This November should have seen the eighth staging of the Eden Women’s Masters, a tournament which since its first edition in 2013 has become an established competition held as part of the World Women’s Snooker Tour.
Although the coronavirus pandemic has forced the postponement of this season’s event until a later date, today we celebrate not only the history of the Eden Masters, but our unbroken seven-year partnership with Singapore-based organisation Eden Resources, led by Chris Chuah.
Without the support of Eden – and Chuah in particular – the staging of several major events during that time would not have been possible. But where did it all begin?
Chuah (who is also the President of national governing body Cuesports Singapore), has spoken previously of having been “personally inspired” by the likes of Mandy Fisher, Stacey Hillyard and Allison Fisher during the 1980s and of his subsequent desire to help to raise the profile of women’s snooker through event sponsorship.
An initial agreement saw Eden Resources become the title sponsor of two events during the 2013/14 season, with the Masters and World Championship both receiving significant backing by the company. This was subsequently extended to three events during the following season with the addition of the Eden Classic to the calendar, as well as separate sponsorship provided to individual players.
As of 2020, Eden has now sponsored 13 individual events, most notably the Eden Masters which has been held on no fewer than seven occasions since its inaugural staging in November 2013. The competition has been a particularly happy hunting ground for Reanne Evans who claimed the title for a sixth time most recently at Frames Sports Bar last year, while Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee is the only other name on the trophy having edged out Evans 4-3 in 2017.
Eden’s sponsorship of the World Championship continued in 2015 – as On Yee ended the record 10-year winning streak of Evans – and the following year as Evans regained the title, but it was perhaps the staging of the 2017 event which marked a true watershed moment for the World Women’s Snooker Tour.
Having been held exclusively within the UK for over 20 years prior, with the support of Chris Chuah, Eden Resources and CueSports Singapore, the decision was taken to stage the tournament at the Lagoon Billiard Room in Singapore for the first time. The event began with the hosting of a once in a lifetime opening ceremony at the top of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and saw several notable players including world number three Nutcharut Wongharuthai and World Cup winning duo Waratthanun Sukritthanes and Baipat Siripaporn compete on the World Women’s Snooker Tour for the first time.
Following its dramatic conclusion as Ng On Yee defeated Vidya Pillai 6-5 on the pink to claim her second world crown, the event proved to be an overwhelming success and truly demonstrated the international potential of women’s snooker. The Tour has since maintained a strong presence in Asia and Oceania with further events held in Thailand and Australia as the 2017 event laid the foundations upon which we are continuing to build today.
The current climate is without doubt a challenging one as we continue to prepare for a return to competition as the world reacts to the coronavirus pandemic, but we are delighted to confirm that Eden Resources remains committed to sponsoring the Eden Masters when the tournament can be safely held later this season.
With a strong field of entries from 12 different countries having contested last year’s edition, the Eden Masters continues to go from strength to strength and has found a new home at Frames Sports Bar in Coulsdon.
All of us at World Women’s Snooker remain grateful for Eden’s support and we look forward to our continued cooperation in the future to stage more prestigious tournaments for women and girls everywhere.