Category: WWS

Reanne Evans and So Man Yan with trophies

Evans Claims Fourth Masters Crown

World women’s number one Reanne Evans captured her fourth Eden Masters title yesterday with a dominant 4-0 victory against So Man Yan in the final.

The 11-time world women’s champion made smooth progress through the draw with victories against Aimee Benn, Vicky Shirley and Laura Evans in the knockout stages without the loss of a frame.

Her opponent, Hong Kong’s So, defeated Rebecca Granger, Suzie Opacic and in the semi-finals compatriot Jaique Ip Wan In (who had earlier defeated second seeded Ng On Yee in the last eight), to reach her second WLBS ranking final following the 2012 Agnes Davies Memorial.

Evans, who earlier in the day had made an event high break of 107 during the quarter-finals, would prove too strong for So in the final however, completing the tournament with an unblemished record of 20 frames won from 20 played.

The title represents her second ranking event success during the 2016/17 season, following victory at the UK Ladies Championship last October and is her fourth Eden Masters crown (2013, 2015×2) since the event was first staged four years ago.

“It always feels great to win a title,” said Evans, who with her first title of 2017 has now won at least one WLBS title during each of the last 14 years. “It was a long day but my game was solid all tournament and I was happy with my concentration throughout the day.

Evans also dedicated the victory to long time WLBS player Michelle Brown, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and is currently undergoing treatment.

“This one is for Brownie, we are all thinking about her and can’t wait to see her back fit and playing again soon. It is another big reminder that all women need to remember to check their breasts regularly because it really could save your life.

“Thank you also to our sponsors Eden Resources who continue to play a big part in support women’s snooker with their backing of this event and the upcoming World Championship in Singapore.”

For So Man Yan despite defeat to Evans, her final run represents another strong event following her return to the circuit at the previous event in Leeds, where she claimed the Challenge Cup title. She is now set to climb further up the rankings from her current position of 16th when the list is revised following the tournament.

Side events

The Challenge Cup tournament in Derby saw an all-Singaporean final as former Eden Classic semi-finalist Charlene Chai defeated Regina Toh 3-0 to claim her first WLBS title. She had previously beaten Chrissy Allwood, Sharon Lewis and Diana Schuler to reach the final, before taking victory in the decisive match.

Both Chai and Toh will next be in action at the Eden World Women’s Snooker Championship, which will be held in their home country from 13-19 March 2017.

Portsmouth’s Chloe White claimed her first under-21 title with a 3-2 victory against Shannon Metcalf. White, who competed in her first WLBS tournament at the UK Ladies Championship earlier this season, won a tense deciding frame on the final pink for victory and was presented with her trophy by WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson.

The Seniors competition was won by Jenny Poulter, who won her repeat final with Sharon Kaur following their meeting at the UK Ladies Championship.

The next tournament of the 2016/17 WLBS Women’s World Ranking Series will be the Connie Gough Trophy, which will on 18 February 2017 at the Dunstable Snooker Club.

Increased Prize Fund for Eden World Women’s Snooker Championship

World Ladies Billiards and Snooker (WLBS) has today announced that the 2017 Eden World Women’s Snooker Championship will carry a total prize fund of £15,000.

The event will be staged at the Billiard Lagoon in Toa Payoh, Singapore, where the champion will take home a top prize of £5,000, more than four times the sum won by Reanne Evans in 2016 as she claimed an unprecedented 11th World Crown.

Following a recent restructure, which saw WLBS come under the governance of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA), it is the first time in over 20 years that the most prestigious ranking event in women’s snooker will be held outside of the UK.

WLBS President Mandy Fisher said: “We must thank our title sponsor Eden Resources and the fantastic support we have received from Cuesports Singapore. These are exciting times for us as we see continue to see our events grow.“

WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson added: “Assisting WLBS in its growth is a vital part of our sports global development. The talent is there in the women’s game and I am sure that with more events and with increased prize money to play for, more women and girls will fight their way through to compete on the World Snooker Tour.”

The updated entry pack for the event can be found at www.wlbsl.com

Photo of Reanne Evans with UK Trophy

Evans Above

It has been another record-breaking year on the World Ladies Billiards and Snooker (WLBS) circuit for Dudley’s Reanne Evans, who claimed four of the five ranking events held in 2016 to remain the undisputed world number one in women’s snooker.

The highlight came at the Eden Resources World Championship in April, where she won a landmark 11th world title with a 6-4 success against Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee, winner of the event in 2015.

Further victories came against her closest rival came in the final of the Eden Classic in March and most recently at the semi-final stages of the LITEtask UK Championship in October on her way to a record eighth title, while she also successfully defended the Connie Gough Memorial Trophy in February.

Evans would not enjoy a clean sweep in 2016 however, as world number two On Yee defeated her 4-1 in the final of the inaugural Paul Hunter Ladies Classic in Fuerth, Germany.

On the rise

Few would dispute the status of Evans and On Yee as the leading players on the WLBS tour, but which players have impressed behind them in 2016?

Ending the year third in the rankings is Latvia’s Tatjana Vasiljeva, whose highlights this year included a first WLBS ranking event final at the UK Ladies Championship, as well as a run to the semi-finals of April’s Eden World Championship. The 33-year-old also came to the attention of the wider snooker world at the professional Riga Masters in June, where she lost out to Marco Fu 4-1 in a deceptively tight encounter, two of the frames decided on the final black.

Fourth placed Maria Catalano has enjoyed another solid year, reaching the final of the Connie Gough Memorial Trophy and the last four of the Paul Hunter Classic to stand behind only Evans and On Yee in terms of points earned during 2016.

Next up on that criteria are Laura Evans and Rebecca Granger, who have both made significant moves up the ranking list during the year. Welsh number one Evans returned to the tour with a bang at the final event of 2015, reaching the final of the Eden Masters and has taken that form into this year, consistently reaching the latter stages of events. She ends the year ranked up inside the top 10, with the scope to climb higher if she can maintain that level of performance.

Close behind her is Keighley’s Granger, who having reached the semi-finals of the Eden World Ladies Championship at her first attempt, is already up to 14th in the list and eyeing a place inside of the top ten.

Finally, German national champion Diana Stateczny has also impressed in 2016, reaching the quarter-final stages of each of the two events that she has entered, enough to see her climb to 23rd in the list.

Young Talent

The calendar year has also seen three under-21 events staged in support of the main Women’s World Ranking Series competitions.

The first was held at Derby in support of the Eden Classic, with 19-year-old Yana Shut defeating Claire Edginton to take the title to Belarus.

There was also an overseas winner at the Eden World Ladies Championship as India’s Varshaa Sanjeev defeated South Korea’s Jeong Min Park 3-0 in the final. It was a particularly memorable event for the 19-year-old, as she completed a title double having already won the Plate competition with victory against Suzie Opacic the previous evening.

Most recently, Wakefield’s Stephanie Daughtery claimed the U-21 competition at the LITEtask UK Ladies Championship in Leeds, completing a successful defence of the title that she first won 12 months earlier.

To Singapore

The action continues in 2017 with the Eden Women’s Masters at the Cueball, Derby in January, before the players will fight to win the Connie Gough Trophy in Dunstable a month later.

From there, the tour will head east for the 2017 Eden World Women’s Championship, which for the first time will be held in Singapore at the Lagoon Billiard Room on 13-19 March 2017 with the support of Cuesports Singapore and their chairman Christopher Chuah.

“Earlier this year I was contacted by Mandy, who asked whether Singapore would be keen to host next year’s WLBS World Championship,” said Chuah. “We were only too happy to do so and are now extremely excited by the prospect of hosting the WLBS Eden World Championship next year here in Singapore.”

The event will mark the first time since 1995 that the biggest WLBS tournament will be staged outside of the UK, as the circuit continues to expand globally.

WPBSA supports WLBS

It has been also been a significant year in the development of the WLBS off the baize, as it became a subsidiary body of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA), in December 2015.

The following year has seen new events staged with the support of the WPBSA, including the Paul Hunter Ladies Classic, which saw the WLBS hold an event outside of the UK for the first time this decade.

WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson said: “As world governing body, the WPBSA must demonstrate equality and diversity in our development plans. The World Professional Snooker Tour is open to anyone who is good enough, however we are now making a conscious effort to encourage more women to take up our sport through their own organisation. We are delighted with the progress made by the WLBS and there is no doubt that in the future we will see more women competing at the top level.”

Updated WLBS Rankings: October 2016

The updated WLBS world rankings have now been published following victory for Reanne Evans at the recent LITEtask UK Ladies Championship at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds.

The WLBS world rankings operate on a rolling two-year basis, with points earned during the 2014/15 season to be removed as this season progresses. Following the LITEtask UK Ladies Championship, the points from the 2014 Eden Classic have been removed in accordance with the already published points drop-off dates.

This means that although world number one Evans retains a comfortable lead at the top of the rankings following her eighth LITEtask UK Ladies Championship victory, her points total remains at 68,400 as she has effectively defended the points that she won at the Classic two years ago. In fact, second placed Ng On Yee actually closes the gap slightly to 14,850 points, as her semi-final run in Leeds was an improvement upon her quarter-final exit in 2014.

One of the big movers unsurprisingly is Latvia’s Tatjana Vasiljeva, who reached her first WLBS final before losing out 5-1 to Evans. Her run, combined with the fact that she had no points to be removed from her ranking means that she climbs from sixth to third in the list ahead of Maria Catalano and Hong Kong duo Jaique Ip Wan In and Wan Ka Kai.

Another player making progress up the ranking list is Laura Evans, who climbs into the top ten for the first time since her tour return at number nine following her run to the semi-finals at the Northern Snooker Centre. With no points to defend during the next 12 months following her return to the circuit at the 2015 Masters, the Welsh number one is on course to rise further still.

Hot on her heels is Keighley’s Rebecca Granger, who is up seven places to 14th after narrowly losing out to world number two Ng On Yee at the quarter-final stages in Leeds. Like Evans, the tour newcomer has no points to defend for the foreseeable future and will be eyeing a place in the world’s top ten, while Challenge Cup winner So Man Yan is also up a place to 16th.

Finally, it was also a successful weekend for Ireland’s Paula Judge, who comes straight into the list at number 46 by making it through to the quarter-finals at her début WLBS event. With plans to continue playing for the remainder of the season, she could be another one to watch over the coming months.

The updated ranking list will be used to determine the seedings for the Eden Ladies Open Championship which will take place on 14-15 January 2017 at the Cueball, Derby.

Photo of Reanne Evans with UK Trophy

Evans Wins Eighth UK Crown

World number one Reanne Evans claimed the LITEtask UK Ladies Championship for a record eighth time yesterday, defeating Latvia’s Tatjana Vasiljeva 5-1 in the final.

The pair met for the second time in 2016 at the Northern Snooker Centre, following their World Championship semi-final at the venue back in April. Evans had already had to come through against Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee 4-3 in a hard-fought semi-final, while Vasiljeva was appearing in the final of a singles competition for the first time at a World Ladies Billiards and Snooker (WLBS) event.

It was Evans though who made the faster start, winning the opening three frames with a high break of 56 to take control of the match from an early stage. Vasiljeva won the last prior to the mid-session interval with a clearance from brown to black, but on their resumption it was Evans who swiftly won the next two to close out the match and clinch her first UK title since 2011.

“I’m happy to win the tournament for an eighth time,” said Evans. “It has been a long day with some hard matches and I am happy that I was able to come through. It’s a great to have won my first competition of the season.

“I’m lacking a little bit of match practice at the minute, but I’m going to try and enter a few EASB events which will hopefully sharpen me up a bit ahead of the upcoming tournaments.”

The 30-year-old was also keen to acknowledge the support of tournament sponsors LITEtask for their continued support of the ladies game, as well as the Paul Hunter Foundation for their contribution to this event.

For beaten finalist Vasiljeva it was nevertheless a strong tournament overall and she was pleased to have come through a strong field to reach her first WLBS final .

“I enjoyed the weekend a lot,” said Vasiljeva, who earlier this season competed in the Riga Masters against Marco Fu as a wildcard. “In the final I felt a bit tired because it has been a long day, but I am happy to have reached the final of this event for the first time. Hopefully next time will be even better!

“I started to play a bit better at the end of the match than at the beginning. It was not a case of pressure but I felt tired and also of course Reanne is a good player and it is difficult to come back after the start.”

Alongside the main competition, there was success in the Challenge Cup event for Hong Kong’s So Man Yan, who defeated Sharon Kaur 3-0 to claim the title. Kaur also reached the final of the seniors’ competition, but again came up short against the experienced Jenny Poulter.

The under-21s final was won by 15-year-old Stephanie Daughtery, the Wakefield youngster running out a 3-0 winner against local prospect Shannon Metcalf.

Mark Pears, of tournament sponsor LITEtask said: “It’s great to be involved with the ladies game because it is improving all of the time. Tatjana has made her first final here and there are some young players who every time you watch them, they are improving year by year.

“Snooker is a great game. I love all cue sports and to be involved is good for LITEtask and it’s good for the game.”

The next tournament of the 2016/17 WLBS Women’s World Ranking Series will be the Eden Ladies Open Championship, which takes place on 14-15 January 2017 at the Cueball, Derby.

Paula Judge Q&A

Ireland’s Paula Judge, sister of former top 32 professional Michael Judge is preparing to make her WLBS debut at this weekend’s LITEtask UK Ladies Championship at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds.

We caught up with the 32-year-old earlier this week to discuss her preparation for the event and her family background in cue sports.

Your brother Michael Judge was a well known face on the World Snooker tour for 19 years. Did he inspire you to take up the sport?

“Our uncle Fran had a snooker table in his house so as kids we learned the game. I first held a cue when I was eight or nine and he taught me all of the techniques as he did for Michael. I went through stages of playing a little and then giving up as you do as you get older. Watching Michael was always an inspiration and as a whole family we all had a bit of talent; even my two other brothers Eugene and David could hold a cue and I always played with my cousin Peter who was my age.”

Why did you stop playing and what made you decide to come back?

“I gave up playing seven years ago as life just got in the way and I never really gave myself a proper chance to reach my full potential. During the last couple of years I saw Michael back playing on the Irish amateur scene. Last season I went to Carlow to watch his match and I got the itch back to take my cue out. I asked Michael for a game in April this year and when he saw me cue he said he could see a lot of talent in me and advised me to stick it out for a couple of seasons and try and reach my full potential.

“Hearing that from him really inspired me and also being able to play alongside him so to speak is great. So we decided to get two new cues as his one he had for years and needed a fresh bit of wood. I then started practicing hard and entering as many competitions as I could.

“I also play in weekly flyers in Celbridge and Spawell with Cathy Dunne, another talented Irish player. It’s great to have a few women giving the lads a run for their money.”

Last weekend you won the first Irish Senior ladies ranking event, also making a 71 break during the tournament.

“Yeah I played in first ladies Irish competition and I’ve never gotten the better of Michelle Sherwin before as she’s been unbeaten in over 10 years. We’ve always had close matches but she has always had the upper hand so it was nice to come out the winning side.

“The 71 break was my highest match break since I’ve been back playing this year. I’ve had 50s and a few 40s but was nice to have a frame-winning break and hopefully it’s the start as I’m still looking to get my first century match break.”

You will make your debut on the WLBS tour this weekend as you entered the LITEtask UK Ladies Championship at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds. What made you decide to enter and what are your expectations for the event?

“I decided to enter because I want to compete with the best women in the world and no better place to start than in Leeds. I’m going to go over and enjoy it and see what happens. I’m not going to have great expectations or going to be putting pressure on myself, I have only been back playing a few months so it will take time to improve, but I’ll give it a go and see how I fare.”

What would you say are your greatest achievements in snooker so far?

“I suppose reaching the last 16 of 2016 European Championships and the final of the 2016 Irish Ladies Championship. Also my victory in the first ladies ranking competition of the season in Ireland, starting the season as Irish ladies number one would make any girl smile!”

What tips would you give other girls that want to start with snooker?

“I would say to play with better players, male or female. I will be entering as many competitions as I can as even if I keep getting beaten, it won’t matter because you learn more from a defeat than a win. The only way to improve is to play against players of a high standard. I often practiced with my brother Michael and Philly Browne and that helped my game a lot.

“Also to find a good coach if possible and make sure you know all of the basic techniques (stance, bridge, back arm etc) and practice proper routines. If you have some natural talent then it will all come together.”

Do you play other sports besides snooker?

“Yes I’m a recently qualified fitness instructor. So along with snooker fitness is another passion. I specialise in weightlifting and follow a healthy diet daily. I think snooker is a physical as well as mental sport, so looking after yourself physically is very important. The combination of both go well together.”

Updated WLBS Rankings: August 2016

The WLBS world rankings have been updated for the first time during the 2016/17 season following Ng On Yee’s victory at the Paul Hunter Ladies Classic last weekend.

By securing her third career WLBS ranking title in Germany, the 25-year-old has closed the gap to beaten finalist Reanne Evans, although the world number one still retains a comfortable lead of 15,900 points.

The WLBS world rankings operate on a rolling two-year basis, with points earned during the 2014/15 season to be removed as this season progresses. With no points to be removed at this update however (see points drop-off dates), unsurprisingly there have been gains for many of the players who competed in Germany.

With their runs to the semi-finals, bronze medallists Maria Catalano and Tatjana Vasiljeva both climb one place to third and sixth respectively, while Vicky Shirley breaks into the top eight for the first time since April 2015.

Quarter-finalist So Man Yee, competing in her first WLBS event since the 2015 World Ladies Championship is up two places, as is Russia’s Irina Gorbataya, who came within a frame of shocking eventual champion On Yee at the last 16 stage in Germany.

Further down the list, one of the biggest movers is Ireland’s Ronda Sheldreck, up 14 places following her run to the knock-out stages. Germany’s Diana Stateczny also continues her rapid rise up the rankings, another quarter-final following her run at the World Ladies Championship earlier this year enough to see her climb 10 places to 23rd.

Finally, Belgium’s Wendy Jans is a notable new entry at 46th, having reached the quarter-finals at what was her first WLBS event during the counting period.

The updated ranking list will be used to determine the seedings for the LITEtask UK Ladies Championship which will take place on 8-9 October 2016 at the Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds.

On Yee Claims Ladies Classic

Ng On Yee won the first ever Paul Hunter Ladies Classic last weekend with a 4-1 victory against world number one Reanne Evans at the Stadthalle, Germany.

The pair met in the final of a WLBS event for the third time in 2016, Evans having come out at the Classic and World Championship events at the end of last season.

It was On Yee however who made the stronger start on this occasion, claiming the opening two frames to take an early lead, before Evans closed the gap by taking the third. The next two frames both came down to the colours, but a double on the brown helped On Yee to go two clear again at 3-1, before she set up what would prove to be the match-winning clearance with a snooker on the brown in the fifth.

The success is On Yee’s third career WLBS title to date and her first since the 2015 UK Championship last September. Earlier in the tournament she had found herself 3-1 down to Irina Gorbataya before winning the last three frames to reach the quarter-finals. From there the former world champion never really looked back, dropping just one frame in defeating Wendy Jans, Maria Catalano and Evans to take the title.

The 25-year-old, who remains ranked second in the WLBS ranking list, also hit the tournament high break during the third frame of her quarter-final victory against Jans, a clearance of 104 to the pink enough to secure the prize sponsored by Fracht.com & KSS Events.

“I was struggling a bit from the beginning with my form and some of the shots yesterday,” said a delighted On Yee. “After winning my last 16 match however, I was able to take a short break and regroup. I wasn’t really focusing on the century, but rather trying to play each shot individually and making the best of it.”

The Hong Kong ace described herself as ‘over the moon’ to have won the title and was pleased by how the event had unfolded as a whole, in particular praising the quality of the field, which included the top seven players on the WLBS world ranking list:

“It feels great to be here in Germany for the first ever Paul Hunter Ladies Classic. This is my very first time here in Germany and I enjoyed the good food, very nice people and the weather.

“It was a great venue and it was good to see so many players competing in the event. It had also been a while since I had played together with both Reanne and Wendy in the same tournament so that was a nice experience too.

“I really enjoyed the opportunity to play with so many friends around and I hope to continue to see more doors opening up for ladies snooker in the future. I am really looking forward to this season’s Eden World Championship which will be held in Asia for the very first time. Hopefully this will attract new faces to the game and create more opportunities for ladies snooker.”

The Paul Hunter Ladies Classic was the first event to be held outside of the UK in over a decade and the first of a new co-operation between the WLBS and the WPBSA, the world governing body for snooker and billiards.

For the first time, the final of the event was played alongside the quarter-finals of the professional competition staged by World Snooker at the Stadthalle venue and was enjoyed by a large number of spectators in attendance.

Please click here for full results.

Home Hopes

With just two days to go before the start of the 2016 Paul Hunter Ladies Classic in Germany, today we profile some of the eight players who will be competing in a WLBS event on home soil for the first time in their careers…

Diana Stateczny

Bochum-based Diana Stateczny is perhaps the best known and certainly the most decorated German female snooker player, having won the German Championship on five occasions and made a tournament high break of 78.

Also a finalist at the European Championship in 2010, the 36-year-old enjoyed a strong performance at this year’s WLBS World Ladies Championship. Having progressed through her group with four wins from four, she then shocked fourth seed Maria Catalano with a 3-1 win to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.

Christina Schneider

A talented American pool player, Christina Schneider will be competing in her first snooker tournament in Furth as she looks to take herself out of her comfort zone.

On the pool circuit she notably reached the semi-finals of the 2014 9-ball German Championship and plays regularly for BC Ludwigsburg. This week however snooker will be the challenge and she has stated that she is looking forward to meeting her fellow players from across the globe and seeing how her game matches up against them.

Ramona Kirchner

Something of a local hero at the Paul Hunter Ladies Classic, Ramona Kirchner plays for 1.BC Lechbruck and has a competition high break of 50.

Winner of the German Championship back in 2005, like Schneider she is looking forward to mixing with international players and to seeing how her standard compares to the other players in action in Fuerth.

Diana Schuler

Following a two-year stint based in England, Diana Schuler has recently moved back to Germany and perhaps has reason to look forward to the Paul Hunter Ladies Classic more than most.

Alongside her playing career, which has seen her compile a competition high break of 53 and reach the semi final of the European Team Championship 2013, the 35-year-old also acts as Marketing Director for the WLBS and has been instrumental in the organisation of the event.

At local level she plays for 1.SC Schwalbach and has the distinction of being included on the professional game’s 147 list, as she was the opponent when two-time world champion Mark Williams made his second career maximum in Rüsselsheim six years ago.

Completing the field

Completing the German contingent in Fuerth will be four relative newcomers to the scene:

Dorothee Rapp (Bielefeld)

Ingird Kuna (Berlin)
Tanja Ender (Fürth)
Steffi Henze (Stuttgart)

New Ranking System for WLBS

A new world ranking system has today been announced for the WLBS Women’s World Ranking Series. The new list will take immediate effect from the start of the 2016/17 season.

Click here to view the revised WLBS rankings at the start of the 2016/17 season

As under the previous system, theWLBS ranking list will continue to operate on a two-year rolling basis. Players will be awarded ranking points in accordance with their results at ranking events. Tournaments have effectively been designated into three categories (World Championship, multi-day and single day events), as set out within the new provisional points schedule.

In addition to the main events, points will also be awarded to players who either win or reach the final of the new Challenge Cup events, which replace previous Plate competitions.

Only players who have earned ranking points during the current two-year cycle will be included on the WLBS world ranking list.

All points earned during both the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons have been converted to the new system, with the updated ranking list to be used to determine the seedings for the 2016 WLBS Paul Hunter Ladies Classic later this month.

The updated rankings following this event will subsequently be used to determine seedings for the UK Ladies Championship in October. Provisional details of all of the re-ranking points during the 2016/17 season are also now available.