Women's snooker has rather fallen off the radar in recent years so it may surprise you to know that the World Championship is on right now at Cambridge Snooker Centre.

Gone are the days when this tournament was shown on television.

The greats of women's snooker - Allison Fisher, Karen Corr and Kelly Fisher - have all gone to the USA to play on the far more lucrative pool circuit, and they have all done very well out of it.

Reanne Evans is the current world champion and a very good player as well. Indeed, Reanne has just made it through the first qualifying section of the English Amateur Championship and will take her place in the last 32.

She is through to the semi-finals of the World Championship after a 4-0 victory over Tina Owen-Sevilton and will tomorrow face Emma Bonney.

The best chance women's snooker had for real success was when the WPBSA took the circuit under its wing in 1997. Major finals were staged at men's tournaments and at least gave the women some additional exposure.

However, the writing was on the wall when the finalists for the 2003 World Championship turned up at the Crucible only to find the balls were locked away in one of the cupboards, a key for which couldn't be found.

Not the best omen.

And indeed the women were cut adrift once again.

Credit goes to Mandy Fisher, the long time chair of the WLBSA, for persevering in the way she has. Without committed, enthusiastic people - WLBSA's press officer fits into this category - enterprises such as this could just wither and die.

The financial rewards on the women's circuit are derisory but sport isn't just played for money.

Sometimes it's enough that it's being played at all.

You can follow the results from the women's World Championship here.


Claus Christensen said...

I'd watch them. If they were good. I don't really care who is playing, male or female, as long as I'm watching great snooker. Then again, it's a tough task if all the talent flees the sport to pursue pool.

Nico said...

What do you think about Reanne Evans who said she wanted (planned?) to enter the men's circuit?

(if I'm still up2date about it, if not, sorry, but I'm an overseas fan)

Would this simply be allowed by the WPBSA, or what would it need to make it happen?

Anonymous said...

@ Nico

As far as I know no one would prevent her from doing so IF she qualifies for the main tour. In fact I don't think the WPBSA has any means to stop her if the qualifies. There is no rule which forbids women to compete at the tour.

Janie said...

As a very long standing member of the WLBSA I have to take issue with you Dave regarding the supposedly halycon days of wsa control.

Actually it had the opposite to the desired effect.

Probably the most damanging aspect was that girls under 16 were not allowed to enter events.

At a stroke that wiped out the future generation of players, and sadly, they've never got them back, bar a few from the flourishing group at Derby and one or two other newcomers.

The other aspect behind the scenes that the ladies tended to get $ signs in their eyes and thought the paths of the wsa were paved with gold.

Far form it, wsa had their own agendas and many of the girls resolutely refused to be confronted with any reality on the subject.

I got ejected from one WLBSA AGM when I went toe to toe with the infamous Martin Blake, trying, in vain, to get some answers to questions. The committee of the day was aghast that I should "rock the boat"

Sadly I was proved right.

It is very sad to see the ladies events in the UK generally attracting only around 20 entries. About half of those are the old stalwarts who've been around for more than 20 years now and about 4 or 5 are decent standard players, and there are a few new names which is the only positive from it.

Likewise to see such a low entry for the World Championship is very sad, despite the presence of the girls from Hong Kong, a couple from India, and Natascha Niermann from Germany.

Sadly, with my advanced years, I well remember the days when we had a field of 96 in the World Championship and would be guaranteed to see all the good players from Canada, Australia as well as the Asian and European players.

We always truggled for tv coverage, that was something wsa did achieve in small doses, but we got good media coverage a your colleague Phil Yates will testify to, having been sent to some very obscure locations to cover the event and generally coming back with far more stories than he anticipated!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

Its very sad to hear of the demise of the women's game by Janie's comment above.

It is a shame America don't take to Snooker in their country. As the coverage of the women's Pool events - which the Brit girls have excelled at - is superb on Sky, and probably even better on TV in their own country.

I've asked this before but is Lynette Horsborough(?) still playing Snooker or has she retired?

What is the prize money for winning the women world's championship?

On another note, Dave, the coverage of the China Open on Sunday was disgraceful. Not even one live session. Why give it excellent coverage all week and 'pull it' for the final. Two hours isn't good enough, and with Eurosport supplementing a second channel to run alongside the main one, you would've thought that showing it on there would've been an alternative.

As much as the coverage of Snooker is good to see, Eurosport don't do itself any favour by the general production of the game, and in the intrests of them wanting to cover Snooker better in future, they should take note, that just taking the 'hosts pictures' really isn't good enough. (Look at Sky or BBC for how to host a TV tournament properly)

Thanks, Joe

Dave H said...

Janie - I said the best chance of success was to go with the WPBSA but I didn't say it was a success!

Joe - yes it was disappointing but I don't do the schedules

Misha Wolynski said...

Just a few questions out of curiosity Dave. Firstly, I wonder whether women's snooker is exactly the same game as men's snooker in terms of rules, table dimensions and so forth. Secondly, I would like to know how good the best women are. How common are century breaks? Would they take at least a few frames from the best men?

Thanks in advance!
// Misha

Dave H said...

Yes the rules are exactly the same.

ALlison Fisher did beat a couple of top male players when she weas in the Matchroom (now Premier) League but the current women players wouldn't really threaten the men, although they could certainly take the odd frame.

Misha Wolynski said...

Thanks Dave!

// Misha

Anonymous said...

Reanne Evans beat Maria Catalano 5-2 in the final for a record 5th consecutive year.

Anonymous said...

isn't maria related to ronnie o'sullivan? thanks, joe

Anonymous said...

yes, his cousin.

Anonymous said...

Well done Reanne!