World Women's Snooker is set to witness its biggest week for a generation with the staging of two prestigious international competitions in Bangkok, Thailand.
Held at the spectacular Hi-End Snooker Club with the support of the Billiard Sports Association of Thailand and the World Snooker Federation, the event will feature the World Women’s Snooker Championship from 20-23 June 2019.
Won last year for a third time by Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee, the tournament will see 54 players from 15 different countries compete for the coveted title. Showing the growth of the the ladies game over the last twelve months this is more than double the number of entries to last years event.
Among those taking part will be the world’s top four ranked players including defending champion On Yee and 11-time queen Reanne Evans, as well as 12-time European Championship winner Wendy Jans and several other established faces.
They will be joined by several newcomers to the circuit including players from Iran, Japan, Russia, Malaysia, Singapore and India making this one of the most international editions of the championship ever.
Women's Snooker World Cup
Not content with just hosting the World Championships, the venue will also host the inaugural Women’s Snooker World Cup from 17-19 June, a new team event featuring 17 teams representing countries from across the globe.
Adopting a similar format to that used at the professional World Cup to be staged by World Snooker later this month in Thailand, matches will see two-player teams contest a combination of singles and doubles frames, initially through round robin groups before knockout stages starting at the quarter-finals.
Each country was permitted to enter up to two teams, with Thailand being granted an extra two as the host country. There is also a wildcard ‘Rest of the World’ team featuring Laura Evans and Wendy Jans as the highest ranked players unable to otherwise compete in the tournament due to being the only players nominated by their countries.
Among those who will be fancied to go all the way will be the England A team featuring top ranked Reanne Evans and world number 3 Rebecca Kenna, as well as those teams featuring the likes of Ng On Yee and home favourite Nutcharut Wongharuthai.
Peradon are a company that don't like to stand still and are always looking to freshening up the products that they offer.
Over the past few years this has seen them deliver new cues in the Cannon and Snooker ranges, new cue cases like the Halo range and the Beast cases, plus they also distribute some of the leading brands of cue tips by the likes of Kamui, Talisman and Taom.
2019 is the year Peradon have decided to freshen up their snooker cue range.
This means that some old favourites like the Ascot, Stafford and Islington models have been discontinued, being replaced with a number of new models.
I am hoping that this becomes your go to place on all things related to the 2019 Peradon Snooker Cue range. I will outline the models that have been kept, the new models in detail with links to every product on the Billiards Boutique store.
It probably won't be a short read so make sure you have a decent cup of tea or an even better pint of beer as you sit down and read through this. I have done my best to provide some images where appropriate.
The Standard Specification
Although designs do differ a lot the specification of the Peradon range is very uniform, these are the main details:
58" or 147cm in length
Solid brass 'quick-action' joint
9.5-10mm Elkmaster cue tip
Peradon Quick Action joint fitted on a two piece cue
When it comes to weight each cue has two options, medium or heavy. The actual weights themselves with the medium and heavy band vary depending on the cue. For example a cue with a 16" solid ebony joint will have a medium and heavy weight that is higher than a 12" jointed cue.
Peradon 1 Piece Snooker Cues
1 Piece cues are regarded by many players as the pinnacle of performance. That perfect balance and feel that the solid piece of ash gives you when you connect with the cue ball. However, they are a bit more cumbersome to carry around so I understand why they are not quite so popular among club and league players.
For 2019 Peradon have actually made no changes to the one piece range, what you have are the following options:
Ash snooker cue with a hand spliced butt that uses the innovative 'Ebonex' composite butt material that looks and plays like natural ebony but is cheaper and more environmentally friendly. The Lazer is also available in 2 piece and 3/4 jointed versions.
A real Peradon classic - Joe Davis gave the company exclusive rights to use his name so I can't see this model ever being retired. Ash shaft machine spliced into a four point ebony butt that has a sycamore veneer set behind an ebony front splice. Finished off with the Joe Davis name plate.
Natural ash and natural ebony are hand spliced together creating the well known four point design, another cue that due to its simplicity and quality that I don't think will ever be replaced. Finished off with the Peradon Royal name plate on the butt.
A beautiful piece of ash is hand spliced into a solid ebony butt that is further decorated with a sycamore veneer set behind a zebrano front splice, with a nice deep grain. This produces a really stunning looking cue that plays nice and solid. Also available as a 3/4 jointed version
Top of the range 1 piece model that has an ash shaft hand spliced into an ebony butt. The butt is unique in the range in that it has an intricate inlay of sycamore set into an ebony front splice behind a sycamore veneer. Completed with a Joe Davis 600 name plate featuring an image of the man himself. Although still available as medium or heavy the Joe Davis 600 actually has the weight stamped on the shaft in the traditional manner.
Peradon 2 Piece Snooker Cues
2 piece snooker cues are still very popular, especially with players that are new to the game. They offer the cheapest way into the Peradon range and of course having a joint in the centre makes them the easiest to transport about.
By having the brass joint across the middle of the cue does mean you lose a little bit of the feedback when you make contact with the ball but if you are looking for a decent cue that is affordable and has the benefit of being easy to carry around then you can't go wrong.
The Ascot and Islington models have now been retired and replaced with two new styles that you can find below.
Actually made as one piece cues and then jointed later meaning that the ash grain matches across the joint. The joint itself is a joint exclusive to Peradon and in my opinion is one of the most robust joint systems available.
Currently the cheapest Peradon cue available but that doesn't mean it lacks quality. Made with a quality ash shaft that matches across the joint and finished with a bubinga front splice set into plum and sycamore veneers. Only available in a 2 piece model.
The only cue (apart from the 3/4 version of this model) to feature a solid rosewood butt. The rosewood is machine spliced into the ash shaft and has two red veneers that sit behind a rosewood inlay and a rosewood front splice. If you like the warmth of rosewood then this cue is definitely for you.
Since its introduction a few years ago the Lazer has always been a top seller. Same as the 1 piece version only a joint is placed in the centre after the cue is made. Uses 'ebonex' composite in the butt that is hand spliced into the quality ash shaft.
A true stalwart of the Peradon range, ebony is machine spliced into the ash to give the cue some nice balance and weight. Cost is kept lower by using the machine splice technique without compromising on the quality of the materials.
Not much more needs to be said about this model, quintessentially Peradon. The Joe Davis name plate gives the cue some real class that shows the attention to detail that Peradon still put in to each and every cue.
The Royal is the only hand spliced cue in the 2 piece range (unless you count the Lazer that is also hand spliced but uses ebonex). Solid ebony is hand spliced into an ash shaft to give the cue a real traditional look.
Peradon 3/4 Jointed Snooker Cues
I have operated Billiards Boutique for what will be 15 years this coming October and in that time I have seen a lot of changes in the cue world.
One of those changes is how popular 3/4 jointed cues have become. Now whether or not this is the real reason this is my personal opinion on the matter.
3/4 Jointed cues offer the best of both worlds, you generally have an uninterrupted piece of ash with a joint that is set across the butt material. The reason this is good is that the ash is what gives you the feel and the feedback when you contact the cue ball.
Players want convenience as well as playability, so by moving the joint further down more playability is kept in the shaft and at the same time the cue will fit into a slightly smaller case meaning it is easier to transport.
Peradon noticed this change in buying habits and the 3/4 range is now their most comprehensive.
Which Joint Position?
Peradon have two main joint positions in their cues, these are set at 12" and 16" from the butt end. They both offer something slightly different.
The 16" butt position pushes the weight and balance of the cue forward but they also tend to be slightly heavier cues. On the other hand the 12" butt joint tends to push the balance slightly back but it does product some slightly lighter cues.
This year Peradon have brought in three new cues to the range and you will of course find them detailed below along with all the other cues.
You have already seen this cue above in the 2 piece section, this one has a joint positioned at 12" from the base and due to the rosewood is available in slightly lighter weights than the ebony cues. Can be purchased with a matching rosewood mini butt if required.
One of only three cues available in every style, the ebonex does mean that like the Crown above some cues are available in lighter weights. This one is actually jointed at 14" from the base, so is a bit in between.
Always a favourite among our customers as it is the first foray into ebony in the 3/4 range. Four point design and a 12" butt position give this cue some weight, balance and actually some traditional character.
There was a time when the Century was available in different joint positions, but alas, no longer, those times are only for reminiscing. Solely a 3/4 model now it is jointed at 12" from butt end and has a very nice rosewood inlay set inside two blue veneers. Another top seller.
I will admit I was very surprised when Peradon didn't add another ebonex cue to the range this year. It means that still the Lazer and the Carlisle are the only cues to currently use this innovative material. The Carlisle is jointed at 14" from the base, just like the Lazer, but has a front splice of bubinga set in front of a sycamore veneer.
The Sheffield has a joint at 12" from the butt end
Machine spliced ebony with a kingwood front splice
Replaces the Peradon Ascot in the range which for some time was one of our top selling cues. I expect this to be the same
The double orange and single thick black veneer really give this cue some class, it fits in well with the kingwood and ebony
Hand Spliced Range
Next up are what I would describe as the mid-range cues but instead of machine splicing every single one of these cues uses the hand spliced technique. This is a technique that was actually first developed by Peradon, so they should be experts by now!
Not sure if it's any kind of endorsement but I used to own one of these and I absolutely loved it. The only reason I got rid of it was because I essentially stopped playing and haven't even picked up a cue in a year.
Hand spliced from solid ebony and featuring the Royal name plate for what is a true classic of cue making. Jointed at 12" from butt end.
A hand spliced ebony butt with a kingwood front splice set in front of a sycamore veneer. Has always been a top seller I think mainly because it is the first hand spliced cue with a bit of a design on it.
This makes it appealing price wise. Jointed at 12" from the butt end.
Lots of players really like this cue because it has an understated design, plain ebony with ash, but unlike the Royal it is jointed further up at 16" from the base meaning that the balance is pushed slightly further forward. This is a Billiards Boutique top seller.
Jointed at 16" from the base means this cue carries a little bit more weight but also a balance point that is further forward. What this does is give the cue a really positive hit and feel when striking through the cue ball.
Ebony hand spliced butt that has a further ebony front splice and inlay set in front of single red veneers.
Again jointed at 16" from the base, this gives it a bit more weight and front loaded balance than its one piece counterpart. Hand spliced ebony is used again but this time with a zebrano front splice. That zebrano is beautiful, it could just be me but I love the grain!
Top End 3/4 Jointed Cues
We move onto the top of the range cues available from Peradon now where all cues are priced over £239 - you get the very best materials and also some stunning designs.
What pushes these cues into this price bracket is the additional work required to make them, the highest quality shafts available and in the case of the Newbury, some pretty clever technology.
Don't take my word for it, check them out for yourself!
Like the Joe Davis 600 the Walter Lindrum carries the image of the great man himself on the butt plate. Jointed at 12" from the base this ebony and ash cue has a front splice of bubinga set in front of a sycamore veneer. Traditionally weight stamped on the shaft but still available in medium or heavy.
This has for a long time been my favourite cue in the range and for many years was actually the top of the range cue. Recently though Peradon have been introducing cues above the King in terms of price. The quality always remains high and I personally find the olivewood absolutely awesome. Jointed at 16" from the base, however, the olivewood does mean that some slightly lighter weights are sometimes available. Billiards Boutique Top Seller.
You will have seen this as the top of the range one piece cue earlier in this article, jointed at 12" from the base it also has the image of Joe Davis himself on the butt plate. Weight stamped shaft gives this cue an authentic antique look when in fact it is made right now.
If you like ebony, and lots of ebony, then you need to get one of these cues. It uses a four point hand spliced design that then has four further lower splices and an ebony front splice, all of these are set in front of blue veneers. Jointed at 16" from the base means that medium weights are often very rare to get hold of.
A hand spliced ebony and ash cue that is jointed at 16" from the base. I have an affinity for the cues with secondary lower splices and this is no different, the Harlow uses thick veneers in black and sycamore set behind zebrano. A truly amazing looking cue that will also hit like a dream.
World Women’s Snooker (WWS) will return to Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre this August for the all-new Women’s Tour Championship event.
The new invitational tournament to be staged as part of this year’s ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship, will take place across one session from 10:00am on Saturday 17th August.
The Women's Tour Championship will feature the current world’s top four ranked women’s players, this includes world number one Reanne Evans and reigning world women’s champion Ng On Yee of Hong Kong.
They are to 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.
This new tournament 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.
12-15th April saw the return of the Women's Festival of Snooker to the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds. A record field of entries saw over 30 players attending the festival from across the globe including many players from from Hong Kong, China and Thailand. The festival saw 5 World Championship titles decided over four days; the World Women's 10-Red Championship, the World Women's 6-Red Championship, the World Women's Under 21 Championship, the World Women's Pairs Championship and the World Women's Seniors Championship.
The event kicked off on the Friday with the World Women's U21 Championship where Thailand's Ploychompoo Laokiatphong beat fellow Thai player and defending champion Nutcharut Wongharuthai in the final. Nutcharut recently recorded a superb 147 break in a practice match, believed to be the first ever maximum break recorded by a female.
World Women's 10 Red Championship
Saturday saw the World Women's 10-Red event, where I faced China's Yee Ting Cheung in the Last 32. I lost this match 3-0 which was a real disappointment. Having dominated the first frame and been 40 points up I was put in a difficult snooker which cost me 20 foul points, struggling to adapt to the slide of the cushions on fast tables. Then requiring up to the brown to secure the frame, I played a good safety shot on the green to stun the white to the top cushion however unfortunately flucked the green which left me in a very difficult snooker on the brown. Many failed judgements on a swerve shot from the jaws of the green pocket, I came within a whisker of the brown but was left requiring snookers. The second frame was a similar affair, and a rattled frame ball green led to my opponent clearing to take a 2-0 lead. A poor break off shot in the third frame left my opponent perfectly in the balls and a 46 break followed by some well placed safety shots secured her a 3-0 win. I went on to come runner-up in Challenge Cup side event, losing a close match to my doubles partner Laura Evans, but I was pleased with a win over Hong Kong's So Man Yan in the semi final.
Reanne Evans came back from 2-0 down to defeat Ng On Yee 4-3 in the final and take the 10 Red title, meaning she had the potential to regain the World Number 1 spot by reaching the quarter finals of the 6 red event the next day.
World Women's 6 Red Championship
Onto Sunday's 6-Red event, where I was keen to do better than the day before to help secure some ranking points. I had a cagey match against Claire Edginton in the Last 32 which I won 2-1. I then faced China's Zhuqing Bi in the last 16. I went 1-0 up after a close first frame and I had the first stab in the balls in the second to take a 30 point lead. Upon potting the second to last red I made a very silly mistake - I tucked up to the black forgetting the 6-red rule of not being able to roll up to a colour. Having placed myself in a very difficult snooker with hampered cueing the frame score soon became level. I lost the frame on the blue and the next frame saw Bi win comfortably. Frustrated at a costly silly mistake, I was determined to win the decider and managed to edge a long safety battle on the colours to win 3-2. I then faced World No3 Rebecca Kenna in the quarter finals. I was left numerous chances which I failed to take so Rebecca dispatched me fairly quickly 3-0.
Reanne Evan's overcame Thailand's Nutcharut Wongharuthai in the final meaning she reclaimed her World Number 1 spot over Hong Kong's Ng On Yee.
World Women's Pairs Championship
The last event of the weekend was the World Women's Pairs event. Laura Evans and I had strong hopes having come runner-up in 2017 and 2018 and proving we could beat the top teams having dispatched Hong Kong duo Ng On Yee and Katrina Wan in 2017 and Thailand pair Waratthanun Sukritthanes and Nutcharat Wongharuthai in 2018. Laura and I had a bye to the quarter final and faced Thailand's Ploychompoo Laokiaphong and Baipat Siripaporn. The first frame saw us hold a small lead for the majority of the frame however a well placed snooker put the scores level on the last red. I escaped from another snooker but left a long last red and Ploy made a good clearance to take the first frame. Trailing in the next frame by 40 points Laura compiled a well thought out 30 break to close the gap, but a lost safety battle resulted in a 2-0 loss. Laura and I went on the win the Pairs Challenge Cup - I made a 51 break to beat Jackie Ellis and Maureen Rowland in the semi final and Laura took some good chances in a scrappy final against Jan Hughes and Ronda Sheldreck in the final as a consolation prize at least.
The Pairs was eventually won by Reanne Evans and Maria Catalano, who beat Ploychompoo and Baipat in the final. The English duo survived deciding frames in matches against Ng On Yee and So Man Yan in the last eight,and Thai pair Wongharuthai and Waratthanun Sukritthanes in the semi-finals. Ng On Yee compiled a fantastic 130 break in the pairs event which was the highest of the weekend.
The festival was dominated by Reanne and saw her successfully defend all three titles and return to top spot in the rankings, going into the last event of the season, the World Women's Championships which is being held in Thailand in June.
I would like to thank organisers at WWS for a great event and hosts at the Northern Snooker Centre, and of course Billiards Boutique.
World Women’s Snooker (WWS) and the World Snooker Federation (WSF) are today delighted to announce that two prestigious women’s snooker tournaments will be contested across seven days at the Hi-End Snooker Club in Bangkok, Thailand this coming June.
The 38th staging of the iconic World Women’s Snooker Championship, won last year for a third time by Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee, will take place from 20-23 June 2019. This will be preceded by the inaugural edition of a new international team competition for women players from across the globe from 17-19 June.
The most prestigious event in the women's calendar will be held with the full support of the Billiard Sports Association of Thailand and the Hi-End Snooker Club, a world-class facility which boasts 15 snooker tables and is the home of women’s players including 19-year-old Nutcharut Wongharuthai who has reached two WWS finals over the past 12 months.
This year’s World Women’s Championship shall carry a minimum prize fund of £15,000 and the team event a minimum total of £7,000, making this the biggest week of women’s snooker for over a decade.
Mandy Fisher, WWS president said: “We are excited to be heading back to Asia for this year’s World Women’s Championship and are thrilled with the support that we have received from our friends at the Hi-End Snooker Club and BSAT in the organisation of this event.
“We are also looking forward to hosting a major new international team event and to seeing women players from all over the world for what should be a fantastic week of snooker.”
Mr. Borriruk (Gap), general manager at the Hi-End Snooker Club said: “We feel very honoured to have been offered the responsibility to host these prestigious tournaments in our premises. We can now prepare to welcome the world’s best athletes to a fascinating snooker place.”
Suntorn Jarumon, BSAT president said: “We are delighted that World Women’s Snooker will be holding its biggest event of the year at the Hi-End Snooker Club and are looking forward to supporting the event.
“Women’s snooker in Thailand is growing year on year and Thai women players have been making a strong impact on the international stage, as well as at professional events. This year we will stage a women’s national snooker championship for the first time and the staging of a major ranking event in Thailand will surely benefit the game further and boost the popularity of women’s snooker in our country for years to come.”
Players will be nominated for both events by their national federation. Further information, including hotel information and the entry process for national federations to both events will be released as soon as possible.
16 June – Opening ceremony / Welcome 17-19 June – Team Event 20-23 June – World Women’s Snooker Championship 2019
Hi-End Snooker Club, Bangkok, Thailand.
It is of course great news that the event will be staged in a fantastic club in Thailand with the full backing of the Thai snooker association.
Another plus point is the rise in prize money, but only to the levels seen around 10 years ago. It will mean the winner and runner-up may end up profitable but the majority of players will be losing out financially to play in the event.
Of course competition at the highest level is not always about money and the prestige attached to the event will see many of the usual supporters of the Women's tour compete, but for longevity and for progress in the Women's game this is certainly something that in my opinion needs to be addressed.
My biggest concern is for those players based in Europe who will have to take more annual leave from work. Flights to South East Asia are not cheap, while living expenses in Bangkok are a lot cheaper than a major European city players will still need a return flight and accommodation for at least a week.
It is nice to see another Country being 'put on the map' of world women's snooker and again it does look like a positive move in terms of attracting players from nations that cannot really compete on the regular tour due to its European bias.
If the tour is to be sustainable as a truly International tour though then prize money does need to be addressed.
Last weekend (Feb 1-3) saw the fifth event of the World Women's Snooker 2018/19 season, the Belgian Women's Open in Bruges.
It's the first time the Open has been held but the second time this season that the WWS tour headed to Belgium, after the European Masters was held in Neerpelt in October. The event was held at The Trickshot snooker club a short distance from the historic centre of Bruges. I was hoping to match or exceed my last result of the season, a semi final finish at the Eden Women's Masters in Gloucester before Christmas.
The journey should have been pretty hassle free - a 2.5 hour drive to Dover, a short ferry crossing then an hour drive to Bruges. Despite leaving on the Thursday at 8am I didn't arrive in Bruges until 9pm that evening after a bad accident on the M25 forced motorway closure, then 40 miles from Dover I got a puncture, meaning a wait for a breakdown vehicle to recover the car off the M20, change the spare wheel, then a quick pit stop in Maidestone to get a new tyre fitted.
Four missed ferries later, we managed to cross the Channel!
In similar escapades, World Number 3 Rebecca Kenna also faced a breakdown and U21s player Steph Daughtery had her flight cancelled due to snow, so the English girls definitely had their hiccups getting to the event.
The event attracted 24 entries including 8 of the ranking top 10 meaning 7 groups of 3-4 players. I was the seed in Group D and faced Nicole Derycke, who was a local to Bruges, on Friday morning.
A 3-0 win followed by a 3-0 win on Saturday morning against Germany's Dorothee Rap saw me into the last 16 as top of my group.
Other group winners included Nutcharat Wongharuthai (Thailand), England's Rebecca Kenna, Emma Parker and Laura Evans, plus Diana Schuler from Germany and Belgian Wendy Jans - no group stage surprises.
Into the Knockouts Again
The knock-out stages began on the Saturday afternoon and the draw was done with second place runner's up drawn against the group winners. I faced England's Steph Daughtery. Steph went 40 up in the first frame but a few good safeties leading to a couple of good chances saw me win the frame on the pink. Steph then won a close second frame. Little breaks of 32 and 29 saw me winning the third frame comfortably, and I managed to win the match 3-1.
The quarter final draw was also played on Saturday afternoon and looked incredibly strong, especially given some of the talented Asian ladies were missing from this tournament.
Ng On Yee faced Emma Parker, Nutcharat Wongharuthai faced Rebecca Kenna, Wendy Jans faced Laura Evans and once again I faced Reanne Evans.
My first frame against Reanne was fairly close, Reanne missed a frame ball brown but a sloppy safety shot gave her the frame. Reanne went 57 up in the second with a 47 break, with 59 points left on the table - I wasn't able to capitalise on a chance in the reds/black, 2-0. Reanne won the third comfortably after some great safety shots left me glued to the baulk rail and forcing errors in my safety game, a fairly rapid 3-0 loss.
In the other quarters, Wendy beat Laura on a deciding frame, Nutcharat beat Rebecca Kenna 3-1 and Ng On Yee beat Emma Parker 3-0. The semi finals saw 2 deciding frames, with Reanne beating Wendy and Ng On Yee beating Nutcharat.
The event was eventually won by Reanne Evans who overcame reigning world champion Ng On Yee to lift yet another title.
Sublime in the Sunshine
Given I went out in the quarters on the Saturday, I spent Sunday morning cycling around Bruges which was very pretty in the sunshine and along the cobbled streets and canals, before catching an early ferry home. The next Women's event is the Festival of Women's Snooker at the Northern Snooker Centre in April..
I'd like to extend my thanks to the hosts of The Trickshot - a great venue who were willing to do all they could for us. Thanks everyone for the best wishes and of course to Billiards Boutique.
Main image and image of Suzie in action are credit Matt Huart at WWS.
The WPBSA welcomed MP's from the newly set up All Party Parliamentry Group for snooker (APPG) to the Dafabet Masters this week.
I was privileged to represent World Women's Snooker and enjoyed talking to MPs about their thoughts on snooker and how they can help support it. Neil Gray MP, Julian Knight MP and Kerry McCarthy MP were welcomed to the Dafabet Masters by the WPBSA Board including Jason Ferguson, Nigel Mawer, Jan Veerhas, Ken Doherty, and Shaun Murphy.
After a tour of the playing arena and networking, they watched an exciting evening session contested between Luca Brecel and Ding Junhui, which eventually went down to a deciding frame that Ding won.
The APPG was launched in Parliament on 9th January and Members of Parliament and Peers were joined by WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson and members of his team, who made a presentation outlining the work of the sport’s world governing body.
Chaired by Conor Burns, Conservative MP for Bournemouth West, the Group brings together Members of the House of Commons and House of Lords from all major parties. It will meet regularly in Parliament to hear from speakers working in snooker at all levels and discuss issues in the sport, as well as promoting snooker more widely both within Parliament and outside.
Members will meet throughout the year to discuss all elements of snooker including the sport’s attempts to work alongside key stakeholders in sport delivery, and members will seek to raise concerns in Parliament regarding the status of snooker as a sport and support its grassroots initiatives, as well as promoting the considerable social and economic impact that the sport has across the country. Sheffield is a good example of this, where the hosting of the World Championships at the Crucible each years brings millions of pounds worth of revenue to the City.
It will be interesting to see how the group progresses and I look forward to seeing what priorities it will focus on in 2019. The group represents a real opportunity to gain traction in Parliament with respect to widening opportunities to participate in the sport, for people of all abilities, ages and backgrounds.
I spoke to Julian Knight MP (Solihull) around opportunities at grass roots level to encourage more youngsters to take up the sport, and the rolling out of 'cuezones' into schools. Snooker has undergone a huge perception change over the last few decades and snooker clubs are far more child friendly - the opportunities for pioneering grass roots snooker are huge and I hope the APPG acts as a catalyst for putting junior snooker wider on agendas going forward.
This will only be supported by the fantastic work of the WPBSA in growing snooker as a sport for all, including through World Women's Snooker (WWS) and World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS).
An exciting time for snooker, watch this space I say!
By Suzie Opacic, exclusively for Billiards Boutique.
The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) is pleased to announce a new partnership with DSActive which will see both organisations work together to provide opportunities for people with Down’s syndrome to participate in snooker.
Administered by the Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA), the programme aims to provide people with as many opportunities as possible to be active across England and Wales, with other sports including football, tennis and athletics already supported. All sessions are easily accessible and cater for a range of abilities and ages.
In 2015 the WPBSA oversaw the formation of World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS), an organisation which aims to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to play snooker. Previous WDBS events staged over the past three years have seen people with Down’s syndrome pick up a cue and this new cooperation looks to develop this further by combining the expertise of both organisations.
In particular, the partnership will ensure:
Snooker becomes part of the DSActive programme alongside football, tennis and athletics.
Workshops will be provided for WDBS officials and WPBSA World Snooker coaches to raise awareness and encourage club-based DSActive groups, including expert information on how to best adapt activities to suit the needs of people with Down’s syndrome.
DSActive will publicise these new accredited sessions based at clubs affiliated to the EPSB’s 147 Club scheme and run by coaches who have attended the workshop.
Both organisations will work together to make pathways available for people with Down’s syndrome to become WPBSA World Snooker coaches.
The new partnership will be formally launched on 8 February at the WDBS Northern Classic 2019, with players from other sports groups in the area invited to participate in a ‘DSActive Festival’, forming part of the Friday Open Day for the event.
Bob Hill, WPBSA Club and Facilities Manager said: “I’m really excited about our new partnership with DSActive, which will support our affiliated clubs and coaches to provide high quality and engaging opportunities for players with Down’s syndrome to play snooker. This will also create a route for those club-based players to compete in our WDBS events, knowing that they will enjoy the same positive experience in both environments.”
Alex Rawle, DSActive Project Manager said: “We are really excited to work with WDBS and WPBSA to support more people with Down’s syndrome to play snooker. Snooker is a great sport for people with Down’s syndrome to play, we know many people with Down’s syndrome already benefit from participation in the sport and we want to make sure that more people get the chance to play.”
Last weekend saw the Eden Women's Masters return to the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester, with Reanne Evans hoping for a record fourth Eden Women’s Masters title since the event was first held in 2013.
The Masters is the fourth event of the 2018/19 World Women's Snooker tour season and the final competition of the calendar year, with side events also being run including the Under 21s, Seniors and Challenge Cup.
The weekend was slightly unusual in that due an IBSF event taking place in Myanmar, a number of the Asian players were not contending meaning the field was quite open, with the likes of World Champion Ng On Yee and world number 5 Katrina Wan, recent finalist at the Women's Australian Open, being absent respectfully.
The event saw 21 entries including a number of new faces again - it's promising for the ladies game that at every event we are now seeing a number of new players.
The top 2 seeds, world number 2 Reanne Evans and world number 3 Rebecca Kenna, were drawn into the last 16.
I was number 5 seed being drawn into Group C alongside Sharon Kaur and Claire Edginton. I played Sharon first and despite a good warm up on the practice table knocking in a couple of centuries on routines, couldn't seem to find a rhythm. Sharon took her chances and a few unforgivable misses cost me in the first frame. I took the second, leading to a decider. The frame was scrappy and a misplaced safety shot on the final pink left Sharon a chance that she took to win the match 2-1. Not the start I'd hoped for as I now had pressure to win my last match to achieve second place in the group.
First place group finishers have the advantage that they can only be drawn against the group two finishers in the last 16, meaning if I qualified I'd likely face a seed.
I played Claire Edginton next. I took the first frame and a run of 38 gave me a lead in the second. Claire played some decent safety and some good pots on the final colours brought the match down to the final black.
Claire was very unfortunate to rattle a black of the spot and leave it hanging over the bag, allowing me to take a 2-0 lead. I took the final frame for a 3-0 win and secure second spot/qualification through the group.
First place finishers in the groups included world number 4 Maria Catalano, cousin of Ronnie O'Sullivan, World number 6 Laura Evans, and world number 10 Emma Parker, neither of whom dropped frames in the group stages. The first place finishers were drawn randomly against the second place finishers for the last 16 - I drew Maria Catalano.
Maria and I have played on the circuit together for a number of years and our matches have normally resulted in either her whitewashing me or vice versa!
Both of us missed a few sitters in the first frame, I managed to take a 1-0 lead on the pink. I took a small lead in the second but some well placed snookers from Maria saw her go ahead on the colours. All the colours were open and I potted a long green but failed to get position on the brown. I was able to capitalise on a snooker and after a long battle on the blue I managed to take a 2-0 lead.
I plugged away at small chances in the third frame and on potting the final red Maria conceded after requiring snookers. Neither of us set the world on fire in that match and Maria wasn't on her game, but I was pleased to get into the quarter finals knowing what a quality player Maria is.
Top 2 seeds Reanne Evans and Rebecca Kenna eased into the quarter finals with 3-0 wins, and Emma Parker defeated Laura Evans in a very close match that went to a decider.
I faced Aimee Benn in the quarters - Aimee hadn't dropped a frame all tournament following wins over Jackie Ellis, Elizabeth Black, and Connie Stephens. I took my chances and managed a 3-0 win over Aimee, into the semi finals where I was to face world number 3 Rebecca Kenna.
I'd lost to Rebecca in the quarter finals of the last event, the European Women's Masters in Belgium, and knew that if I could win this match I would be into my first ranking event final.
Rebecca left me a chance to clear from the last red in the first frame. I potted to the frame ball brown but missed the blue, with Rebecca requiring a snooker. After a nervous few shots as Rebecca attempted to lay snookers, I slotted in a long blue to take a 1-0 lead. Rebecca took the second frame fairly comfortably and the third was a cagey affair.
We were both rattling plenty of balls on what seemed to be an exceptionally tight Star match table - whilst I'm getting used to playing on quicker, tighter tables, I was losing confidence a little.
Rebecca won the third frame on the pink to go 2-1 up, before taking the fourth frame on a black ball. Rebecca took more chances than me in the fifth frame however rattled the yellow to leave me a chance to clear.
I played some good pressure pots to leave myself the pink for the frame. Opting to play it confidently and stun it in proved to be a mistake and I rattled the pink.
Fortunately it ran save but a misjudged safety and missed attempt at a long black cost me the match, 4-1 loss.
I was pleased to get to the semi finals but despite the 4-1 scoreline knew the match had been a lot closer so it was a disappointing defeat.
Reanne Evans went on to take her 4th Masters title, beating Rebecca 4-0 in the final. The weekend surprisingly saw no high breaks, compared to last year when Reanne knocked in a 139.
At the previous Women's event this season, the Australian Women's Open, the weekend had seen 6 centuries plus breaks of 137 and 138 from Reanne and Ng On Yee.
The Women's calendar for next year is a little vague, rumours are potentially another trip to Europe in February, and the Women's World Championships has been confirmed as taking place in Dubai in March, followed by the long standing Women's Festival of Snooker at Leeds in April.
In the meantime, I wish everyone a great Christmas and I will get back to the practice table!