and payment of entry fees is 4:30pm GMT on Friday 25 January 2019.

Hotel / Shuttle information

There is an agreed rate in place with the Velotel Hotel Bruges (although players are free to stay at any hotel) and we are hoping to provide a shuttle service between this hotel and the venue during the event.

There will also be a shuttle service provided to/from three local airports courtesy of club owner Olivier Vandenbohede and his team.

For full hotel/shuttle information download the full event entry pack here.

Junior Stars Boost Women’s Snooker

As the 2018/19 World Women’s Snooker Tour reaches its midway point, today we highlight the achievements of a number of our talented Under-21 players who have set significant career milestones already this season.

Whether it be career-best performances or new career high rankings, it has already been a memorable season for several junior players who have shone so far this term, as encapsulated at the recent Eden Women’s Masters which saw four players aged 19 or younger progress to the quarter-finals against experienced opposition.

Below we turn the spotlight on a few of the players who have shown their potential already so far this season, in no particular order…

Emma Parker

It has already been a landmark season for 19-year-old Emma Parker, who has twice broken new ground in recent months on the WWS circuit with career-best performances at two events.

Competing at the European Women’s Masters in Neerpelt, the youngster from Hornchurch reached her first ranking event quarter-final, notably defeating Thai star Nutcharut Wongharuthai in the first of three meetings during the weekend to top her group. She then recorded a 3-2 victory against former world championship quarter-finalist Diana Stateczny to progress to the last eight, where  Wongharuthai would turn the tables with a 3-0 win.

Parker however would have the last laugh during the weekend, a 2-0 success in the final of the Under-21 event in Belgium to not only claim her fourth junior title, but one that saw her climb to the top of the Under-21 ranking list for the first time ever.

Her biggest success to date a month later in Gloucester however as she defeated Stephanie Daughtery and then world number six Laura Evans 3-2 to reach her maiden ranking semi-final. Although she would lose out to eventual champion Reanne Evans, her performance saw her reach another significant milestone as she broke into the top 10 of the world women’s rankings for the first time.

Nutcharut Wongharuthai

Also achieving this feat earlier in the season was the prodigious Nutcharut Wongharuthai, another 19-year-old who looks to have a big future in the sport in front of her.

Having competed at the mixed gender SangSom 6-Red World Championship in her home country back in September, the Bangkok native made a strong start to her campaign on the World Women’s Snooker Tour by reaching the semi-finals of the UK Women’s Championship in Leeds, narrowly losing out a black-ball game to Rebecca Kenna. She would at least have the consolation of claiming her third Under-21 title with a 2-1 victory over Shannon Metcalf.

Better was to come in Belgium however as she stunned Ng On Yee at the last 16 stage before taking the scalp of home hero Wendy Jans in the semi-finals with a 4-2 victory to progress to her second ranking final. Just as at the first, the result would be a defeat to 11-time world champion Reanne Evans but her performance was enough to see her break into the top 10 for the first time.

Another semi-final run would follow at the Australian Women’s Open in Sydney later in the month, On Yee this time gaining the upper hand on her way to her latest title, but Wongharuthai – or Mink as she is better known – had done enough to end 2018 at a career-high ninth position and with a reputation as one of the most talented players on tour.

Shannon Metcalf

But while Parker and Wongharuthai have grabbed a number of the headlines, also among the silverware so far this season have been Shannon Metcalf and Stephanie Daughtery.

For Metcalf, the start of the season saw the 16-year-old broke her title duck by taking the Challenge Cup title at the UK Women’s Championship with a 3-2 victory against world number seven Suzie Opacic.

Having previously lost six side-event finals, Metcalf then made it a title double at the Eden Women’s Masters by defeating Stephanie Daughtery 2-0 to capture her first Under-21 title and secure a return to top spot in the Under-21 rankings having fallen behind Emma Parker at the previous event. She also made it through to her second-ever ranking event quarter-final in Gloucester to underline the development made with her game in recent months.

Stephanie Daughtery

Despite losing out to Metcalf in Gloucester, it was nevertheless a weekend to remember for Stephanie Daughtery after the 17-year-old captured her third side-event title by claiming the Challenge Cup with victory against ninth ranked Diana Schuler of Germany.

Perhaps the most memorable moment for the youngster from Wakefield however came in the under-21 event where she earned a hard-fought win against Emma Parker in the semi-finals, turning the tables after losing her previous four matches to Parker since the start of the 2017/18 season.

Career bests

It is not just the title winners who have shown promise however, 11th ranked Aimee Benn reached only her second ever ranking event quarter-final at the Eden Masters recently, while Chloe White achieved a new career-high ranking of 22nd after the Hampshire potter progressed to the last eight of a ranking tournament for the first time in Gloucester. Wakefield’s Claire Edginton too has reached three side-event semi-finals in 2018, including at her first two events during the current season.

Debut stars

As well as our regular players in recent years we are also delighted to have welcomed new players this season who have also impressed. Thailand’s Ploychompoo Laokiatphong in particular made an immediate impact with a shock 2-1 victory against world number three Rebecca Kenna at the UK Women’s Championship on her debut in September, eventually losing out to top ranked Ng On Yee at the quarter-final stage.

And most recently we welcomed 12-year-old Zoe Killington to the Eden Women’s Masters, the Merseysider impressively winning two frames against significantly more experienced players to demonstrate her potential.

Cue case prize

Earlier this season we announced the creation of a new award for the 2018/19 season which will see our Under-21 Player of the Year receive a special cue case donated by RR Cue Cases in recognition of their achievements.

If you want to get involved and potentially stake your claim for what is set to be a fabulous prize, why not learn more about how you can join the World Women’s Snooker Tour and our thriving junior circuit HERE.

World Women’s Rankings – Eden Women’s Masters 2018 Update

The official world women’s rankings have been updated for the final time in 2018 as the season reached its midway point following victory for Reanne Evans at the Eden Women’s Masters last weekend.

The WLBS world rankings operate on a rolling two-year basis, with points earned during 2016/17 to be removed during the course of this season. At this revision, points earned at the 2017 Eden Women’s Masters (Derby) were removed from the ranking list and replaced by those earned at this year’s event held at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester.

Evans closes the gap

Reanne Evans has closed the gap to Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee to 7,050 points following her record fifth triumph at the Eden Women’s Masters last weekend.

Having entered the event 10,800 points behind her Asian rival, Evans duly maximised her opportunity to home in on the current world number one with On Yee not competing at the tournament.

Interestingly, although she claimed the maximum 7,500 points on offer by taking the title in Gloucester, the gap between the top two has only narrowed by 3,750 points as we head towards the Christmas break. This is because Evans was defending maximum points at the corresponding event in January 2017, while On Yee only reached the quarter-finals of that event in Derby, meaning that she had fewer points to defend at this update.

With 10,400 more points to defend than Evans between now and the end of the season however, On Yee must have a strong finish to the season if she is to retain her number one ranking next summer.

The top 10

Elsewhere there was a new entry to the top 10 as Emma Parker climbs four places to 10th following her maiden semi-final appearance in Gloucester. The 19-year-old replaces Aimee Benn, who herself had a positive weekend reaching only her second quarter-final, but was defending last 16 points from two seasons ago.

With no points to be removed from her total however, having not competed in the corresponding event in January 2017, Parker gains 3,750 points as she continues her rise up the ranking list from 22nd position 12 months ago. In fact only six players have earned more points than her so far this season meaning that if she can maintain her current form then she has a real chance to rise further still.

Otherwise the top 10 remains stable, players including Rebecca Kenna (3), Laura Evans (6) and Suzie Opacic (7) consolidating their positions having all reached the quarter-final stage or better at the Eden Women’s Masters.

Rise and fall

Outside of the top ten, there are career-high positions for Hong Kong trio Ho Yee Ki (12), Fong Mei Mei (17) and Pui Ying Mini Chu (18), who despite not competing in Gloucester have gained positions because they were not defending points from 2017.

Also setting a new high watermark in their respective careers are players including Chloe White (22), who reached her first quarter-final at the weekend and Jackie Ellis (23), after she reached the knockout rounds for the first time.

A little further down the list both Yvette Greenway (39) and Connie Stephens (40) have broken into the top 40 for the first time having also made it through to the last 16, while there are three new entries on the list as the circuit continues to expand.

With players on the rise it is inevitable that others have dropped down the list, most notably So Man Yan (24) who is down seven places following the expiration of her points from reaching the final of the event two years ago.

Others to have slipped down are Jenny Poulter (down four) and notably Vicky Shirley, a quarter-finalist in Derby who has played only one event since which sees her drop to 90th position on the latest list.

Under-21

For the second time in three events there is a change at the head of the under-21 rankings after Shannon Metcalf captured her first Under-21 title to reclaim top spot at the expense of Emma Parker.

Stephanie Daughtery consolidated third position after an impressive win against Parker at the semi-finals stage of Gloucester’s junior event, although she would ultimately finish as tournament runner-up to Metcalf.

The World Women’s Snooker Tour will return in 2019.

Five-Star Evans Wins Eden Masters Title

Reanne Evans defeated Rebecca Kenna 4-0 to win the Eden Women’s Masters for a fifth time in Gloucester last weekend.

First staged in 2013, the Eden Women’s Masters returned to the South West Snooker Academy as the 2018/19 World Women’s Snooker Tour season reached its halfway point.

Installed as top seed for the tournament, 11-time world champion Reanne Evans was looking to maintain her 100% record of final appearances at the Masters event and duly did so with victories against Louise Cothier, Chloe White and Emma Parker.

Joining the 33-year-old in the title match was third ranked Rebecca Kenna, who recorded comfortable wins against Jackie Ellis and Stephanie Daughtery, before defeating Suzie Opacic 4-1 in a deceptively tight semi-final to reach her second ranking final of the season.

Kenna has two previous victories against Evans to her name including a 3-2 success earlier this season at the UK Women’s Championship, but it was Evans who ran out a 4-0 winner at their most recent meeting at the last four stage of the European Women’s Masters last month

Having taken a 40-minute opening frame in Sunday’s final, Evans then survived a scare in the second after Kenna had gained a snooker on the blue to double her lead. Although Kenna continued to battle to the end it was not to be her day as Evans added the following two frames to complete her fourth whitewash of the weekend and secure the title with a perfect 100% record, replicating her achievement at the same tournament back in January 2017.

The triumph was Evans’ second title of the season following her success at the European Women’s Masters last month. The world number two also claimed the high break prize with her final day run of 62 and closes the gap to top ranked Ng On Yee at the top of the world rankings heading into the second half of the season.

As well as the finalists, the tournament was also significant for a number of promising junior players on the tour with four Under-21 players progressing to the quarter-finals of the main event and 19-year-old Emma Parker building on her recent progress by reaching the semi-finals of a World Women’s Snooker Tour event for the first time in her career.

Side-events

The Challenge Cup event for players who had not reached the quarter-finals of the main competition was won by Stephanie Daughtery, who defeated Sharon Kaur, Connie Stephens and Germany’s Diana Schuler 2-0 in the final to claim the title.

It was a busy Sunday for Daughtery who also reached the final of the Under-21 event following a notable 2-1 win against Emma Parker in the semi-finals. There would not be a title double however as she was defeated by Shannon Metcalf in the final, a result that takes the Leeds youngster back to the top of the Under-21 ranking list ahead of Parker.

Finally there was a maiden Seniors event victory for Tanja Ender of Germany who defeated Bugsie Cothier, Sharon Kaur and Maureen Rowland to take home the top prize.

The World Women’s Snooker Tour will return in 2019. View the latest calendar of events HERE.

Eden Women’s Masters 2018: Draw and Format Released

The draw and format for this weekend’s Eden Women’s Masters is now available:

The event is the fourth event of the 2018/19 World Women’s Snooker Tour season and as in 2017 will be the final competition of the calendar year. The players will return to the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester with top seed Reanne Evans gunning for a record fourth Eden Women’s Masters title since the event was first held in 2013 and looking to close the gap to Ng On Yee at the top of the ranking list.

She will be joined by several talented women including this season’s UK Women’s Championship finalist Rebecca Kenna, former world women’s number one Maria Catalano and Welsh star Laura Evans, who reached the final of the event back in 2015.

Alongside the main tournament there will also be side-events for Under-21 and Seniors players, with players to note that both of these competitions will begin on Saturday. There will also be a Challenge Cup event for players who have been knocked out of the main competition before Sunday to guarantee snooker on both days for all players.

If you have any questions please contact a member of the team via our website.

On Yee On Top Down Under

Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee has captured her second ranking event title of the 2018/19 World Women’s Snooker Tour (WWST) season following a 4-2 success against compatriot Katrina Wan to win the Australian Women’s Open earlier today.

The four-day tournament was held for the first time at the Mounties Club in Sydney with the support of the Australian Billiards and Snooker Council as the women’s circuit continues to expand its global reach.

Following three days of competition with a mix of local and international tour players there was a familiar line-up on finals day as the top four seeded players were the last women standing to contest the semi-finals. World number one Ng On Yee had shown impressive form throughout the competition and progressed to the title match following a 4-2 victory against Thailand’s Nutcharut Wongharuthai, avenging her defeat to the 18-year-old at the recent European Masters in Belgium.

With 11-time world champion Reanne Evans competing in the opposite half of the draw and been in ominous form during the previous days with three century breaks scored, many were anticipating another final between the top two seeds. World number six Katrina Wan had other plans however as she stunned the English player with a brilliant 4-3 victory to reach the final of a WWST event for the first time in her career. It was a first-ever victory against Evans for an emotional Wan and set up the first all-Hong Kong final on the tour since 2012.

Wan picked up where she left off by taking a close opening frame against On Yee in the final, before the top seed dominated the following three frames with a top run of 66 to move to the brink of yet another title. Although Wan was able to respond with a break of 45 to reduce her arrears to a single frame, On Yee compiled a break of 55 in frame six to seal victory.

The success is On Yee’s third title of the calendar year (World Championship, UK Championship) and will see the world number one extend her lead over Reanne Evans at the top of the world rankings heading into next month’s Eden Masters in England.

On Yee also achieved another significant career-milestone in Sydney as her magnificent break of 139 in her semi-final victory against Nutcharut Wongharuthai was not only enough to secure the high break prize in Australia, but is also a new career-best break for On Yee in competition. It was a week of high-scoring throughout with six century breaks compiled between On Yee (139, 108), Evans (137, 110, 109) and Wongharuthai (115), with a further 19 breaks of 50 or better constructed throughout the competition.

We would like to thank all of the players and officials who have supported what has been a landmark event both for the WWST and ABSC and we look forward to visiting Australia again in the future.

The World Women’s Snooker Tour continues later this month with the Eden Women’s Masters which will be played across two days at the South West Snooker Academy on 24-25 November 2018.

Enter online now HERE.

Festival of Women’s Snooker to be Rescheduled

Following today’s announcement that this season’s World Women’s Snooker Championship will take place in Dubai from 28-31 March 2019 we can now also confirm that the dates of next year’s Festival of Women’s Snooker event will now change.

Previously announced to run from 29 March – 2 April 2019, the five-day event which sees up to six world titles decided each spring will now be rescheduled.

Further information about the Festival will appear on our website as soon as possible.

World Women’s Rankings – UK Women’s Championship 2018 Update

The official world women’s rankings have been updated for the first time this season following the latest title triumph for Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee at the LITEtask UK Women’s Snooker Championship last weekend.

The WLBS world rankings operate on a rolling two-year basis, with points earned during 2016/17 to be removed during the course of this season. At this revision, points earned at the 2016 Paul Hunter Ladies Classic and 2016 UK Ladies Snooker Championship events have been removed from the ranking list and replaced by those earned last weekend at the Northern Snooker Centre.

On Yee extends her advantage

Following the successful defence of her UK title in Leeds, Hong Kong star Ng On Yee has significantly tightened her grip on top spot with her lead now stretching from 5,850 to 13,612 points to second placed Reanne Evans.

This significant swing is primarily the result of two factors, the first of course being On Yee’s victory combined with the surprise last 16 exit of record eight-time UK champion Evans to Rebecca Kenna.

The second reason is that as well as having more points going onto her total after this event, On Yee also had fewer points to defend with 12,300 coming off her total compared to 13,500 for Evans following their respective results two years ago. Interestingly this pattern will continue through until early next year with Evans defending winners points  from the Eden Women’s Masters (7,500) at which On Yee lost in the quarter-finals (3,750), as well as semi-final points from the 2017 Connie Gough Trophy (3,200) at which On Yee did not compete.

The tables will turn after that however with On Yee set to defend a further 20,000 points before the end of the season compared to just 6,400 for Evans, giving the Dudley star a chance to close down the gap.

The top 10

Keighley-based Rebecca Kenna has moved back up Maria Catalano into a career-best equalling third position following her run to the final at the UK Women’s Snooker Championship.

The two most consistent performers on the tour outside of the top two in recent seasons, the pair have enjoyed a competitive battle in 2018 which has seen them regularly swap places in the table and it will be interesting to see whether either player can make that position their own over the coming months or even mount a serious challenge to the top two.

There is no change in position elsewhere in the top ten, although Katrina Wan has closed the gap to fifth placed Laura Evans by reaching the quarter-finals, while Evans was not in action in Leeds.

Ranking risers

It was another successful event for Thailand’s Nutcharut Wongharuthai who climbs six places to a career-high 11th position following her run to the semi-finals. With no points to come off her total prior to next year’s World Women’s Championship, it would appear inevitable that the 18-year-old will soon break into top ten for the first time and could follow the example set in recent years by players like Rebecca Kenna and Laura Evans who have firmly established themselves inside the top six.

Other significant movers include Hong Kong’s Ho Yee Ki who climbs four places to 17th following her run to the quarter-finals, while there are new career-high positions for several players including Chloe White (23) and Connie Stephens (44), who reached the last 16 of an event for the first time in Leeds.

Of the five debutants in action this weekend Ploychompoo Laokiatphong enjoyed the most success by making it through to the last eight and is rewarded with an initial ranking of 59.

Under-21 rankings

Turning to the Under-21 rankings and 16-year-old Shannon Metcalf remains in top spot following her run to the final this weekend in Leeds. Interestingly however, second placed Emma Parker has closed the gap to just 300 points after her semi-final run because she had no points to defend having not competed at the event in 2016 while Metcalf was defending final points from that year.

Both players are now comfortably clear of third placed Stephanie Daughtery, who was defending champion’s points from the UK Under-21s Championship in 2016.

Elsewhere, this weekend’s champion Nutcharut Wongharuthai climbs one place to seventh and with two titles from three since joining the tour as a regular player earlier this year, it would again be no surprise to see her gain further positions over the coming months.

Next up will be the WLBS European Women’s Masters 2018, which will be held for the first time at De Maxx Snooker Club in Neerpelt, Belgium from 5-7 October 2018. Enter now online HERE.

LITEtask UK Women’s Snooker Championship: Tournament Preview

The World Women’s Snooker Tour will return this weekend with the LITEtask UK Women’s Snooker Championship in Leeds and with the draws for the tournament now out, today we take a look at a few of the key themes to follow throughout the event.

The top two

Having shared last season’s silverware between them, current world number one Ng On Yee and 11-time world champion Reanne Evans will once again head into the tournament as the players to beat.

On Yee, who last season won the event for a third time with a 4-1 victory against Evans in the final, will be looking to extend her advantage at the top of the current world rankings with the gap currently standing at 5,850 points at the close of last season. In fact, with Evans defending maximum points from the corresponding event two years ago when she defeated On Yee in the semi-finals, the Hong Kong player will only need to complete her first match to guarantee retaining top spot following the event.

Record eight-time UK champion Evans however comes into the event having won three of the past four singles competitions on the tour and with 5,450 fewer points to be removed from her total during the course of this season will be keen to start closing the gap this weekend in Leeds.

Group draw

With the top two seeded through to the knockout rounds the remaining 26 players will contest Saturday’s group stage with the top two guaranteed to progress from each of the seven groups.

There is a real feeling of variety to this event with nine of the world’s top ten joined by five players who will be making their first appearances on the women’s circuit in Leeds, including players from the USA and Thailand.

Group A is headed by two-time UK Championship semi-finalist Suzie Opacic who will be aiming to go one match further this weekend and reach the final for the first time. The current world number seven will be joined by Thailand’s Nutcharut Wongharuthai, fresh from her appearance at last week’s SangSom 6-Red World Championship in Thailand, as well as Elizabeth Black and Heidi De Gruchy.

Grimsby’s De Gruchy will be making her return following a year off the tour since the corresponding event in 2017 at which she qualified for the knockout stages for the first time before losing out to Reanne Evans.

Over in Group B we have a real mix of youth and experience with top seed Aimee Benn joined by fellow junior Steph Daughtery and seniors competitor Dorothée Rapp of Germany. The group is completed by Hull’s Kate Longworth, the first of five debutants at the Northern Snooker Centre.

On paper one of the most eye-catching groups is Group C which will see world number four Rebecca Kenna looking to progress beyond the quarter-final stages of this event for the first time.

She will be up against former world women’s under-21 champion Emma Parker, Claire Edginton and Thai debutant Ploychompoo Laokiatphong. Coached by professional player Mike Dunn, the Thai youngster is well-regarded as a player and like each of the newcomers this weekend, a welcome addition to the circuit.

Two players from Hong Kong have found themselves paired in Group D with world number six Katrina Wan paired with compatriot Ho Yi Kee. Joining them will be two-time under-21 event winner Chloe White and 13th ranked Shannon Metcalf.

The final four-woman group is Group E with 2012 champion Maria Catalano its seeded star. Winner of the Connie Gough Trophy in 2017, Catalano is the last player other than Ng On Yee or Reanne Evans to claim silverware on the circuit and will of course look a little different this weekend following the completion of her ‘brave the shave’ challenge on Friday evening.

Set to challenge her on the baize will be Maureen Rowland together with two more newcomers to the circuit in the form of Jessica Connolly and Frances Eames Noland, the latter becoming our first active player from the United States of America.

There is also an international flavour to Group F with Germany’s top ranked player Diana Schuler set to be joined by former world number three Jaique Ip Wan In of Hong Kong and England’s Jackie Ellis.

Lastly, Group G is headed by the experienced Jenny Poulter, who will take on Connie Stephens and our final newcomer for this event, Michelle Baker. The wife of World Disability Billiards and Snooker player David Baker, Michelle has caught the snooker bug and will be looking to make a name for herself starting in Leeds.

Side events

The weekend will also see side-events played across both days of snooker.

The under-21s competition will see eight players begin at the quarter-finals stage in a straight knockout draw with Shannon Metcalf and Emma Parker kept apart as the top two seeds based upon their positions on the current Under-21 ranking list.

First up for home player Metcalf will be a clash with Claire Edginton with either Chloe White or two-time UK under-21s champion Steph Daughtery awaiting in the semi-finals. In the bottom half of the draw Parker will begin her defence of the title that she claimed a year ago against Aimee Benn, while there will also be an all-Thai clash between Nutcharut Wongharuthai and Ploychompoo Laokiatphong.

With six entries received into the seniors competition, both Jenny Poulter and Jackie Ellis have been randomly drawn straight through to the semi-finals and will each await the winner of a preliminary round match. Playing for the right to face two-time defending champion Poulter will be last year’s runner-up Maureen Rowland and Germany’s Dorothée Rapp, while Yvette Greenway faces newcomer Michelle Baker in the bottom half of the draw.

In addition to these two side-events there will also be a Challenge Cup tournament held for players who have not qualified to play during Sunday’s final stages.

Tournament updates

As always, the latest results and draws from the 2018 LITEtask UK Women’s Snooker Championship will be available to view throughout the weekend at MySnookerStats, with regular updates and photos to be posted at our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Catalano to ‘Brave the Shave’ at UK Women’s Snooker Championship

If you are planning on coming to the Northern Snooker Centre for the LITEtask UK Women’s Snooker Championship next month, you might notice one of our leading players looking a little differently than normal.

World no.3 Maria Catalano will be ‘braving the shave’ on the eve of the tournament in support of Macmillan Cancer Support, a registered charity based in the UK which provides support for people affected by cancer.

Maria has decided to undertake the challenge in memory of her late father Antonio who very sadly passed away following a short battle with cancer earlier this summer and has been overwhelmed by the support that she has received.

“I would like to thank everybody for the support with my challenge and focus of supporting Macmillan,” said Catalano. “My reasoning for this is all about saying thank you. I’m not going to say I’m not scared because I am, but there are always woolly hats and hopefully my Italian roots will make my hair grow back quickly!

Maria Catalano plays snooker

“What this has taught me is to never ever take life for granted. It is a cliché I know but you really can be here today and gone tomorrow. I want to turn my heartbreak into a positive and give something back and just to raise awareness of the great man my dad was. I am so grateful for the donations and the awareness, it is deeply appreciated.”

Catalano, who earlier this year reached the final of the 2018 World Women’s Championship in Malta, is also known for being the cousin of five-time world professional champion Ronnie O’Sullivan who has today given his backing to her challenge.

“Antonio was my uncle and I used to spend a lot of time up there when I was youngster in particular,” said O’Sullivan. “He was the kindest, most gentle, lovely human being you can imagine meeting. He was very hard working with the ice cream business and a big family man. He will be forever missed.

“I know how close Maria was to her dad and how painful it was for her, so all credit to her for doing something like this.”

All of us at World Ladies Billiards and Snooker are of course fully supportive of Maria and are delighted that she will be undertaking the challenge surrounded by her snooker family at approximately 7:00pm at the Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds prior to the start of the new season.

To read Maria’s story and to help her to smash her £2,000 target donate now at: https://bravetheshave.macmillan.org.uk/shavers/maria-catalano