Answering Eddie Jones…

Yesterday, in answer to my latest post, Eddie Jones commented

This is an unpopular opinion but im going to say it anyway. Woman’s Snooker tour is a great breeding ground for Women players but there has to come a time a good woman player moves to the next level and that means play in tournaments which contains the best Amateurs to hone their Skill. Both Ng And Reanne Evans are great players but flicking between Womans Tour and playing better players can’t work you got to commit and then the results will come.

and he is RIGHT of course but it’s not quite that simple when looking at the women in snooker in general.

Nearly ten years ago I wrote this article 

10 years! Since then Hannah Jones has left snooker … and things haven’t really changed by the looks of it, at least at grass root level, which is where any player starts at.

Just read those more recent articles …

This one is by clusterofreds, and written last year 

This one is from “inside the games” and reports on what Rebecca Kenna had to say during a television show only this year.

The governing bodies are not supporting discrimination and made it clear. 

Nevertheless, the actual situation remains that girls have to overcome a lot of more hurdles than boys to be accepted and respected at grassroot level, which is where it all starts. That doesn’t help. Succeeding in every sport is also a number game, and if girls are outnumbered at grass root – because they feel unwelcome at best – we shouldn’t be surprised to see very few of them succeeding at the highest level, or staying away from the Main Tour.

And then there are other, trivial but unavoidable, considerations about sponsoring and funding. The poor “image” of women in snooker is not helping them to find sponsors.

On Yee has repeatedly stated that her ambition is to compete with the men. She came very close to beat Alan McManus in Sheffield last April, she didn’t do badly in the Q-school this time either. She’s slowly getting there. But she can’t afford to lose the funding she gets from her national body in Hong Kong, and what justifies that funding are the successes she gets on the Women’s Tour, because that’s what makes Hong Kong sporting authorities proud and gives them results to show off on the sporting scene. So she can’t ditch that to focus on the main tour just yet.

Two young Thai women, Mink (Nutcharut Wongharuthai – 19) and Ploy (Ploychompoo Laokiatphong -16) weren’t seen at the Q-School, despite Mink’s statement that her ambition is to compete on the main tour, and her making a 147 earlier this year. I can only suppose that they couldn’t afford the cost of it. BTW, there was no male Thai player at the Q-school this time either, so I can only suppose that they got no support from their federation.

And here is a question for Lewis … are women competing on the CBSA “professional” circuit alongside with men? If not, why?




4 thoughts on “Answering Eddie Jones…

  1. Yes, there are a few. The most notable one is Bai Yulu, a 15-year old who has appeared in the main draw of Chinese Tour events, and won a couple of matches. I can think of 3 others who I have seen playing in CBSA events. I don’t think they are just ‘tokens’, but I get the impression they are expected to become top players on the women’s circuit.

    But the problems in the women’s game aren’t so unrelated to the problems faced by all amateurs here as well – there hasn’t been a proper tiered tournament structure which helps players develop into professional standard. If there were more events that included women by invitational, that might help. The only one recently was the world championship qualifiers, plunging the women into best-of-19 when they often only get to play only best-of-5. Incidentally, I thought Alan McManus could and should have beaten Ng On Yee much more easily by playing an attacking game. But nodoubt he was afraid of being accused of lacking respect had he opened the game up.

    I’m sure many of the men are uneasy having women in the draw as well: nobody wants to become the next headline, or be ridiculed on social media after a loss.

    Of course, promotion of the women’s game has been difficult, not helped by the notorious final in 2017 between Ng On Yee and Vidya Pillai, which took over 9 hours to play 11 frames and ended with a mis-cue. Other sports have made progress, but you will not get a large enough enthusiastic audience unless the scoring improves.

    But whatever changes happen, it’s too late for this generation now.

    • That anyone fears to be ridiculed on social media for losing to a woman only shows how hard prejudices die and prejudices are a big part of the issue. As for Alan, he’s not the most attacking player at the best of times, nowadays at least, but you’re right many male players feel uneasy playing a woman. You’re right also about the lack of development path, a situation made worse by the disappearance of a tiered system (or of course a swiss system, but there is no hope that way for now).

      • One of the benefits of Swiss system is that you can easily split the first few rounds (say 5 out of 12) across different venues, or countries, something they’ve been trying to do anyway with Q School. Since it ultimately produces a ranked list from 1-218, you could award a tour card to the highest placed woman, or U21, etc. provided they achieved some kind of minimum score (say 7 wins out of 12). You’d then find several more women entering, as there would be a real chance of making it.

  2. All that is really depressing. I agree with Eddie Jones that playing on the Women’s Tour does not take them anywhere besides being a good woman player and I really wish for a breakthrough for at least one to start with.

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