Women’s snooker news – 15 May 2023

It’s not often that I post about Women’s snooker but I feel compelled to do it today. The 2023 Women’s British Open was played over the week-end and its outcome was set to determine who, from Reanne Evans and On Yee Ng was going to regain a two years tour card starting next season. It was also only the second time that Bai Yulu from China was competing in a WWS event, and after coming runner-up to Baipat in the Women’s 2023 World Championship early March, Yu won the last event of this season yesterday, beating Reanne Evans in the final and On Yee Ng in the quarter-finals.

Here is the report shared by WWS

Brilliant Bai Wins British Open

Bai Yulu has defeated Reanne Evans 4-3 following a thrilling final to win her first world ranking event title at the Landywood British Open, held at the Landywood Snooker Club in England.

The 19-year-old was competing in only her second event on the World Women’s Snooker (WWS) Tour after she sensationally reached the final of the World Championship on her debut just two months ago, and duly added to her growing reputation as one of the most exciting talents in the women’s game with victory at the season finale.

From China, Bai becomes the sixth different player to win a main ranking tournament during the 2022/23 season, following glory for Evans, Mink Nutcharut, Jamie Hunter, Ploychompoo Laokiatphong and Baipat Siripaporn previously.

Having begun her campaign in the group stages, Bai defeated world number 10 Steph Daughtery and debutant Deb Major to reach the knockout rounds, before overcoming Daisy May Oliver, Keerath Bhandaal, Ng On Yee and Ploychompoo Laokiatphong to reach her second consecutive final.

Awaiting her in the title match would be record six-time British Open winner Reanne Evans, after the English star survived a hard-fought last 16 match against Bayarsaikhan Narantuya to win 3-1, before overcoming Maria Catalano and Rebecca Kenna to not only reach the final, but also secure her return to the World Snooker Tour next season. Combined with a surprise last 16 exit for Mink Nutcharut against Jamie Hunter, the result also means that Evans will reclaim the world number one ranking following the tournament.

A repeat of their semi-final at the World Championship in March, the final would prove to be a high-quality encounter as Bai claimed the opening frame before the pair traded breaks of 75 and 66 to see the teenager lead 2-1.

Back came Evans with a top run of 55 as she won two consecutive frames to lead for the first time at 3-2 and move to within a frame of the title, but it was to be Bai’s day as she drew level with a break of 40, before winning a nervy deciding-frame to secure her first major title on the WWS Tour.

Bai also compiled the highest break of the tournament with a run of 105 during her victory against Daisy Oliver on Saturday evening.

Now, I have to say that I feel pretty uneasy with the fact that Reanne will get her tour card back for finishing the year as number one, whilst Yu will have to go to Q-School. If by awarding tour cards to female players WPBSA wants to promote the women in the sport and encourage them to embrace the main tour, then it’s the best of them who should be given those tour cards and I don’t feel that, at this moment in time, Reanne is better than Bai. Bai only had the opportunity to play in two WWS events so far and that’s why she isn’t ranked at the top but… she was runner-up in the first event she played in, the 2023 World Championship, having beaten Reanne by 5-3 in the semi-finals, and she won the second, the 2023 British Open, beating Reanne again in the final.

Don’t get me wrong, this is nothing at all against Reanne who I respect and admire unreservedly. Reanne and Maria Catalano, as players, very much carried the women’s game throughout it worst period whilst Mandy Fisher kept it going against all odds as Chairwoman. They deserve massive credits for that. But, if it’s about giving a professional opportunity to the best female players at this moment in time then probably having Yu and Baipat on tour would be a better choice, especially as both are very young.

26 thoughts on “Women’s snooker news – 15 May 2023

  1. Half topic, World mixed dbl will be on again. I would like to see it expanded and more national. Si Jiahui and Bai, Luca and Wendy Jans, Marco Fu and Ng On-Yee, the Thai girls with Nippon and Thep. Un-Nooh. Et.cet , what do you think?

    • They will want Reanne Evans and Rebecca Kenna (who are on the tour) and the top male players such as Ronnie O’Sullivan. Without the familiar names, the event’s not viable. It’s scheduled for 2 days in Manchester, so there isn’t a way it can be expanded. I think it’s a mistake to schedule this so late in the season. It really has to be up-front as a showpiece event. Most players won’t have a game for 2 months after the Welsh Open.

  2. I totally agree with you Monique. Yes, Reanne carried women’s snooker on her shoulders, but she didn’t face many challengers and in some weird way I fear it made her pretty uncompetitive on the main tour. Without wanting to sound mean or cruel, I’m afraid the tourcard is wasted on her – just as it is wasted on Hendry. If there is any way to promote women on the tour, cards should go to Bai and other young talents who might or might not do well, but are still more promising. It is rather depressing to see the 12 or how many times woman world champion not winning a single match on the main tour. It just reinforces what people already think that women should not be there, cannot compete with men, etc.

      • That makes sense, Monique. I’m still hoping that if the best-of-seven’s remain to that extent or even are expanded we will see the double elimination format some time at least for one event where this distance is played. I hope WST won’t just refuse that idea just because they stubbornly want to dissociate themselves from pool.

    • It doesn’t matter if she is not copmpetitive enough at this particular moment in time. We are taking about sports and the principle of sports is to always strive to become better. 3 years on tour is not even a long time. On another level Ronnie needed 9 years to win his first WC.

      • Yes Ronnie needed a long time to win his first world title but he won plenty other tournaments, most notably the UK championship in his second year. On his debut year he won all but two of his qualifying matches… 76 out of 78 if I remember correctly. He won a tournament (Nescafe Challenge) and reached the SF at the Belgian Masters. I don’t think Reanne has enjoyed playing on the main tour, and she probably didn’t expect to find it so hard either.

      • “I don’t think Reanne has enjoyed playing on the main tour, and she probably didn’t expect to find it so hard either.”
        That may change next season. That’s whats sport about.

      • You have a good point Christian, but I can’t help feeling that the uncompetitive nature of the women’s tour hurt Reanne. If anything, I would like the talented young women in the so-called deep water. It is awful to see how the so to speak legend can’t win a match and read how women should stay on their own tour because they are not good enough. At least Mink and Bai are ambitious. They won’t fail for the lack of trying

      • Of course crashing from being the best woman in the world to not winning a match on another tour is frustrating for her, Csilla. That’s plain to see. But you can see as well that she is giving her absolute best, and again that’s what sport is about is about, giving your best. I don’t know if she is that hungry anymore Monique, but she wants to win, multiple world champions always want to win. And I don’t even think she has to be adaptable. I think she is clever enough to understand that she always will be remembered for her achievements on the Women’s tour, not for getting onto the Main tour. Her problems for sure are the best of seven’s . Her scoring is good enough to win the first round matches. But she doesn’t adapt to the conditions that quickly. She always kind of plays her best matches in the long World qualifiers. But most tournaments these days start with the best of seven’s. There is so much talking at the moment about what could be changed on the tour and quite a few players dislike the best of seven’s as well, but it seems that they will remain.

      • I’m afraid a lot will remain best of 7 indeed. One of the reasons it came about is because there is no interval. They have tried best of 9 with no interval but it felt too long. Spectators need the facilities, for the the younger ones attention span can’t be sustained … The interval is an “issue” in many ways. On television, something needs to be done to “fill” the 15 minutes gap, at the venues players and spectators coming in and out when other tables are in play can be problematic. it wasn’t that bad when only 32 players were at the venue, but it’s hard to manage with 128 players and 8-10 tables in the arena. That was Hearn reasoning.

      • I don’t like best of 7s as they are too short, but women’s matches are not longer either, so fitness should not come into question and Reanne won her titles this way. Having said that, it’s not so much Reanne’s reputation I worry about. The cards given to women are supposed to raise their profile, encourage girls to pick up the game. There are already too many voices arguing women should stick to their own tour, they are unable to compete with men and seeing their flagship champion cashing out first round against anyone is not helping to change this perspective. I would love to see someone with a slight chance to do better, break this perception. I believe that all that time spent in the uncompetitive environment of the women’s game made Reanne the least able to adapt and as such her participation does not help this cause. 😿

  3. You can’t change the rules just because of what’s happening currently, that would be unfair to Reanne (who I don’t think is good enough to be on tour). If Bai Yulu wins the Women’s World Championship or becomes the next highest ranked female, she’ll get one of those two available tour cards. I don’t agree with those cards, but you can’t give Bai Yulu a wildcard/invitational card at the expense of the cards/rules/criteria they have established.

    On another note, why is it so hard to find out the prize money for the women’s (and seniors) events? Whether it’s £100, £1,000, or £10,000, etc. I would like to know what (if anything) they’re playing for, besides the physical trophy. Seems weird they don’t talk about this, when the main tour ranking system, is set up to be £1 = 1 ranking point.

    • Regarding the money, I guess it’s hard to find the money if the event is not televised because sponsors want to be seen. I’m not saying that Bai should get a wildcard. What I’m saying is that being based in China she isn’t able to get high enough of the rankings even if she is the best because she can’t play in enough events. The consequence of that is that it’s not necessarily the best women who get the tour cards.

  4. Actually the standard of this tournament wasn’t great, including the final where both players were well below their best and the final frame was a succession of mistakes. Bai Yulu was extremely lucky to win it. But given the fact that it is her first tournament outside Asia, and only her second WWS event (after her World Championship final), it’s understandable she struggled. She played hardly any events in 2020-22 (due to the lockdowns in China) and lacks match experience – something she will certainly address in the upcoming season. She’s impressed so many people, that many opportunities will come her way.

    Yes, it does seem that of the 4 women on the 2023-24 tour, only Nutcharut Wongharuthai looks capabale of winning matches. There is a question of whether the ‘right’ women are on tour. But Ng On Yee’s results on the WWS tour have been poor, and Bai Yulu has only recently arrived on the scene. The reasons why women are on tour is to ‘promote’ the game, to improve the standard (of those players), and expand access generally. Reanne Evans finds herself in a similar position to Stephen Hendry: she gets top billing as a ‘legend’, but then loses the match. There’s a limit how long that narrative can play, before it actually shows the women’s game in a negative light.

    The real problem is of course the rigid ‘tour card’ structure: it’s either a Full Tour Card with access to all professional tournaments for 2 years, or it’s nothing. It’s one of the reasons why I argue for a much more flexible system allowing invitations. It’s one of the reasons why young Chinese players were able to improve quickly. I actually think Bai Yulu is not really ready to play in all the professional events, but some of them certainly. In the meantime, she should be playing all the WWS and perhaps Q Tour. She’s going to have to learn to live in the UK (at the moment based at Victoria’s Academy) – another requirement of the ‘tour card’ system.

    • Marco had the invitation card. (I think he should stay at least 2weeks before event or even staying in UK, if he wishes to stay on tour on his own merit.)

      For Bai, I don’t think she will stay in U.K. for Q-tour as costs are high, it will be realistic to stay in china playing WWS and CSBA(if there will be events.).

      Qualifying School – Asia & Oceania, still no result of entries from snooker.org(expecting hell loads of chinese not like in the past)?

      • She has entered the UK Q-School. WST has published the draw and she’s in there. So she can’t enter the Asian Q-School. She has been training at Vic’s academy for some time already.

      • little imaginary question here. Why they ended UK qschool entry so quickly?

        Don’t they need to wait Evans? (She might to go asian qschool but awkward.)

      • She can’t go to Asian Q-School as she is not resident in Asia. And anyway, Reanne does not need to go to Q-School, she gets a tour cart because she’s nr 1. Bai has entered the UK Q-School. I’m not sure why. Last season Luo Hong Hao had entered the Asian Q-School and then the Chinese authorities didn’t give him the needed visas and stuff. Maybe because he hadn’t ask for permission first … I’m not sure. But anyway, those who qualify via the Asian Q-School miss the early part of the season, which immediately puts them at a disadvantage. The one who needs to make a decision is On Yee. She has not entered the UK Q-School.

  5. Yu?

    Is there any other candidates for the invitation card? (seen twitter comparing Ng with Fu, but neither worthy if there are other candidates, since they had a chance to play on the tour already)

    Personal unpopular opinion: If Bai do go through fifth round of qschool whereas Ng do not(not know if Ng apply the asian q-school), it seems Bai will be much worthy of it.

    • Sorry Balvark, I meant Bai. Not sure why I got confused typing… (probably cooking at the same time wasn’t a good idea). Yes, Bai Yulu should have got it IMO.

      • Don’t forget that there was a consensus when Reanne got her first tour card, that she had to wait very long for that, some even said too long, and that wasn’t too long ago, so it’s more than ok that it’s her time now. As you say the other players are still very young, and that’s why you think they should get their experience now, but why didn’t they invite Reanne then 20 years ago…?

      • The system was very different 20 years ago. The qualifying routes were different, the ranking system was different, the people at the top were different.

      • Ofc it was. It was a rhetorical question. I think yesterday they both were pretty even. At the WWC Bai was better.

Comments are closed.