Tag: Chloe White

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.

Eden Women’s Masters 2018: Enter Now

Entries are now being accepted for the Eden Women’s Masters organised by World Ladies Billiards and Snooker (WLBS).

The event will be played on the weekend of 24-25 November 2018 at Gloucester’s South West Snooker Academy.

Last year’s tournament was won by world number one Ng On Yee following a dramatic final against Reanne Evans, while Chloe White (Under-21), Jenny Poulter (Seniors) and Pui Ying Mini Chu (Challenge Cup) claimed victories in the side-events.

This year’s event will be the fourth event of the 2018/19 World Women’s Snooker Tour and the second in England following the UK Women’s Championship in Leeds back in September. Once again there will also be side-events staged for under-21 and senior players, subject to enough entries being received.

Enter online

To enter the event please complete the online entry form HERE.

The full tournament entry pack is also now available to download HERE.

The closing date for entries and payment of entry fees is 4:30pm GMT on Friday 16 November 2018.

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.

Chloe White plays snooker shot

Chloe White Q&A

In our latest Q&A today we catch up with Havant teenager Chloe White, following a successful first full season on the World Women’s Snooker Tour which saw her complete the successful defence of her Eden Masters Under-21 title in Gloucester and rise to a career-high ranking of no.26.

Hi Chloe, you have just completed your first full season on the World Women’s Snooker Tour, how do reflect on the year?

I’m pleased to have broken in to the top 30 this season. I went into the WLBS events with no expectations and just wanted to see how far I could get in the tournaments, so I feel as though I have settled in well by managing to win two Eden Masters under-21 tournaments. Hopefully I can progress further next season in the main competitions, as well as in the under-21s.

Are you happy with the improvement in your game over the past 12 months?

Yes, I feel as though my game has become more consistent over the last season due to playing the various players throughout the WLBS tour. Through watching and competing against the better players, such as Reanne Evans and Ng On Yee, it allows me to witness areas in my game that I need to improve on so that I am able to compete with them in the future.

You have also had success in other regional events recently, including the West of England Billiards and Snooker Foundation (WEBSF) Ladies Open and mixed gender Cuestars events. How important is it as a young player to continue gaining experience like this?

Through playing in various regional events such as Cuestars and WEBSF it has allowed me to gain additional experience which I can take into my matches in the WLBS. I feel as if it is important for young players like me to carry on gaining experience from competing in these events as it allows us to potentially compete at a higher level in the future.

You are also playing and beating men in these competitions. What can you learn from playing against men and do you think it is possible for a woman to be as good as the male players?

Through playing men in competition or even during practice, it allows for different competition alongside the women’s game. Through playing a variety of players, it allows my game to improve due to playing many different styles of both men and women.

It is an advantage to have my boyfriend (Mark Lloyd) who plays; practising with him allows me to prepare myself for upcoming tournaments. Women can be as good as men, so hopefully there will be more women who take up snooker in the future.

How did you become interested in snooker and what made you start to play the game seriously?

I became interested in snooker initially through my dad, who took my brother to the local snooker club where they played. I then found out that there was a snooker section where I then began to play in competition against other players. Through my game progressing, I then discovered further events, such as Cuestars and WLBS, and now I’m looking to build on that to see how far I’m able to get within the game.

What is the best thing about being a women’s snooker player?

The best thing about being a women’s player are the different opportunities within the game. As the women’s game is developing, it is good to be part of this progression; competing on the tour with the other players.

What snooker ambitions do you have, both for the next 12 months and also longer term?

I have never set myself targets but I’m just hoping to achieve the best I can within the game. It would be nice to progress further in the tournaments in the main competitions as well as possibly achieving a few more under-21s titles while I’m still within this age bracket.

I’m just hoping to progress to the best I can be.

With more and more tournaments taking place outside of the UK, are you excited by the opportunity to travel alongside your snooker career?

I believe it is a great opportunity for us to have the chance to be able to compete outside of the UK. I’m hoping to travel to these tournaments within the future and am seeking sponsorship to allow me the chance to be able to compete in these tournaments.

Current world number 7 Suzie Opacic is another player from your region, how much support has she provided to you?

Suzie welcomed me into the WLBS after telling me about the organisation. Suzie made me feel a lot more welcome to the tour as it’s always nice to know somebody when competing first time. Suzie is lovely and I am glad to know her off of the tour as well. From that, it has allowed me to meet the other competitors as well as to compete with them.

You are also one of our most stylish players, with your unmistakeable pink waistcoat – do you have any other fashion surprises for us next season?

Well I needed something to make me stand out 😉 The fashion should stay the same but I’m sure there will be some slight changes for you to keep an eye out for!

What you would say to any women players thinking about playing a WLBS event?

There are great opportunities for women to enjoy playing the sport in which they love against other women from across the world. The tour is very welcoming with many great characters that you have the opportunity to compete against.

With the game progressing, it would be great to see more women players coming through to promote the sport further; showing its popularity within the UK as well as abroad. It would be great to see the women’s game become more popular (alongside the increase within the professional game) and hopefully more women will be interested in joining this welcoming organisation.

 

Chloe will be among the players returning to the World Women’s Snooker Tour for the start of the 2018/19 season. Three events have already been announced beginning with the UK Women’s Championship in September, with the details of up to five further events to be confirmed.

If you would be interested in sponsoring Chloe please contact us for more information.

Photo of Chloe and Billy Castle from Cuestars.

On Yee poses next to balls shaped as 1

WLBS Rankings Review 2018

The 2017/18 season was another to remember for Ng On Yee as the Hong Kong player rose to the summit of the WLBS world ranking list for the first time, but who were the other movers and shakers during the season-long campaign?

Like the professional World Snooker Tour, the WLBS world rankings operate on a rolling two-year basis, with points earned during 2015/16 replaced by those from this season over the past 12 months.

Number one

As mentioned above, this year has seen a change at the top of the rankings for the first time in nearly four years as Ng On Yee claimed top spot from Reanne Evans following the British Open back in February, maintaining the position through to the end of the season.

With victories at the UK Women’s Championship, Women’s Masters and of course the World Women’s Championship in Malta, it was another strong season for the 27-year-old, although after Evans won three of the campaign’s final four events no doubt the pair will enjoy another season-long battle for top spot next season.

The top eight

Away from the top two it was another successful season for Rebecca Kenna who broke into the world’s top three for the first time earlier this year, eventually finishing in fourth behind Malta finalist Maria Catalano.

The Keighley player enjoyed her most consistent run on the World Women’s Snooker Tour to date, reaching four semi-finals including her third successive World Women’s Championship last four appearance to improve upon her starting position of number six.

The top eight as a whole remained relatively stable with seven of the players who began the season inside the elite bracket remaining there at the end of the campaign. The exception to the rule was Germany’s Diana Schuler, who following a consistent season which saw her regularly qualify for the knockout rounds of competitions, was able to break into the world’s top eight for the first time to become the current highest ranked player from mainland Europe.

Junior progress

It was another strong season for the tour’s junior players who continue to gain valuable experience, including West Yorkshire’s Aimee Benn who also achieved a top ten position for the first time by virtue of reaching the last 16 of each of the six events that she competed in.

As well as Benn, there were new highs for British juniors Stephanie Daughtery (12), Shannon Metcalf (13), Emma Parker (15), Claire Edginton (18) and Chloe White (26) during the course of the season, Parker also climbing to second position in the WLBS Under-21 rankings behind Metcalf following her two victories during the season.

Asian talent

The World Women’s Snooker Tour continued to see an influx of new talent from Asia during last season with no fewer than 10 players from Hong Kong, Thailand and South Korea finishing inside of the top 30.

Without doubt the most successful newcomers were Thai duo Nutcharut Wongharuthai and Waratthanun Sukritthanes, who both earned top 20 places despite not playing a full calendar of events. Both made their debuts at the 2017 World Women’s Championship in Singapore, but it was during 2018/19 that the pair really rose to prominence.

Wongharuthai was first to announce herself as the 18-year-old stunned newly-crowned world number one Ng On Yee in the semi-finals of the British Open to contest her maiden final, before she proceeded to capture the 2018 World Women’s Under-21 Championship in Leeds last month. Sukritthanes meanwhile reached the last eight of the World Women’s Championship in Malta for a second successive year, subsequently going one better at both the World Women’s 6-Red and 10-Red World Championship competitions by reaching the semi-finals.

From Hong Kong we saw three victories at Challenge Cup events as newcomers Ho Yee Ki, Pui Ying Mini Chu and Yee Ting Cheung all claimed silverware, while we also were treated to a memorable semi-final encounter between Ng On Yee and So Man Yan at the Paul Hunter Classic at the start of the season, eventually won by On Yee following a deciding frame.

The future

While the future of course is still to be written, by looking at which players had a strong start to the 2016/17 season or otherwise we can make some deductions as to who may be in a position to climb the ranking list over the first half of the new campaign.

At the head of the list On Yee looks to have a strong grip on top spot as it is Evans who has more points to defend during the first half of the campaign including winner’s points from two of the first three events played during that season. Evans however will then have significantly fewer points to come off compared to her Asian rival as she looks to reclaim the world number one ranking over the following months once again.

With no points to defend over the next six months, top 20 trio Emma Parker, Nutcharut Wongharuthai and Waratthanun Sukritthanes are among those best placed to continue making strides up what is becoming an increasingly competitive ranking list if they can maintain their current form.

The 2018/19 World Women’s Snooker Tour is set to begin with the UK Women’s Championship at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds this September. Further details of the tournament and additional events still to be announced will be confirmed in due course.

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

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.

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.