Category: WPBSA

Women’s Snooker: A Year of Opportunity

The appearance of Reanne Evans at the prestigious Champion of Champions tournament last month was the latest significant moment for women’s snooker during a year which has seen several new opportunities created for female players in our sport at all levels.

Sport for All

In recent years the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA), through its subsidiary body World Women’s Snooker (WWS) has helped to create new opportunities for women and girls across the globe to engage with snooker and ultimately compete at the very top of the game.

With 145 players representing 28 different nationalities aged between 11 and 71 currently ranked on the World Women’s Snooker Tour, the circuit has grown significantly over the past 12 months and is now as diverse as it has ever been.

But as well as the women’s circuit, which primarily exists as a participation body with the goal of helping to encourage women and girls to pick up a cue and play, snooker is a rare example of an inclusive sport that can place both men and women on the same field of play on an equal basis. The World Snooker Tour is often erroneously referred to as the ‘men’s tour’ but in fact the professional circuit is mixed gender and as it has always been, open to any player who is able to qualify regardless of gender.

And this season we have seen just that, with women competing at the professional World Championship and 6-Red World Championship, in addition to the highlights detailed below.

Shoot Out Stars

History was made at the Snooker Shoot Out back in February where the record-breaking Reanne Evans and top ranked junior Emma Parker became the first women to compete at the televised stages of a ranking event in England live on Eurosport.

For both the experience was a new one, the quickfire contest having a significantly different feel to it with a shot clock, timed matches, a different dress code and boisterous crowd encouraged to get involved during the frames. Although neither player was able to win their matches, both performed well and took a lot from the experience.

“I felt really proud and honoured to represent women snooker players.”, said Parker. “It gave me the chance to show that women can play snooker and it was fantastic that both Reanne and my matches were televised which is great promotion for the game. I hope that in the future more women s tournaments will be televised and hopefully it will become as big as other women’s sports like athletics, tennis and football.

“I would love to do it again if I was given the opportunity. It would help me with my career in snooker giving me the confidence I need to carry on in the game I love playing.”

Maximum Mink

It would be just weeks later when women’s snooker witnessed another first as Thailand’s Nutcharut Wongharuthai became the first female player to compile a verified perfect 147 break during a practice match at the Hi-End Snooker Club in Bangkok.

The feat followed an already successful start to the season for the then 19-year-old, who has since gone on to establish herself as one of the world’s leading female players, recently claiming her first ranking event victory at the Australian Women’s Open and climbing to a career-high third in the official world rankings.

Record World Championship

It was at the Hi-End Snooker Club where the World Women’s Snooker Tour would go on to stage its biggest World Women’s Championship for a generation in June as 53 players from 13 countries descended upon the world class venue for a fantastic week of snooker.

While several faces both familiar and new were able to make their mark, including 11-year-old Ksenia Zhukova of Russia who won two matches and Nutcharut Wongharuthai who was able to reach her first world final, it would be England’s Reanne Evans who would go on to win her record-extending 12th world crown and first since 2016.

Crucible Chance

There would be further success for Evans at the inaugural Women’s Tour Championship as women’s snooker returned to the home of snooker – Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre – for the first time in over 16 years this August.

The new event, held as part of this year’s World Seniors Championship, saw the top four ranked women players compete live on television at the most iconic venue in our sport. Ultimately it would be Evans and Ng On Yee who would contest the final, with Evans taking home the trophy and helping to further raise awareness of women’s snooker at the same time.

Champion of Champions

Most recently it was Reanne who would again fly the flag for women’s snooker as she qualified to play at the invitational Champion of Champions tournament following her victory at the World Women’s Championship in Thailand.

There she would face former triple-crown winner Shaun Murphy live on ITV4, recovering from 3-0 down to force a deciding-frame, before Murphy dug deep with a break of 130 to progress. Nevertheless, her appearance once again attracted significant media exposure and demonstrated that women can compete with men in our sport.

2020 Vision

Of course, while women’s snooker is currently enjoying an upward trajectory, both the WPBSA and WWS remain committed to increasing participation among women players by providing more opportunities at grassroots and professional level for females to compete.

The continued growth of the World Women’s Snooker Tour, which this year has welcomed players from countries including Morocco (who also competed at the African Games in August), Iran and Japan for the first time, demonstrates that women can play our sport to a high standard and that there is no reason why we cannot one day see women competing regularly with the world’s best.

World Women’s Snooker Championship Added to ManBetX Champion of Champions Qualifying List

The World Women’s Snooker Championship has been added to the qualification list for the 2019 ManBetX Champion of Champions Snooker, which will take place at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry from November 4-10.

The 2019 Qualifying List comprises 27 spots, which are split into seven sections. Tournaments within each of the seven sections are listed chronologically. The first 16 different players on the list will form the line-up for the 2019 ManBetX Champion of Champions. The World Women’s Snooker Championship is listed 27th on the list.

With ten players having already been assured of their place at the ManBetX Champion of Champions, if the seven remaining events yield three repeat winners then reigning World Women’s Snooker Championship winner Reanne Evans will receive her invite.

Matchroom Sport Chairman Barry Hearn said: “Given the continued development of women’s snooker it is only right that we recognise the achievement of being the World Women’s Snooker Champion by including it on the Qualifying List for the ManBetX Champion of Champions, not just for 2019 but as a permanent addition to the events which form the qualifying criteria for the ManBetX Champion of Champions.”

Tickets for the 2019 ManBetX Champion of Champions are on sale now. Prices start from just £11 per session with Premium and VIP packages also available.

Featuring tournament winners from the previous 12 months, the ManBetX Champion of Champions is broadcast live on ITV4 and has become one of snooker’s biggest tournaments since launching at Ricoh Arena in 2013. The likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and Shaun Murphy have all lifted the trophy.

The tournament starts with a quartet of four-man groups played over four days from Monday, November 4 until Thursday, November 7. The winner of each group progresses to the semi-finals, with one played on Friday, November 8 and the other on Saturday, November 9. The final on Sunday, November 10 will be over 19 frames.

Text taken from: www.championofchampionssnooker.co.uk

Last 16 Set in Thailand

Just 16 players remain in contention to capture the 2019 World Women’s Snooker Championship following two days of play at the Hi-End Snooker Club in Thailand.

From the original 53 players, 24 advanced to the final rounds with two progressing from each of the 12 round-robin groups and eight straight into Saturday’s last 16.

There were no significant upsets in the groups as each of the original 12 seeded players made it through including defending champion Ng On Yee of Hong Kong and 11-time queen Reanne Evans.

Not all of the players had such a straightforward progression with top four stars Rebecca Kenna and Nutcharut Wongharuthai among those to suffer group match defeats meaning that they would qualify in second position, potentially giving them a tougher path to the final.

Both however were able to record comfortable victories in their last 24 contests this evening to keep their hopes alive and join a stellar line-up for the final weekend which includes players from an impressive eight nationalities.

The action continues from 11:00am local time with the last 16, ahead of the quarter-finals at approximately 5:00pm on Saturday.

Women’s Snooker Stars Set to Compete at Crucible Theatre

World Women’s Snooker (WWS) will return to Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre this August for the all-new Women’s Tour Championship event.

To be staged as part of this year’s ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship, the invitational tournament will take place across one session from 10:00am on Saturday 17th August.

The event will feature the world’s top four ranked women’s players following this season’s Festival of Women’s Snooker event, including world number one Reanne Evans and reigning world women’s champion Ng On Yee of Hong Kong.

The pair will be joined by third ranked Rebecca Kenna who has reached two ranking finals so far this season, as well as Thailand’s Nutcharut Wongharuthai, who earlier this year became the first woman to compile a verified 147 break.

The Crucible Theatre has been the home of the professional World Snooker Championship since 1977 and the Women’s Tour Championship will represent the first time that women’s snooker will be played at the iconic venue since 2003 when Kelly Fisher lifted the last of her five world titles under the famous ‘twinkle’ lights.

The staging of the event will be the first of a three-year agreement which will see women’s snooker held at the Crucible until at least 2021.

Mandy Fisher, WWS President said: “All of us at WWS are hugely excited to be able to take women’s snooker back to the Crucible Theatre where so many unforgettable memories have been created and it will be fantastic to see the talented players that we have competing on the same stage.

“I would like to thank both Jason Ferguson of the World Professional Billards and Snooker Association and Jason Francis of World Seniors Snooker for helping to make this possible and I would encourage people to come along and see just what our players can do.”

Tickets are already on sale at the price of just £1.47 when purchased with a full-price ticket to any other session at the ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship, so book now to avoid disappointment, by phone 0114 249 600 or online HERE.

The ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship will run across four days from 15-18 August 2019 and feature several all-time greats of the game including ‘King of the Crucible’ Stephen Hendry and 10-time ranking event winner Jimmy White.

There will also be a session on the morning of Sunday 18th August held to showcase the talent on the World Disability Billiards and Snooker Tour.

Sheffield to Stage Women’s Snooker Day

Women’s snooker will be showcased during the upcoming Betfred World Snooker Championship on Wednesday 1st May 2019 with activities taking place at the Sheffield Winter Garden across from the iconic Crucible Theatre.

Previously held as Ladies Day, the newly rebranded Women’s Snooker Day aims to encourage women to participate in snooker at all levels, including the World Women’s Snooker Tour which welcomes players of all ages and abilities to compete at its events.

Organised by World Snooker, in partnership with the WPBSA and World Women’s Snooker, the day will see activities staged throughout at the ‘Cue Zone’ with world women’s number 3 and 1st4sport WPBSA Level 2 coach Rebecca Kenna supported by Sarah McManus and Annette Lord. They will be joined by players from the World Women’s Snooker Tour and students from Spire Junior School, encouraging members of the public to pick up a cue and try snooker.

#Cue4All

Once again Women’s Snooker Day will form part of the #Cue4All initiative organised by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, which aims to promote the inclusive nature of snooker and billiards.

Even if you cannot make it to the Crucible on the day, be part of the celebrations by hosting open days at your club, offering free taster sessions, running snooker challenges, promoting your community snooker sessions and sharing stories on social media about the groups or individuals who access your snooker facilities.

Remember to tag in the hashtag #Cue4All across social media so that we can share your inclusive activities during this year’s Betfred World Championship!