Maria Catalano to ‘Brave the Shave’ at UK Women’s Snooker Championship


Catalano to ‘Brave the Shave’ at UK Women’s Snooker Championship

If you are planning on coming to the Northern Snooker Centre for the LITEtask UK Women’s Snooker Championship next month, you might notice one of our leading players looking a little differently than normal.

World no.3 Maria Catalano will be ‘braving the shave’ on the eve of the tournament in support of Macmillan Cancer Support, a registered charity based in the UK which provides support for people affected by cancer.

Maria has decided to undertake the challenge in memory of her late father Antonio who very sadly passed away following a short battle with cancer earlier this summer and has been overwhelmed by the support that she has received.

“I would like to thank everybody for the support with my challenge and focus of supporting Macmillan,” said Catalano. “My reasoning for this is all about saying thank you. I’m not going to say I’m not scared because I am, but there are always woolly hats and hopefully my Italian roots will make my hair grow back quickly!

Maria Catalano plays snooker

“What this has taught me is to never ever take life for granted. It is a cliché I know but you really can be here today and gone tomorrow. I want to turn my heartbreak into a positive and give something back and just to raise awareness of the great man my dad was. I am so grateful for the donations and the awareness, it is deeply appreciated.”

Catalano, who earlier this year reached the final of the 2018 World Women’s Championship in Malta, is also known for being the cousin of five-time world professional champion Ronnie O’Sullivan who has today given his backing to her challenge.

“Antonio was my uncle and I used to spend a lot of time up there when I was youngster in particular,” said O’Sullivan. “He was the kindest, most gentle, lovely human being you can imagine meeting. He was very hard working with the ice cream business and a big family man. He will be forever missed.

“I know how close Maria was to her dad and how painful it was for her, so all credit to her for doing something like this.”

All of us at World Ladies Billiards and Snooker are of course fully supportive of Maria and are delighted that she will be undertaking the challenge surrounded by her snooker family at approximately 7:00pm at the Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds prior to the start of the new season.

To read Maria’s story and to help her to smash her £2,000 target donate now at:


If you wish and can support Maria, please do so although it might prove difficult if you are not living in UK. Indeed the interface is such that only postcodes with UK structure are accepted…

And, IMO, Antonio Catalano’s illness and death may at least partly explain why Ronnie seems unprepared to sacrifice his quality of life in order to add to his already remarkable tally. Italian families are often very closely knitted and the Catalano are no exception. Antonio was Ronnie’s mother’s brother. He only lived about 5 weeks after the cancer diagnostic was delivered. That’s a harsh reminder that live is fragile and that you never know when your time comes.

The Pink Ribbon 2018 – Andrew Norman is your Champion!


Andrew Norman won the Pink Ribbon 2018 beating Harvey Chandler by 4-2 in the final.

Congratulations Andrew!

And congratulations Harvey as well. They both were the best players there all week, and by some margin. The final was extremely close, much closer than the score suggests.

Andrew is now off the tour for a few years and competed as an amateur. Harvey is a professional, a rookie, and if he plays on the tour the way he did in Gloucester over the last days he is  certainly one to watch.

Andrew deserves even more credit for this victory because he’s been working tirelessly on the organisation of the event, this year and all previous years. Andrew is everywhere: early morning getting everything ready, during the day, behind the bar, playing snooker, serving food, generally helping everyone and, when everyone is gone for a drink, at 1:30 in the morning, Andrew is still there brushing the tables after the last matches!

Andrew told me that the prospect of being able to play on the World Seniors tour has been a huge motivation to practice hard again lately. clearly it paid off.

Here are a few images taken during the Final

This year the event managed to raise more money than it did last year despite the clashes with the Riga Masters and the Challenge Tour Event 3. Well done to Paul Mount and his team!


And finally big thank you to Clive Brown, the tournament director, and his team of referees. Everyone one of them worked their socks off to have the event running smoothly!


Next year will be the 10th anniversary of the Pink Ribbon. Don’t miss this special occasion to celebrate one of the best pro-ams in the World and one run for a great cause too!

During the event I published all the pictures on Facebook. Here are the public links:

Day 1 of Amateur Rounds – 28 July 2018

Day 2 of Amateur Rounds – 29 July 2018

Last 64 & last 32 – 30 July 2018

The Finals Day – 31 July 2018

It was great to see the diversity of players all there to support the charity: from the very young, to the very old, able-bodied and disabled, men and women, unknown and legends.

And finally a special mention for young Ben Mertens, from Belgium. Ben is only 13 and he qualified for the pro stages in both half of the draw. He reached the last 32.


Exhibitions and Charity reminder …

Jimmy and Dennis Lincoln Jan 2019

I know that Christmas is still very far away, but be sure to put this one in your agenda. Remember surplus proceed to World Disability Billiard and Snooker. You can have fun and help others in need, isn’t that great?

Just a little reminder of what happened the last times similar events were run in Lincoln!

Ronnie had a “sandwich” …

And there was a great Q&A session too

Images taken at the events last February can be found here and here.

This time it will be Jimmy White and Dennis. Come along!

The Pink Ribbon 2017 …


Those who follow my Facebook page know where I have been last week: in Gloucester, where once again the South West Snooker Academy hosted the Pink Ribbon Charity pro-am, aiming at supporting the fight against breast cancer.

Here is what was posted on the South West Snooker Academy Facebook page:

Congratulations to Gloucester very own Robert Milkins (£1400) who defeated Rob James (£600) in this years Pink Ribbon Final 4-2

Rob James played incredible snooker all week playing double matches each day. He lost in the last 16 (£100) also… he also collected the award for the best performing amateur worth £200

This year was another successful event with 255 entries.

The total sum of £9000 was raised for the Breast Cancer NOW foundation. Local organisation – Charlie’s of Gloucester were presented with £300 from players donations throughout the event

The event as always rely on people donating their time & services to make the event run smoothly…

Clive Brown & Haydon Parry have been running the event from the very first year & are unsung heroes who apply their knowledge of TD the Pink Ribbon to the very best!

Monique Limbos has photographed some amazing snooker shots and all the players & SWSA are so thankful to be able to see & use perfect photos for the history books!

Peters Pies have once again donated their lovely pastry products once free of charge throughout the event meaning that 100% of all sales have been Donated to charity… Thanks to Huw & the team for arranging this.

To all the staff, friends, family who have helped Andrew at SWSA … thank you !

Paul Mount & Andrew Norman would like to thank all the Players, refs, families, coaches and snooker fans for support the event ❤️

See you all next year!

It was a great event as usual, played in fantastic spirit. There were less top players entering than a few years back and this is probably linked to the early start of the season. Robert Milkins, this year Pink Ribbon Champion admitted that coming to play in this event right on the back of a week’s qualifiers in Preston wasn’t easy. But the quality of the field was excellent nonetheless, and, in particular, the runner-up, Rob James spoiled us with a series of  high quality performances. But he wasn’t the only one, far from it.

Here is a more detailed report, with results from the last day, by Michael Day on his cue view blog.

I have been in SWSA countless times, for the Pink Ribbon, for PTCs, for WDBS events and yet I had never visited Gloucester. I did put that right this time and here are the photos I took as I strolled through the city

As for the snooker, all the images are on my Facebook page

Day 1 – Amateurs rounds

Day 2 – Amateurs rounds

Day 3 – last 64 and last 32 – pros and amateurs

Day 4 – Last 16 >>> the Final – pros and amateurs


In the news in China today …

This article has been published today in the Chinese media

Snooker superstars donate to Chinese welfare

By Chen Boyuan, October 21, 2016


Ronnie O’Sullivan confirms his attendance in the snooker International Championship 2016 on Oct. 20, 2016 in Beijing. [Photo by Chen Boyuan /]

International snooker superstars, including Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and Stephen Maguire, alongside top local players Liang Wenbo and Marco Fu, donated billiards facilities to an art school for Tibetan orphans in the suburb of Beijing on Thursday.

The donation from these elite players supports the effort to promote billiards-related social welfare in China under the plan of a newly established Billiards Fund program operated under the prestigious China Soong Ching Ling Foundation (CSCLF).

English snooker player O’Sullivan donated three million yuan (US$444,868) to the fund which is jointly initiated by China Television Sports and Entertainment Company (CTSE), which operates China Central Television’s CCTV 5 sports channel and Guoyu Media in the city of Daqing.

O’Sullivan encouraged Tibetan students to succeed in life despite their difficulties. He was later joined by Higgins, Maguire and Liang to stage exhibition matches for the students while teaching them basic snooker skills.

O’Sullivan also confirmed his participation in the upcoming snooker International Championship 2016, and took the chance to explain that his absence in the tournament last year was due to personal “fatigue issues,” adding that the China tournament was not the only one he skipped last year. He will also serve as a consultant to help with the tournament’s promotion, according to a statement.

The International Championship in China is one of the most prestigious world ranking events. It immediately became the richest snooker tournament ever staged outside the United Kingdom when it was introduced in 2012 with a top prize of 125,000 British pounds.

Judd Trump won the inaugural title in the city of Chengdu. Home favorite Ding Junhui then won it in 2013, followed by Ricky Walden in 2014. In 2015, the event moved to Daqing for the first time and was won by John Higgins.

Apart from the abovementioned players that made the charity trip, Trump, Neil Robertson, and the current world No. 1 Mark Selby, as well as over 10 Chinese players have confirmed their attendance for the tournament to be held in Daqing from Oct. 23 to 30.

Bad Boys Lunch …


Ronnie was at the Savoy yesterday, along with former footballer Paul Merson and former cyclist David Millar for the annual Bad Boys event. They talked about their careers and sporting experience.



It was also an opportunity to show support to prostate cancer charity.

Tour De France vet @millarmind,
ex-Arsenal hero @PaulMerse and Snooker legend @ronnieo147 at the #BadBoyslunch.
(tweet by prostate cancer UK)