Tag: Jessica Woods

Jess Woods Q&A

The staging of the 2018 Australian Women’s Open marked not only the first World Women’s Snooker Tour ranking event to be held in the country, but also saw the return of home player Jessica Woods to the circuit after a two-year absence.

Champion in Australia and Oceania on multiple occasions, the 26-year-old is a formidable competitor who is already back up into the world’s top 30 despite having competed in just three events of the current two-year cycle.

At last year’s World Championship she notably ended a run of 34 consecutive frames won by Ng On Yee at the event dating back to 2017, before also becoming the first player to take a frame from eventual champion Reanne Evans in Thailand at the last 16 stage.

In our latest Q&A we caught up with Jess to learn more about her snooker journey to date and discuss the development of the sport in her home country…

Hi Jess, how are you and how is the situation in Australia at the moment during these strange times?

Things here aren’t as bad as over there [the UK]. The gym and other sporting things being closed is the only way that it has really affected me, but I have a home gym now so that’s not even an issue.

The border between New South Wales and Queensland is closed which is a bit of a pain as well. I am definitely one of the lucky ones though, I have still been working plenty of hours – too many at times! We haven’t been put into lockdown and besides some shops being closed and having to social distance, everything has been normal really.

Have you had access to a snooker table throughout the last few months? We saw you taking part in the Blue Ball Challenge for our friends at World Seniors Snooker a few weeks ago.

Yeah, I am very fortunate to have a table in my house which I have been trying to get on as much as possible around my relatively busy life.

Turning back to before the coronavirus had such an impact on the sporting landscape, how is snooker in Australia in general and in particular women’s snooker?

Snooker in Australia is both good and bad. We have a good open tour with many good quality players on it and the women’s game is reasonably well supported, but like many countries we don’t have many juniors coming though.

Snooker is a pretty unknown sport around here, it has only just recently been added to Fox Sport which is a pay-per-view service so it’s not really on TV. I believe they aren’t going to continue streaming it in the future as well so it’s quite hard for someone to stumble across the sport like they may for football (handegg as many people call our football), many of our tables are in services clubs which are slowly replacing the tables with pokie machines.

Like much of the world I think that we have a long way to see the game reach its full potential but I believe we can do it. Snooker is such a great game for young and old to get involved in.

How did you first become interested in snooker and realise that you had a talent for the sport?

My older brother and dad started playing and I went down to the club with them one day. I played every sport I could growing up but this one just stuck.

I’ll let you know when I do realise I have talent ?

It has been great to see you back in action on our circuit over the past couple of years, of course our new event in Australia together with Frank and his team at the ABSC has helped you to get involved. How have you found the tournament and how important is it for us to have a ranking event in Australia?

I really enjoy the event, it has always been a great part of our calendar but to have Reanne [Evans], the Thai girls and the Hong Kong girls come over makes it a great event for me and a great experience for all of us to compete against the world’s best.

I think you guys are doing a fantastic job at getting more women involved in the game and that means pushing the sport to as many countries and women as possible, within reason of course. As a world body I think it is important to show that you represent the whole world and not just the UK.

You also competed in last year’s World Championship – our biggest for many years both in terms of entry numbers and prize money – how did you find that experience?

It was tough! I think I had the biggest group in both the teams and the singles which made the days very long and tiring but it was a very enjoyable experience. I do find these events tough though, not having a high ranking because I can’t compete in most events means that I get tough groups and draws. I got both Ng On Yee and Reanne in that event, which is fantastic experience for me, but also sort of makes it maybe tougher for me than other girls that are a similar standard to me but are higher ranked.

In the past you also spent time in England, competing at our World Championship from 2014-16. How did you find living/being in England and did it help you to improve your game?

I have spent time in England on many different occasions. I lived there for 11 months a couple of years ago but didn’t actually compete in any events over that time for personal reasons. Living in the UK has its perks for snooker for sure, being surrounded by so many players that have made tons is a new experience for someone from a little Aussie club like me. It is definitely a massive advantage having so many people around you to push you as a player and to learn from.

Who are your snooker heroes/influences?

I don’t really have heroes or influences, I respect many players and love watching them but I have very intrinsic motivations when it comes to snooker. I want to become the best player I can be and that’s what motivates me to put the hours in.

My boyfriend/coach is also a huge factor in that, he is very good at telling me to stop being lazy and get on the table! He has taught me so much about the game I would have otherwise never learnt.

What are your on-table ambitions for the future?

My ambitions are to become the best snooker player I can be. I am very competitive and love winning but it is mostly about the journey. Snooker has given me so much; I have travelled the world and met so many people along the way. Now that I have my apprenticeship that may slow down a bit over the next few years, but I am fortunate to work for my family so can get more time off than most jobs.

What are your hobbies and interests when you are not playing snooker?

I enjoy keeping myself busy, cooking healthy meals and keeping fit is a top priority. Whether that be through going to the gym, going for a surf or playing some Oztag I just like to keep active.

I also enjoy reading quite a lot, whether that be a good novel, or exercise and nutritional sciences, I am always trying to learn and keep mentally sharp.

What can be done in Australia to help encourage more women and girls to take up snooker?

I think it’s very similar here to most other places in the world except snooker isn’t as well known here, many people don’t even know what snooker is when I tell them I play it. Getting snooker more recognised would help I think, many people who were around when Pot Black was on still remember watching it and I often get comments about Eddie Charlton, but no one knows who Neil Robertson is.

Besides just getting more people exposed to the game I think just getting as many juniors involved as possible, whether they are male or female, we just need to get more juniors playing this amazing sport and females should come along with that. Clubs need to think about setting a platform where juniors feel comfortable in a room full of mostly old men, which I often find is more difficult for the young girls, but people like me need to be active in making them as comfortable as possible and making everyone young and old love playing this sport.

Thank you to Jess who like all of our players we are looking forward to seeing back on the baize when the Tour is able to return.

World Rankings – Australian Women’s Open 2019 Update

The official world women’s rankings were recently updated for the second time during the 2019/20 season after Nutcharut Wongharuthai claimed her first ranking event title at the Australian Women’s Open last month.

The WWS world rankings operate on a rolling two-year basis, with points earned during 2017/18 to be removed during the course of this season. At this revision, no points were removed, with those earned at this year’s Australian Women’s Open added.

Maximum Mink on the Move

Although a number of the world’s top 10 were absent in Sydney, there was a significant move in the top four as Nutcharut Wongharuthai moved above Rebecca Kenna into third place, a new career-high for the Thai youngster. Having entered the event 3,350 points behind Kenna, ‘Mink’ as she is also known more than did enough to break new ground in Australia as she defeated second ranked Ng On Yee in the final to bag the maximum 7,500 points.

With Kenna set to defend semi-final points at this month’s Eden Masters from two years ago, an event which Wongharuthai did not play in, the Thai star is already guaranteed to end the calendar year in at least third position. Next in her sights will be three-time world champion On Yee, with the Hong Kong star mathematically within reach in Coulsdon later this month if Wongharuthai were to go all the way with On Yee losing out early.

While this would appear unlikely, On Yee does have 7,250 more points to defend during the second half of this season than Wongharuthai meaning that we are set for a real battle for the number two spot behind runaway world number one Reanne Evans over the coming months.

Notable Movers

Elsewhere, Jaique Ip Wan In returned to the world’s top 10 for the first time since 2017 after reaching the semi-finals in Sydney to become the second highest ranked player from Hong Kong and with fewer points to defend this season than anyone else inside the top 14 will be hoping to consolidate her position over the coming months. There is also a notable rise for another Hong Kong native as Pui Ying Mini Chu climbed to 18th position after her own run in Sydney.

Of the Australian players competing on home soil Judy Dangerfield consolidated her position as the highest-ranked in 28th, while quarter-finalist Jessica Woods moves up to 31st, a gain of seven places. Also reaching the last eight from Australia was Carlie Tait, who improved upon her last 16 run in Sydney a year previously and climbs 27 places to number 42.

Also breaking new ground is Tani Mina of Japan who moves to 51st position, while South Korea’s Jeong Min Park is up to 39th after she reached the quarter-finals.

The World Women’s Snooker Tour will return with the Eden Women’s Masters from 23-24 November 2019. Enter online HERE.

Women’s Snooker to Return to Australia

The Australian Women’s Snooker Open will return to Sydney from 17-20 October 2019 following its successful first staging last season.

Organised by the Australian Billiards and Snooker Council (ABSC) and World Women’s Snooker (WWS), the event will again be staged at the Mt Pritchard District and Community Club, known as ‘Mounties’ in the western suburbs of Sydney, Australia.

Won last year by Ng On Yee of Hong Kong, the event will be recognised as the second ranking event of the 2019/20 World Women’s Snooker Tour season and carry full ranking status. The tournament will be sponsored by Mounties and the ABSC, with a total prize fund of AUD$10000, to include a top prize of AUD$4000 for the champion.

Last year’s event was well-supported as 24 women from five countries competed, including the world’s top two ranked players Reanne Evans and Ng On Yee. In addition to claiming the inaugural event title with victory against compatriot Katrina Wan, On Yee also marked the occasion by compiling a high-break of 139 – her highest ever in competition and one of seven century breaks across the event in total.

As well as international players, the event also proved popular with women players from across Australia, with Jessica Woods progressing furthest as she reached the quarter-finals at her first WWS event in over two years. At the time of writing Woods is one of an impressive 17 Australian players on the current world ranking list, a total bettered only by England (31) demonstrating the important role that the region has to play in the future of women’s snooker.

Mandy Fisher, WWS President said: “I am delighted that the World Women’s Snooker Tour is to return to Australia following the success of last year’s inaugural tournament. Once again I would like to express our thanks to Frank Dewens and his team at the ABSC and hope that players from Australia and beyond will continue to support this fantastic event.”

Frank Dewens, ABSC President said: “Once again it is a great pleasure in hosting this prestigious event and seeing the best women snooker players in the world. We in Australia are excited to have the opportunity to put our women players up against the world’s best and allow them to test their skills and further their careers. We are opening up our country not only to women players but considering staging other events such as seniors, juniors and one day hopefully returning the Goldfields Open. I look forward on this occasion to seeing the world’s best women players and inviting them to enjoy the hospitality we put on offer.”

The event will be available to enter soon at the ABSC website: absc.com.au/online-entries

For more information about Mounties visit their website: www.mounties.com.au

View our latest confirmed events for the 2019/20 season: www.womenssnooker.com/events

World Women’s Rankings – Australian Women’s Open 2018 Update

The official world women’s rankings have been updated for the third time this season following the latest success for Ng On Yee at the first-ever Australian Women’s Open 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, no points were removed from the ranking list as there was no corresponding event two years ago, with just points added based on results in Sydney, Australia.

On Yee extends her lead

With victory in Australia, world number one Ng On Yee landed the latest blow in what has so far been an intriguing battle at the top of the world women’s ranking list so far this season.

The campaign began with the 27-year-old having significantly extended her lead at the top of the standings following victory at the UK Women’s Championship in September, only for Reanne Evans to immediately close down the gap with her first title of the season in Belgium earlier this month.

This latest triumph for On Yee however, combined with a semi-final defeat for Evans means that the Hong Kong player is again clear by 10,800 points heading into the final ranking event of the calendar year in Gloucester next month.

Away from the top two the big winner was Katrina Wan, who climbs one place above Laura Evans to a career-best equalling fifth position after she reached the final of a WLBS event for the first time. With 4,850 fewer points to defend than fourth placed Maria Catalano over the coming months, Wan will be targeting a place inside the top four for the first time if she can maintain this form for the rest of the season.

Finally, it was also another milestone event for 18-year-old Nutcharut Wongharuthai as the Thai star broke into the world’s top eight for the first time following her run to the semi-finals in Sydney.

Asian Gains

With only Reanne Evans in action from Europe the event provided a number of Asian players with the opportunity to gain ground on the ranking list and perhaps the biggest winner was Ho Yee Ki who climbs three places to a personal best 13th position following her last 16 run at the Mounties Club.

Also on the rise from Hong Kong are Fong Mei Mei (+1) and quarter-finalist Chu Ying Mini Chu (+3), while Yeeting Cheung climbs nine places to 29th as she also made a career-best break of 80 during a successful weekend in Australia.

There was also a welcome return for Jeong Min Park of South Korea who gains seven places to return to the top 30 as she competed in her first event since the 2017 Festival of Women’s Snooker in England.

Australian representation

There are now over 100 players represented on the official world women’s ranking list for the first time in several years with several newcomers competing at the inaugural tournament in Sydney, Australia.

Prior to the event Oceania was represented by just one player, Judy Dangerfield having played earlier this year at the World Women’s Championship and European Women’s Masters tournaments. She is now joined however by several Australian players who were in action at the Australian Women’s Open, including quarter-finalist Jessica Woods who is a re-entry to the ranking list in 60th position.

Of those who did not progress to the final stages to the main event, Kathy Parashis took victory against Kylie Bellinger to win the Challenge Cup competition.

The final ranking event of the 2018 will be the Eden Women’s Masters, to be held at England’s South West Snooker Academy from 24-25 November. Enter now online HERE.

Australian Women’s Open 2018: Draw Released

The draw for the round robin group stage of next week’s upcoming Australian Women’s Open 2018 is now available:

To be held in Sydney on 25-28 October for the first time as part of the World Women’s Snooker Tour (WWST), the prestigious new event has attracted an impressive 24-player field boasting the world’s top two players and winners of the last 14 world titles Ng On Yee and Reanne Evans.

Having shared the opening two events of the new season in England and Belgium respectively, the pair will continue their battle for the world number one ranking on unfamiliar ground with England’s Evans looking to make it a title double this month. They will be joined by fellow top 10 players Katrina Wan and recent European Women’s Masters runner-up Nutcharut Wongharuthai, with a further six players currently ranked inside of the world’s top 50 set to compete.

Significantly, the tournament has also attracted several of Australia’s best women players, including reigning national women’s snooker champion Jessica Woods and Kathy Howden, the latter a quarter-finalist at the World Women’s Snooker Championship as recently as 2016.

The landmark event will take place at the Mt Pritchard District and Community Club, known as “Mounties” in Sydney, Australia from 25-28 October 2018 and is the third ranking event of the 2018/19 season. The tournament has been jointly organised with the Australian Billiards and Snooker Council (ABSC), a full member body of the World Snooker Federation.

WLBS looks forward to a successful event and to welcoming both new and returning players to another new territory for the World Women’s Snooker Tour.

For more information and to view results during the event visit the Australian Billiards and Snooker Council website.

Australia to Host First World Women’s Ranking Event

World Ladies Billiards and Snooker (WLBS) and the Australian Billiards and Snooker Council (ABSC) are today delighted to jointly announce that a World Women’s Snooker Tour event will be staged in Australia for the first time ever later this year.

The Australian Women’s Snooker Open will take place from 25-28 October at the Mt Pritchard District and Community Club, known as “Mounties” in the western suburbs of Sydney, Australia. The tournament will become the third event of the upcoming season and be open to women from across the globe. The event will carry full ranking status, ensuring that it will immediately become a highly sought-after title on the tour.

Mounties is a community club offering full facilities such as four eateries, licensed bars, ten full-size snooker tables and much more. The tournament will be sponsored by Mounties and will carry a total prize fund of AUD$9000.00, with AUD$8000 to be won in the main event, including a top prize of AUD$3000 for the champion. A further AUD$1000 is allocated for the Challenge Cup event for players who do not qualify for the knockout rounds of the main competition.

Australia has a strong history on the women’s tour, with Lesley McIllrath one of just two non-UK winners of the World Women’s Snooker Championship (alongside current champion Ng On Yee) following her title triumph back in 1980. In more recent years Jessica Woods has also enjoyed success both at home and abroad, recently claiming her fifth national women’s championship winning 21 of the 24 frames that she played.

Mandy Fisher, WLBS President said: “It has always been an ambition of mine to see a World Women’s Snooker Tour event take place in Australia and therefore I could not be happier with today’s announcement. This is an important milestone in our history as we continue our global expansion as a body and I would like to thank both Frank Dewens and World Snooker Federation Treasurer Mike Peachey who have both contributed significantly to helping make this prestigious new event happen.”

Frank Dewens, ABSC President said: “It is indeed a great pleasure in opening up our Women’s Australian Open Snooker Championship to the world. We are looking forward to seeing the best women players in the world competing against Australia’s best.”

Further information, including full entry details will be released in due course.

For more information about Mounties visit their website: www.mounties.com.au

View our latest 2018/19 events calendar: www.womenssnooker.com/events