Category: News

On Yee with Jason Ferguson, Mandy Fisher and Chris Chuah

Malta to Host World Women’s Snooker Championship

The WLBS World Women’s Snooker Championship 2018 will run from 14-17 March at the Dolmen Hotel, Malta.

For the first time, the event will be contested as part of the WSF Championships, staged by snooker’s new International Federation the World Snooker Federation.

The winner of the WLBS World Women’s Snooker Championship this year will receive  a €6,000 first prize and all eight of the quarter-finalists will receive automatic entry into the WSF Championship, a mixed gender event, carrying a first prize of €10,000 and a place on the World Snooker Tour. This will be the first time that international amateur events are creating an equal opportunity for men and women to qualify for the tour.

Last year’s event was won by Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee, who defeated both 11-time champion Reanne Evans and India’s Vidya Pillai in deciding frames during a memorable final day to capture the title for a second time in Singapore.

WSF (World Snooker Federation) (Logo)World Snooker Federation

There is currently a significant restructure ongoing in the interests of promoting greater participation and opportunities in snooker and billiards for the future. At the heart of this is the creation of the World Snooker Federation (WSF), a new International Federation for snooker based in Switzerland and supported by a range of bodies including the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, the European Billiards and Snooker Association. WLBS shares the vision of the WSF for global sports governance and earlier this year became a full member body.

The WSF is committed to working closely with National Federations (NF) that share its vision for the future of sports governance. In order to promote the interests of these federations a new selection process has been announced for this year’s WLBS World Women’s Championship as follows:

  • The top 30 players on the WLBS World Ranking list following the 2018 WLBS British Open will be eligible to be nominated by their national federation to compete.
  • In addition to these players, each National Federation (NF) will be able to nominate up to FOUR additional players to compete.
  • Only players representing National Federations who are members of the WSF by the event entry deadline of 1 March 2018 will be eligible to be nominated.
  • ALL players must be nominated to compete by their NF who will enter players into the tournament. We therefore strongly advise all players to contact their NF as soon as possible to confirm their nomination.
  • Any players nominated by their NF who are ranked within the top 30 of the WLBS ranking list will not count towards the four nominations available to each NF.

How to enter

All players must be nominated to play by their National Federations via the following link: http://esnooker.pl/entry_form_wsf/entry_form.php

If you are a player and wish to enter, we strongly advise you to contact your National Federation as soon as possible.

For further information about the WSF Championships please click HERE.

 

Record Year for Ng On Yee

Mark Selby grabbed the headlines on the professional circuit last year as he completed a successful defence of his World Championship title to finish the 2016/17 season with a record-equalling five-ranking titles.

But the ‘Jester from Leicester’ was not the only player to enjoy a five-star campaign as Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee matched his feat on the WLBS World Women’s Snooker Tour, claiming five ranking titles of her own during the calendar year.

The highlight for the 27-year-old came in Singapore as she defeated 11-time champion Reanne Evans and India’s Vidya Pillai, both in dramatic final frame deciders, to claim the World Women’s Championship for a second time. She quickly followed up her success by adding further world crowns at Six and Ten Red levels a month later to complete a hat-trick of titles.

Although she lost out to Evans at the Paul Hunter Women’s Classic to start the new season, she quickly turned the tables with victories at the UK Women’s Championship and Women’s Masters competitions to complete a career-best year on the tour.

Such is the extent of her success during the year that the second ranked player has put herself in with a chance to overtake long-term number Evans and become world number one for the first time if she can make a good start to 2018.

‘Only the beginning’

But for On Yee, while last year yielded the most silverware of her career to date, she firmly believes that the best is still yet to come with many years and challenges ahead of her on the green baize.

“I always live by the following slogan: If you believe it, you can achieve it!” said On Yee. “2017 was definitely my best year by far.

“A lot of people have asked whether this defines the peak of my career. For me it is is quite the opposite, I believe this is only the beginning of a very long career for me. Even the best player cannot guarantee that he or she will win every game, but I believe there’s still a lot for me to learn both on and off the table – and if I keep on learning, I can only get stronger! In particular I have recently been working really hard on improving my scoring and break building.”

Breakthrough

The 27-year-old began competing in WLBS events in 2011 and quickly climbed the rankings, scoring her first victory against top dog Reanne Evans on her way to winning the UK Women’s Championship for the first time in 2013.

Her real breakthrough came however at the WLBS World Women’s Championship in 2015, when she ended Evans’ ten-year reign as world champion in the semi-finals, before going on to defeat Emma Bonney in the final to claim the sport’s biggest title for the first time.

Becoming a star

Such success has seen her become a bona fide sporting icon in her native Hong Kong, transcending her sport and being profiled in the internationally famous Elle Magazine. In 2016 she was named ‘Best of the Best’ at the prestigious Hong Kong Sports Star Awards, becoming the first non-cyclist to win the award for seven years.

Last summer On Yee took played in exhibition matches against legendary figures Stephen Hendry and Jimmy White at the inaugural Hong Kong Masters, a ground-breaking tournament which attracted crowds of over 3,000 in her homeland and that On Yee hopes will return in the future.

“It makes me very happy to see more opportunities and greater awareness for snooker in Asia, i.e. the Women’s World Championship being held in Singapore and the first Hong Kong Masters. In Hong Kong, we always have full support from the government and Hong Kong people. Tickets sold very well this year, meaning we have increased number of snooker fans.

“I don’t see why we cannot have similar matches or exhibition opportunities in the future. Hopefully this can be a yearly cultural event, along with sports including Formula E, Volleyball and Marathons.”

The World Women’s Snooker Tour will return next month with the WLBS British Open, to be played at the Stourbridge Institute on the weekend of 17-18 February 2018.

Rankings – On Yee Closes the Gap

The official WLBS world women’s rankings have been updated for the final time in 2017 following Ng On Yee’s maiden success at the Eden Women’s Masters last weekend.

The WLBS world rankings operate on a rolling two-year basis, with points earned during 2015/16 to be removed during the course of this season. At this update, points earned during the 2015 Women’s Masters in Cambridge have been removed from player’s totals and replaced with those earned during this year’s corresponding event in Gloucester.

On Yee closes the gap

A dramatic 4-3 victory for Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee has seen her narrow the gap to top ranked Reanne Evans at the top of the world rankings from 6,800 to just 1,550 points at the mid-way point of the 2017/18 season.

This is because not only has Evans dropped 1,500 points, having finished as runner-up compared to winning the event back in 2015, but On Yee has gained 3,750 points as she only reached the quarter-finals previously, resulting in an overall swing of 5,250 in On Yee’s favour.

The net result is that with Evans set to defend winner’s points from three events at the start of 2018, 26-year-old On Yee now has a real opportunity to become number one for the first time in her career with a strong second half of the season.

Rebecca Kenna at SWSA

The top 10

While third ranked Maria Catalano has consolidated her position of ‘best of the rest’ having matched her semi-final result of two years ago, behind her Rebecca Kenna is up to a new career-high position of number four.

The Keighley potter maintained her run of having reached the semi-finals at every event so far this season with a 3-1 victory against Laura Evans, enough to guarantee that she would trade places with the Welsh player in the rankings. For Evans, the weekend also marked the first event during her current spell on tour at which she was defending ranking points, having memorably made it through to the final on her return to the circuit at this event back in 2015.

Elsewhere inside the top 10, Germany’s Diana Schuler breaks up into the top eight for the first time in her career following her last 16 run at the South West Snooker Academy, while So Man Yan despite not taking part in the event is also up into the top 10 due to other players around her in the rankings losing more points at this revision from two years ago.

Claire Edginton in Germany

Junior joy

It was a strong week for a number of the junior players involved with no fewer than five under-21 players successfully qualifying for the knockout stages.

Among them, Aimee Benn rises three places to 14th, while one of the big winners in terms of positions gained was 18-year-old Claire Edginton, who ascends six positions from 25th to 19th following her performances in Gloucester.

Also on the rise are under-21 finalists Emma Parker and Chloe White, up to 22nd and 30th places respectively after they also progressed to the last 16 of the main competition.

And finally, following an all-Hong Kong final in the Challenge Cup event, winner Pui Ying Mini Chu has climbed nine places to 33rd, while runner-up Ho Yee Ki rises four to 27th.

The World Women’s Snooker Tour returns in 2018 with further information about upcoming events to be announced in due course. Learn more about how you can join our events at www.wlbsl.com

Sharon Kaur playing snooker

WLBS Statement: Sharon Kaur

World Ladies Billiards and Snooker (WLBS) has today announced that director Sharon Kaur has left the board.

Sharon joined the board in 2014 and most recently served as WLBS Vice President and Sport Development director following the restructure of the body in December 2015 which saw the WLBS become a subsidiary company of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association.

WLBS would like to thank Sharon for her contribution to the World Women’s Snooker Tour during the past three years and to wish her all the best for the future. We also look forward to welcoming her to future tournaments as a player.

On Yee with Masters Trophy

On Yee Masters SWSA

Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee made it a title double in October as she won the Eden Women’s Masters for the first time last weekend in Gloucester.

Having captured the UK Women’s Championship for the third time at the start of the month, On Yee narrowly edged out world number one Reanne Evans 4-3 in the final to add the Masters crown to her growing list of honours at the South West Snooker Academy.

On Yee took two of the first three frames during the final, with four-time defending champion Evans claiming the second with a run of 50. The 11-time world champion had already survived a real scare from Maria Catalano in the semi-finals as she came back from 2-0 down to come through in a decider and she looked on for a repeat in the final as she then won back to back frames to move one from victory at 3-2.

A topsy-turvy final was to have another twist however as On Yee compiled a match high break of 64 to force a deciding frame, which she would eventually win with a clearance to the pink to snatch victory.

Mini Chu with Stuart Barker

The success caps a career-year for the 26-year-old who has now won five ranking titles on the World Women’s Snooker Tour in 2017. Having captured the World Women’s Championship in Singapore back in March, she then added world titles in the six and ten red events in Leeds a month later, before taking back to back crowns in October.

She will now also close the gap to just 1,550 points when the official WLBS ranking list is revised this week and with significantly fewer points to defend during the remainder of this season compared to Evans, now has a strong chance of claiming the top ranking for the first time in her career early in 2018.

Evans would at least finish the event with the high break following her spectacular total clearance of 139 during her last 16 victory against Claire Edginton on Saturday. The break was her third highest ever in competition, having twice previously compiled a break of 140.

Chloe White presented with trophy by Mandy Fisher

Side events

As well as the main competition in Gloucester, the Challenge Cup also saw victory for Hong Kong as Pui Ying Mini Chu defeated compatriot Yee Ki Ho 3-0 in the final to capture her first silverware on the World Women’s Snooker Tour.

There were successful title defences in both the Under-21 and Seniors events meanwhile as Chloe White defeated recent UK Under-21 champion Emma Parker 3-2 to claim her second Women’s Masters trophy, while Jenny Poulter ran out a 3-1 winner against WLBS first-timer Jackie Ellis to retain her title.

Reanne Evans plays rest shot

Reanne Targets Tour Return

Earlier this year Reanne Evans became the first woman to win a match at the World Championship in Sheffield and snooker’s biggest female star admits that she would love to experience the ‘buzz’ of the professional circuit again on a regular basis.

Dudley’s Evans describes her 10-8 win against Finland’s Robin Hull as the best win of her career ‘by far’ in particular because of how highly she regards the former Shoot Out champion as a player in his own right.

“I class Robin as a top class player and much better than his ranking,” said Evans. “In our match I thought that he played well but I was just able to put him under a little pressure.

“I was proud of myself for that win. It was great to hear comments afterwards like how I looked like a pro out there. It was the most comfortable I have felt playing, using the nerves to help me.

“A couple of years ago when I played Ken Doherty [Doherty won 10-8 at the same stage of the event] we both struggled and I had a sniff at winning. I was gutted, the most gutted I have ever been – so to win against Robin was amazing for me.”

Back in 2010/11 Evans was awarded a wildcard to compete on the professional circuit for a season but was unable to make an impact, despite coming close on a few occasions, notably taking then reigning world champion Neil Robertson to a deciding frame at the EPTC6 event. Nevertheless she enjoyed the experience and would love the opportunity to compete once more against the best players in the world on the open tour.

“When I was on tour I didn’t win a match,” explained Evans. “But I learned so much and my game improved loads. Being on tour just gave me another lease of life and was something different and new to try. It also gave me the chance to prove points to myself in some ways.

“Would I like that feeling again? Of course while I’m still playing I will try to get back there. It would be in my mind the only thing I haven’t achieved regularly.”

Successful start

While she has occasionally had the opportunity to compete on the open tour, the 31-year-old has remained a constant force on the World Women’s Snooker Tour which she has dominated since claiming the first of a record 11 WLBS world titles to date in 2005.

She started the 2017/18 season in familiar fashion by claiming a dominant victory at the Paul Hunter Women’s Classic in Germany, defeating Ng On Yee 4-1 in the final before the Hong Kong player turned the tables to win by the same scoreline at the LITEtask UK Championship in October.

“It has been a good start to the season,” continued Evans, who is currently supported on tour by Elite Studio 147, the Blade Cue and World Seniors Championship organiser Jason Francis. “Obviously I try to win everything I enter, but I haven’t been playing great for a while now and I have been suffering with a neck injury recently so have got to be pleased with my results.

“I always strive to win more and set more records, but I can’t take players like On Yee for granted and I don’t like losing so as my mom would say – I need to pull my socks up!”

Reanne Evans poses with WDBS players

WDBS Visit

Earlier this season Evans took time out to visit the Open Disability Snooker Championship organised by World Disability Billiards and Snooker at the Golden Cue in Bilston, England. People with various disabilities were thrilled to meet the player widely recognised as the sport’s greatest ever female player who was impressed by what she saw.

“I must admit that when I went to see the WDBS tour I had no idea what to expect,” continued Evans. “When I walked in and saw players with all different types of disability knocking balls in on off the lamp shades, just being generally happy to be there and loving playing, it really opened my eyes.

“I thought it was fantastic. They even made their own equipment so that they could play – nothing stopped them! They just loved it and I wish them all the best.”

On Yee playing snooker

Rankings Update: October 2017

The official WLBS world women’s rankings have been updated for the second time this season following victory for Ng On Yee at the LITEtask UK Women’s Championship last weekend.

The WLBS world rankings operate on a rolling two-year basis, with points earned during 2015/16 to be removed during the course of this season. At this update, points earned during the 2015 UK Women’s Championship have been removed from player’s totals and replaced with those earned during this year’s corresponding event in Leeds.

On Yee defends points

With her third career victory at the LITEtask UK Women’s Championship at the weekend, Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee was able to successfully consolidate her position behind beaten finalist Evans in the world rankings.

In fact neither player sees a change to their points totals as the final was a repeat of their 2015 meeting also won by On Yee, therefore the reigning world champion remains 6,800 points behind Dudley’s Evans.

Suzie Opacic playing shot

The top 10

Behind the top two, Maria Catalano who was a semi-finalist in Leeds remains in third position, while Laura Evans and Rebecca Kenna have narrowed the gap behind with quarter-final runs, with neither losing points this weekend having not played in the event two years ago. Evans will however be defending big points at the upcoming Eden Masters having reached the final of that event two years ago on her return to the World Women’s Snooker Tour.

Suzie Opacic moves up a place to 7th above the absent Tatjana Vasiljeva following her quarter-final run, while Germany’s Diana Schuler rises to a new career high of number nine following her last 16 run.

Finally, Seniors event winner Jenny Poulter reclaims a top 10 position at the expense of Jaique Ip Wan In, who has missed the first two events of the 2017/18 season and drops two to 11th.

Emma Parker playing snooker

 

The chasing pack

Outside of the top 10 notable movers include Ireland’s Paula Judge, up six to 21st following her last eight run in Leeds, while U21 winner Emma Parker has also gained six positions to climb into the top 30 after she reached the last 16 of the main competition on Saturday.

Heidi De Gruchy was also a big mover having reached the last 16 at a 15-red WLBS event for the first time, moving up to 23rd position from her starting position of 29th.

Teenage duo Stephanie Daughtery and Aimee Benn have also gained positions inside the top 20 having successfully qualified for the knockout stages, while Challenge Cup winner Ho Yee Ki moves up 12 places to 31st after she also reached the last 16 of the main event.

The updated ranking list will be used to determine the seedings for the Eden Women’s Masters later this month – enter the event now at www.wlbsl.com

Suzie Opacic at PHWC

Opacic Plans Flying Start at UK Women’s Championship

This weekend sees the return of the World Women’s Snooker Tour returns with the LITEtask UK Women’s Championship 2017, the second ranking event of the new season.

Among the field will be current WLBS world number eight Suzie Opacic, who is looking forward to returning to the baize having missed out on the recent Paul Hunter Women’s Classic won by Reanne Evans in Germany.

We caught up with Suzie recently to look ahead to this weekend’s tournament, hear why she believes that recent changes to the Tour have given women’s snooker a real boost and also learn more about her life away from the table…

Hi Suzie, you are currently preparing for your first event of the new season this weekend in Leeds. How much are you looking forward to getting back to the baize for what will be your first event of the new season?

I’ve still been practising over the summer and I’m really looking forward to getting back into tournament play after missing the Paul Hunter Women’s Classic.

I was surprised that I managed to hold onto eighth spot in the rankings despite missing the event in Germany, so I am hoping that I can have a good tournament in Leeds and push on up the rankings.

You played well in Leeds last year and were unfortunate to lose out in a decider to eventual runner up Tatjana Vasiljeva. What are your targets for this year?

To not lose as many deciders! I had a number of very close matches last season at crucial times, and so hopefully this season I can maintain my composure under pressure and win those vital frames when they really matter.

I always just aim to do my absolute best at a tournament – at the end of the day it’s all down to how you play on the day and everything clicking into place!

You have been competing on the tour for most of the last decade but we have seen some big developments over the past 12 months, notably with tournaments overseas in Germany and Singapore. What have you made of the changes and the direction that the tour is heading in?

Yes, my first tournament was in 2006. I had a four-year break from the circuit largely due to studying and completing a Masters, but also because the circuit was going downhill, with low entry numbers, fewer tournaments and no real incentive to play.

The last few years however have seen a huge change to women’s snooker with backing from sponsors like LITEtask and Eden but the change of structure too, which has been a real boost.

I’ve been really fortunate this season to have the backing of Billiards Boutique, and this sort of sponsorship really boosts the circuit and allows more players to compete.

The circuit is seeing new faces at every tournament, and more tournaments abroad which is increasing the standard and giving the game more appeal. I was very impressed in Singapore by the standard of some of the younger Thai players especially.

How much encouragement for the future does it give you to see Reanne Evans winning matches on the Main Tour and Ng On Yee playing in big arenas at the World Games and in Hong Kong recently?

Seeing Reanne and On Yee increasing the profile of the women’s game is a real boost and it gets more girls playing – we need more of this to raise the publicity of women’s snooker and encourage girls to take up the game.

There’s still a standard gap between the men’s and women’s circuits and this gap needs to be broken down so the women’s game can attract more sponsors and increase the profile of the women’s game – and there’s no reason the standard should be any lower, it’s just down to getting more girls playing from grassroots level.

Looking back at this year’s World Women’s Championship in Singapore in March, how memorable was the week and would you like to see more tournaments held in Asia?

Singapore was a fantastic experience. To be able to play the game you love on the other side of the world, meeting new players in a new environment, it was great. It was clear that there’s some huge talent across other parts of the world and there’s no reason why the women’s game should be so restricted to UK tournaments. More tournaments in Asia will boost the profile of the women’s game and help increase the standard too.

For many years Reanne Evans dominated the women’s tour and of course she is still the number one ranked player, but in Ng On Yee she seems to have a real contender now. How good is that rivalry for women’s snooker?

Women’s snooker, and any sport, needs that rivalry to increase standards and push players to strive to be the best. Everyone wants to be challenged and it was clear in Singapore there are some real contenders pushing forward in the women’s game, which is great to see.

Earlier this year we saw Chloe White win her first under-21s event at the Eden Masters in Derby. You know her well and must have been pleased to see her win that event?

Chloe plays at the same club as me and so it was great to see her win. I’ve seen her progress really well over the last few years. Her game has rapidly improved and she’s proved she’s a real contender to pick up junior titles. It’s great to see more junior players on the circuit and their commitment is fantastic.

Finally, away from the baize there have also been exciting developments for you as you have taken up a new job. Tell us a little bit about that…

I changed jobs in the summer and now work for Heathrow Airport as a town planner in the Expansion team. My role is to help get planning consent for the new runway and associated expansion project. It’s a £17 billion project and also includes realigning the M25, so it’s a very exciting project to be working on but also very challenging.

It’s a fine balance between work and managing to find the time to practice, but as long as I can continue to compete, especially when many of the girls play full time, then I’ll enjoy playing on the circuit. At least if there are more tournaments abroad I can go straight from work to the plane!

Good luck to Suzie and the rest of the field in action this weekend at the LITEtask UK Women’s Championship. View the draw here.

Updated WLBS Rankings: April 2017

The official WLBS world women’s ranking list has now been updated following the concluding event of the season, the LITEtask Festival of Women’s Snooker in Leeds, England.

The WLBS world rankings operate on a rolling two-year basis, with points earned during the 2014/15 season having been removed during the course of this season. With no remaining points to be deducted however, no points have been removed from the ranking list following the Festival, which has seen points added to the total.

It has been the perfect week for second-ranked Ng On Yee, who with victories in both the 6-Red and 10-Red competitions in Leeds has slashed the advantage of world number one Reanne Evans by more than half.

With the 11-time world champion in competition at the professional Betfred World Championship and so unable to compete at the Festival, On Yee has reduced Evans’ lead from 15,300 points to just 5,300.

Elsewhere, there is just one further change within the top 10, with the newly married Rebecca Kenna (née Granger), achieving a new career-high of sixth position, switching places with Latvia’s Tatjana Vasiljeva.

Not involved in either competition carrying ranking points in Leeds, Vicky Shirley drops three places to 15th, but it was a strong week for Emma Bonney who has climbed 11 places to break into the top 20 at 19th.

Season changes

Comparing the rankings to the start of the season, the biggest winners are Laura Evans and Rebecca Kenna, who have climbed from 12th and 21st positions, to fourth and sixth respectively.

Junior players Shannon Metcalf (13th), Jeong Min Park (18th) and Aimee Benn (20th) have also seen significant rises to climb into the top 20, while Claire Edginton is close behind in 22nd.

Paula Judge, Heidi de Gruchy and World Championship runner-up Vidya Pillai have all finished the campaign inside of the top 30, despite having not competed during the previous season.

Among those to have dropped places, Jaique Ip Wan In has fallen six places from third to ninth, while Jenny Poulter and Vicky Shirley have both dropped out of the top 10 since the start of the campaign.

The updated ranking list will be used to determine the seedings for the opening event of the 2017/18 season.

Draw Available: Eden World Women’s Snooker Championship 2017

The draw for the group stage of the 2017 Eden Women’s World Championship to be held at the Lagoon Billiard Room in Toa Payoh, Singapore on 13-19 March 2017 has now been made.

Of the 32 entrants, the top eight players in accordance with the updated ranking list following February’s Connie Gough Trophy have been seeded and kept apart during the group stage. In a draw carried out by tournament hosts Cuesports Singapore, the remaining players have been drawn into the eight groups, with players of the same nationality drawn apart.

Two players will progress from each of the groups and will be seeded into the knock-out draw in accordance with their results during the group stages.

Eleven-time world women’s champion Reanne Evans has been drawn in Group C and will open her latest title defence against international opposition in the form of Suniti Damani (India), Hoe Shu Wah (Singapore) and Nutcharut Wongharuthai (Thailand).

Asian number one and 2015 world champion Ng On Yee will face India’s Chitra Magimairaj, winner of the seniors competition at the 2016 World Women’s Championship, as well as Singaporean number one Charlene Chai and Ireland’s Ronda Sheldreck.

In total players from 10 different countries, including a mix of WLBS newcomers and some more familiar faces, will compete to claim the most prestigious prize in world women’s snooker this year.

The event will be formally launched on Sunday 12 March 2017 with a pre-tournament reception at the iconic Marina Bay Sands building, ahead of the start of play the following day.

You will be able to follow the latest results and group standings via MySnookerStats