Following on from the World Women’s Snooker Championship 2018 this year in Malta, the 2019 core event will take place in the luxurious Dubai at the World Trade Center in March.
Ng On Yee was the winner this year in Malta, winning for the third time, and both Reanne Evans, an 11-times World Women’s Snooker Champion and On Yee have gone on to compete in the main tour World Snooker Championship qualifiers at Ponds Forge and the English Institute of Sport.
The winner of next year’s event will pick up $6000 and some of the ladies will also enter into the new World Snooker Federation tournament, this year won by China’s Luo Honghao.
The winner of the WSF picks up a two-year card for the main tour.
This season’s tournament will run with the support of the U.A.E. Billiards and Snooker Association with whom the WSF has worked closely to organize the event.
Mandy Fisher, WLBS President said: “We are delighted to be able to confirm that this season’s World Women’s Snooker Championship will be held in Dubai for the first time. Following our successful events in Singapore and Malta during the last couple of years, it is exciting to be heading to another new territory as part of this year’s WSF Championships.”
It’s the 36th edition of this event and has been running since 1976 when it was first won by Vera Selby.
For more info on the WLBS – click the image banner below and head to the WLBS website…
From a 6×3 table to a World Ladies Snooker UK Championship final. Rebecca Kenna has come along way from those days like Stephen Hendry of playing on a small table and dreaming of lifting titles on a 12ft x 6ft one. And like any young girl or boy, the dream is that little bit nearer to wholly coming true for Rebecca.
SnookerZone caught up with The 29-year-old from Keighley in Yorkshire on her current performance in the WLBS UK Championship, Kenna, who has also been a Personal Trainer since 2010, told of her delight at beating 11 times World Ladies Champion Reanne Evans in the last 16 stages.
To Win, You Firstly Need to Believe You Can Win
“I’ve reached a few semi-finals now where you would usually meet the number 1 or 2 seed so I’ve had a lot of experience against them. It’s important to believe you can win a match before you play it. Otherwise, you’ve lost before you’ve started. I’ve been guilty of that before in my 1st season of playing and only near the end of the 2nd season did I start to feel I was capable of competing with the top players. So this season I now have the belief I can win tournaments.”
“It was a very hard match against Reanne, I managed to keep her cold early on to take the first 2 frames but then she showed her class, even though I was ahead in the 3rd and 4th frame she came back twice from needing snookers to make it 2-2 with some fantastic clearances which I would have thought would have been filled with pressure but she showed tremendous bottle to come back and win them. I held my nerve and I managed to get a lead in the decider although it was very close and took the match on the blue. My safety game and long potting got me through the match. In our last encounter, Reanne made 2 centuries against me so I was determined to keep the game tighter and not make silly mistakes. I knew there would be more difficult matches ahead with Mink and On Yee so I didn’t get too far ahead of myself, just 1 match at a time.”
Since opening her Cue Sports shop Cue Sports Yorkshire, and also passing her WPBSA coaching course, Rebecca has been keen to pass on what she has learned playing on the WLBS tour and is keen to get juniors and more females enjoying the game and who knows, one day, the next World Champion might be a lady?
Kenna has one top piece of advice for anyone wanting to improve their game – when asked by SnookerZone what training product she would create – and she’s no doubt seen lots of them through her association with setting up Cue Sports Yorkshire, she confidently said:
” I think there are already loads of coaching products out there. I believe it’s feedback people need the most – what’s going wrong, why did that miss, what needs correcting? So I believe having a coach is the most important product/service you could have to improve your game. Even if it’s just for one session. A good coach will analyze your weaknesses and steer you in the right direction.” (See the 10 top coaches that SnookerZone has interviewed so far in the Coaching Zone).
Give Your Daughter a Snooker Cue: She Might Fall in Love with the Game!
On how she thinks the WPBSA/WLBS are doing in promoting the ladies game and indeed getting more women into playing and enjoying snooker, Kenna said she thought they were doing the best they could with the resources they have.
However, she added:
“I believe others could do more to help promote the ladies game. From local clubs letting women in to play the game, local leagues supporting and encouraging females to participate, governing organisations putting on more female events. Funding from the likes of Sport England so our game can grow. Players and coaches, encouraging more females to pick up a cue. Even parents. Show your daughter how to play, she might fall in love with the game and be a champion one day!”
In 2015 Rebecca was hit with a tragic setback. Her father died tragically of terminal cancer, and she also couldn’t play football because she had dislocated her shoulder. Her father was her best friend and snooker partner as they played a lot together. However, she dived into snooker as an escape and found from google that there was a ladies tournament! The rest is history.
Kenna knows what she’s got to do to win tournaments – and that’s take what she does in practice into the match arena and believe which she now feels she is doing. She’s almost there!
She gets on well with most of the ladies on the WLBS tour and particularly 16-year-old Shannon Metcalf, who is her doubles partner and who won the WLBS UK Championship Challenge Cup.
Finally, Kenna revealed…
“I hope to one day open up a snooker academy when I get too old to do PT.”
SnookerZone wishes Rebecca well on the WLBS tour, in her coaching and her enterprise at Cue Sports Yorkshire.
Do you want to put your passion and love of playing into action on the WLBS tour? Then check out the WLBS by clicking the image link below…
PS: Are you a player on the WLBS, WDBS, EASB or any other amateur tour and would like to be featured on the site? If so, email email@example.com and let’s see how you might fit in to the set up….
In the main event, the top break of 61 was made by Nutcharut Wongharuthai, who made it to the semi-finals losing out to Kenna.
It was also a return to competitive snooker for Grimsby’s Heidi De Gruchy, after a spell away from the WLBS competitions and is back on the main stage. Heidi couldn’t quite make it out of the group stages but was pleased to be back competing on the baize again both in the main event and the Challenge Cup.
Congratulations to all who competed – from SnookerZone.
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Snooker. A game of memory. A game of strategy. A fun game. Frustrating at times, but, wholly addictive!
That’s just some of the views from a hooked beginner starting her snooker journey in the ladies game Yvette Greenway, who’s been on the World Ladies Billiards and Snooker tour for one year now and is enjoying the experience.
Greenway started playing snooker in 2016, now 53, and is an active campaigner off the baize – a joint CEO of a mental health charity Silence of Suicide – but told SnookerZone that once she’s streamlined her work commitments, she will have more snooker in her life for sure.
She plays on her own table and on one near Birmingham and has coaching from Andrew Highfield, who has penned some great books on snooker routines and strategy drills.
For Greenway, the WLBS is heading in the right direction and has been campaigning quite robustly to get more women and girls into snooker.
She, however, added: “What’s really needed is sponsorship and more media coverage. We have some brilliant female players who have the ability to go far and we need to invest in and grow that talent. However, people have to work to generate an income which means less time on the snooker table. Some foreign players are very well funded, meaning they can practice consistently, attend events all around the world and not worry about overheads.
“For the women in the UK, unless they are extremely well sponsored, they rely on the goodwill of parents and other family members. It’s a real step forward to see more events overseas, for example in Australia, but that is a huge expense for most people and simply not affordable, meaning so many miss out. If more amateur snooker were televised, especially mixed gender matches, I think the public would be pleasantly surprised and quite excited by the talent and standard of match play. And, hopefully, potential sponsors might realize there is a reason for them to get involved.”
Last season, Greenway attended all of the WLBS UK events, save for the ones overseas.
She also added: “I’ve been asked to play in a local league and it would be a fabulous experience and additional practice. Once I’ve managed to streamline my work commitments, there will be more snooker in my life and certainly more matches.”
If you’re thinking of attending a WLBS event or playing in one of the now several events for women laid on by the WLBS, then you could not be in a more friendlier supportive network, says Greenway.
Even top players she said such as Maria Catalano (Ronnie O’Sullivan’s cousin) and Rebecca Kenna, who is also a coach and snooker entrepreneur in Yorkshire with her own snooker store, are always offering new players tips and advice.
Greenway added: “I was incredibly nervous this time last year approaching my first event, but the friendly faces, helpful attitude, and generous tolerance if I didn’t understand something helped me to relax. Because it’s a relatively small group of players, everyone knows each other and although each event is highly competitive, away from the baize the girls love a chat and a few laughs. What I particularly love is that although the ladies take their games seriously and want to win, they are all very generous in praising those who do well. The green-eyed monster hasn’t infiltrated ladies’ snooker, how refreshing. I chat with everyone if there’s time, but Jodie Allen, Maria Catalano and Sharon Kaur are probably the ones I spend most time with and who’ve helped me with a lot of advice and encouragement – it’s invaluable especially when you’re struggling and doubting yourself and I’m very grateful.”
Greenway is a battler on and off the tour as she fights in her role as an active campaigner.
She said; “My current briefs including fighting on behalf of women born in the 1950s who have had their state pensions deferred, women who took anticonvulsant drugs resulting in severe side effects to their children and patients damaged by the insertion of surgical mesh into their bodies. I also run a spray tanning business. When time allows, I play snooker, spend time with my family and watch my favorite football team Birmingham City.”
On who Greenway admires in the game, she said she can’t help admire Reanne Evans, Rebecca Kenna, who is so truly focused and dedicated she said.
And one person she admires on the main tour should watch out!
“Ding Junhui gets my vote every time. I’ve definitely got a ‘Ding Thing’ going on. He is elegant, super stylish and seems like a true gentleman – elegant in defeat as well as victory.”
She further exclaims: “Oh, one other small point – we’d love a lady world champion and it could be YOU.”
Yvette is right, the next World Ladies Champion could be you!
Remember, the UK Women’s Championship begins this weekend in Leeds.
Start your snooker journey on the WLBS tour by signing up! Click on the image to go to the WLBS website and find out more!
Top 10 ladies player Suzie Opacic says women who are interested in wanting to try snooker for the first time should just “give it a go” as now is a great time to jump on board the World Ladies tour.
In an interview with SnookerZone, Opacic, 30, and currently no 7 on the WLBS tour said: “If you enjoy it stick at it and work hard, with the fun comes the commitment. There are great opportunities now to get involved and try to compete in tournaments as much as possible – this will raise your game considerably.”
She said there were also new faces at tournaments every time now and with more sponsors coming on board such as the snooker store Billiards Boutique, who sponsors Opacic, she is optimistic ladies snooker is on the up.
She said: “The WPBSA has provided huge support for the ladies game in the last few years, with WLBS now sitting under the WPBSA umbrella. There are now more tournaments, more ladies entering, better prize money and more sponsors than a decade ago, the restructure has revamped the women’s tour.”
But, Opacic, who has always had a love affair with snooker, but juggles a busy job at Heathrow working on the Third Runway project, said she’s been fortunate not to have encountered any stigma when it comes to ladies playing the game.
She informed SnookerZone: “I’ve been fortunate – growing up playing snooker from an early age means I started in the local leagues early and am a regular at my local club, and can’t remember any negative reaction towards me playing snooker (apart from a chap who snapped his cue in half playing me once but I think that was just frustration!).”
She added: “The clubs were quite different environment’s 15-20 years ago but I believe they’re much more family orientated now, more inclusive and the smoking ban changed the atmosphere of our local club to make it more junior friendly almost overnight.”
When Opacic started getting serious about snooker, she had won the World Ladies Junior Championship in 2006 and she admitted she had entered it on a bit of a whim and didn’t expect much.
She exclaimed: “To come away with a title was great.”
Opacic told SnookerZone that the Ladies tour is like one big friendly family, but when they’re on the table it’s dog eat dog.
However, she said: “I’ve played on the tour for a long while now and so know everyone pretty well. I get on well with the other English girls including Maria Catalano (Ronnie O’Sullivan’s cousin) and Reanne Evans, and my Welsh doubles partner, Laura Evans.”
“it’s nice to meet up with everyone at each tournament. Laura and I have come runners-up in the World doubles 2 years running so have our fingers crossed this year! It’s also great to meet new players and talk to players from other countries. The Hong Kong girls are lovely and I love traveling to tournaments and meeting new people, seeing different places, for me the foreign tournaments aren’t just an opportunity to play in a different venue but a chance to explore other cultures.”
Getting Stuck In for the New Season
Opacic will be playing in the UK Women’s Championship this month in Leeds and says she has been working hard to climb up the rankings even further. She currently has coaching from a World Snooker coach Dave Mumford whom has given her some great training routines and practice sessions and she said she was looking forward to getting stuck in for this upcoming season.
She told SnookerZone how she got into the game.
“I started to watch snooker on TV when I was younger and my Grandparents got me a small kids table when I was about 9. I then started playing in the junior leagues at Chandlers Ford Snooker Club, and went from there. I used to play a few frames in the league every Saturday morning but it was only at around age 16 I started practicing more and taking it more seriously. I played my first tournament on the Women’s circuit in 2006 which happened to be the World Championships, where I won the World Ladies Junior Championship, so that gave me the incentive to play more!”
Opacic plays in the Southampton District and Snooker League during the week and in local competitions on the weekend.
But she admits it’s becoming a bit of a challenge juggling a busy day job and not to mention a three-hour commute!
She adds: “My ambitions in the game have always been to progress as high up the rankings as I can – my highest ranking position has been 5th and I’ve remained a pretty constant top 8 player – I finished last season ranked 7th. The standard is increasing and it’s difficult to 100% commit to the tour if you’re not playing full time, especially with tournaments moving further abroad and needing to manage annual leave carefully. However, I’m committed to continually striving to push my game to improve. I put less pressure on myself at tournaments now than I used to – pressure adds to the nerves and doesn’t do much good for your cue action, so I try to just enjoy playing but compete as hard as I can.”
Because Suzie Opacic has a twin sister. Fortunately, she’s not a cueist so you haven’t got two talented Opacic cueists to deal with!
And the snooker player Opacic added: “She doesn’t look like me.”
The UK Championship for ladies snooker runs on the 15th and 16th September at the Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds.
SnookerZone wishes Suzie Opacic well in the tournament and her career.
Are you a lady and want to try snooker? Then, as Suzie says, just “Give it a go.”
Discover all about the Women’s Snooker tour by clicking the logo image below: