2022 British Open – Clive Everton Honoured

The season starts for good tomorrow with the invitational Mixed Doubles, and the ranking British Open will get underway on Monday. WPBSA/WST have decided to name the trophy after Clive Everton who recently announced his retirement. Here is the announcement:

British Open Trophy Named After Clive Everton

The trophy for next week’s Cazoo British Open has been named after Clive Everton, in honour of the legendary journalist and commentator who stepped down as editor of long-running magazine Snooker Scene this month.

The Cazoo British Open, televised by ITV, runs from September 26 to October 2 in Milton Keynes and the champion will lift the Clive Everton Trophy on the final night.

A former snooker and billiards player, Clive first commentated for the BBC in 1978 and went on to work for other broadcasters including ITV. His voice decorated many of the sport’s biggest moments for several decades.

In 1971, Clive took charge of the magazine Billiards and Snooker, and the following year it became Snooker Scene. He remained as editor for the next 50 years, one of the longest stewardships of any sports publication worldwide.

Snooker Scene played a crucial role in the politics of snooker as Clive scrutinised the action and decisions of the sport’s governing body. He played a vital role in the transition of power which led to Matchroom Sport and Barry Hearn taking the reigns of the WPBSA and WST in 2010.

Clive, age 85, has been widely recognised throughout the media world as an outstanding journalist and commentator. He was inducted into the Snooker Hall of Fame in 2017 and awarded an MBE in 2019.

WST Chairman Steve Dawson said: “We felt that naming the British Open Trophy after Clive was a fitting tribute to him in the same month that he has retired from snooker journalism after more than 50 years. He has made an outstanding contribution to our sport and we will reflect on that each year when the Clive Everton Trophy is lifted. We wish him every happiness in his retirement.

This is indeed a well deserved recognition for an entire life devoted to support and promote the game we love. It would be great if Clive could be there in person to present the trophy in about 10 days from now.

David Hendon reflects on the importance of the Mixed Doubles for the Women’s game

This week-end, after weeks without professional snooker, we will welcome the 2022 Mixed Doubles. The event is on ITV main channel. Of course this isn’t available outside the UK (unless you use a VPN). It will also be on the Eurosport player (outside UK).

The tournament features only 8 players and is played over only two days, but David Hendon reckons that it is a very important milestone when it comes to promoting women in snooker and, possibly, attracting more girls and women to the sport.

Here is what he wrote for the Eurosport website:


The exciting World Mixed Doubles will see snooker’s top four women paired with the top four men as Reanne Evans, Ng On Yee, Mink Nutcharut and Rebecca Kenna receive equal billing with Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, Neil Robertson and Mark Selby, In his latest column, David Hendon says the event will underline that the sport is open for all and inspire the next generation of female players.


This week’s World Mixed Doubles is the biggest showcase women’s snooker has ever had.

The game’s leading four female players have been paired with the world’s top four ranked professionals for the two-day event in Milton Keynes, which starts on Saturday.

This is an opportunity to show a different side of snooker at a time when women’s sport has arguably never been more popular. Indeed, the MK Dons stadium which forms part of the Marshall Arena complex hosted several games in the recent European Championship won so memorably by the Lionesses of England.

Well used to big tournaments, it’s one small step for the men. But it’s a giant leap for women’s snooker as Reanne Evans, Ng On Yee, Mink Nutcharut and Rebecca Kenna enjoy equal billing with Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, Neil Robertson and Mark Selby, who between them have won 105 ranking titles.

Evans is the most successful female player in history. She won her first world title at the age of 19 in 2005, the start of a remarkable run of 10 consecutive victories in the tournament. Evans has since won two more world titles and 59 ranking events in total.

In the 2013 Wuxi Classic, she became the first woman to qualify for the final stages of a ranking event on the pro tour. She beat Robin Hull in the 2017 World Championship qualifiers, ran Shaun Murphy to a decider in the 2019 Champion of Champions and came close to beating Mark Allen, her former partner, in a somewhat rancorous match at last season’s British Open.

At the mixed doubles, Evans is drawn to play with O’Sullivan and this star pairing must start as title favourites, not least because they know each other well from several years of exhibitions, legends events and working together in the Eurosport studio.

Evans, who was awarded an MBE in 2020, has been a fine ambassador for snooker and women’s sport. In more recent times, though, her supremacy has been threatened by the emergence of two talents from Asia, Hong Kong’s On Yee and Mink of Thailand.

It was On Yee who broke the Evans stranglehold on the World Championship in 2015. She has since won the premier women’s title on a further two occasions.

Enthusiastic and vivacious, On Yee has a strong support network in Hong Kong, including former top 16 player David Roe and the coach Wayne Griffiths, son of the 1979 world champion Terry. She has practised with Marco Fu and recently defeated former world champion Ken Doherty in the British Open qualifiers.

On Yee is partnered with Trump, who said of her: “Each time I see her, she seems like she is improving. I think she is spearheading the women’s game at the moment and managing to get the wins against the men. It’s a brilliant draw for me.”

Mink, who has just joined the pro tour, enjoyed success last month when she beat Mitchell Mann to qualify for the Northern Ireland Open.

The 22 year-old is the only female player to have made a witnessed maximum break and underlined her growing potential by winning the world title earlier this year.

Her mother worked in a snooker club in Thailand and her father enjoyed playing as a hobby, so she grew up around the sport, first picking up a cue at the age of 10. She is sponsored by the Hi-End club in Bangkok, which hosted the 2019 World Championship.

Mink will partner Robertson in Milton Keynes. She is at least guaranteed a better time than at the 2020 Shootout when she travelled thousands of miles to play, broke off, and sat out a total clearance of 133 from Thor Chuan Leong, therefore playing just one shot in the whole event.

Kenna runs Cue Sports Yorkshire, an equipment and accessories shop in Keighley, and her back story sums up the power of sport to connect and inspire people.

She began playing because her father was a huge fan of the game. He took her to clubs and snooker became a thing they did together at weekends.

Kenna was a promising footballer but dislocated her shoulder at around the time her dad died. Unable to play football or any other physical sport, and wanting to honour her father, she entered a local snooker tournament. It didn’t go well but she felt she could improve so joined the women’s circuit at the relatively late age of 26.

She has made good progress and won the Hong Kong Masters in 2019. Last month she was runner-up in the US Open.

Kenna is paired with Selby, who recently invited her for practise sessions at the Atack club in Nuneaton.

I never saw any women playing snooker on TV growing up. If I’d have seen women playing in a mixed doubles event with the world’s top four as a five-year-old, I would have gone, ‘wow, I want to do that now,’” she said last week.

Kenna’s comment crystalises why this new event is important to snooker. Nobody is disputing the gulf in standard between the top male and female players, but this is missing the point. The mixed doubles has been introduced in part to change the way the sport is viewed from the outside.

The first women’s World Championship was staged in 1934 and competitions came and went until the ladies’ game went into abeyance in the 1970s just as the professional circuit began to thrive.

Thanks largely to the efforts of Mandy Fisher, now president of Women’s World Snooker, the women’s game came back to life in the early 1980s. It has since enjoyed moments of profile, notably when Allison Fisher reigned supreme by winning seven world titles between 1985 and 1994, and endured times of struggle.

Fisher partnered Steve Davis in previous iterations of the mixed doubles event, winning the pairs title at the 1991 World Masters, the World Championship later that year and again in 1993, when she made the first century on television by a woman.

Fisher and several other leading players headed to the USA in the 1990s to compete on the more lucrative 9-ball pool circuit. Women’s snooker suffered as a result but since being taken over by the WPBSA in 2015, their association has seen its membership rise from 38 players to 177 from 29 countries and this season will stage tournaments in the USA, Australia, Thailand, Belgium and the UK.

Last year, World Snooker Tour designated the women’s circuit a feeder tour for the professional ranks, with two tour cards available each year for the best female players.

This progressive decision has not found universal favour within the game, but makes commercial sense as snooker – like all sports – fights for airtime, relevance and credibility.

This week, Evans, On Yee, Mink and Kenna will enjoy equal status with four greats of the sport. In doing so they will demonstrate that snooker is open to all and hopefully inspire girls who thought the sport wasn’t for them to give it a try. 

As Evans said last week: “Last year when I played on TV, I had a message from a father saying his daughter had seen me and wanted to play snooker. She’d only thought there were female referees, not players. Hopefully now people will see that women can do it, and will do it.”

What Mandy Fisher did for snooker as an inclusive sport is often underestimated… and that’s an understatement. I’m certain that most fans don’t even know her name, let alone her face. But the truth is that she kept women snooker going, for over 35 years, mostly alone, against all odds, despite prejudices, hurdles and lack of resources.

The main tour is open to all, but at grassroots level, girls and women have often felt unwelcome. Even now, some clubs and some leagues don’t allow them to play. Even now, parents introducing their daughter to snooker are the exception, whilst most top players started as kids and were introduced to the game and/or supported by a family member.

Make no mistake, gender prejudices exist in many sports and boys can be at the wrong end of it too. When we were kids, my brother had a classmate who wanted to be a dancer. He was mocked at school, he was bullied. But he didn’t let go of his dream. He was supported by his family. He dared to go and speak to Maurice Béjart himself, who encouraged him to continue to work on his skills. He ended up making a career as lead dancer at the “Ballet du XXe siècle”.

Support and exposure are key.

The Coming Mixed Doubles Challenges As Seen By Reanne and Rebecca

Reanne Evans and Rebecca Kenna have shared their thoughts, expectations and emotions ahead of the coming Mixed Double event.

Rebecca, who has been practising with Mark Selby, spoke to WST:

Kenna Hopeful Primetime Slot Can Inspire Next Generation

Rebecca Kenna is hoping this month’s BetVictor World Mixed Doubles event in Milton Keynes can “inspire” a generation of young girls across the country to pick up a cue.

After a summer that saw England’s Lionesses roar, a historic first Tour de France Femmes click into gear and England’s hockey stars strike gold at the Commonwealth Games, snooker is ready to take centre stage.

For the first time, the four women on the World Snooker Tour will be playing live on ITV. The event also marks 40 years since the network broadcast the inaugural World Doubles Championship back in 1982.

It’s just so fantastic that it’s on the main ITV channel because I never saw any women playing snooker on TV growing up,” said Kenna. “If I’d have seen women playing in a mixed doubles event with the world’s top four, as a five-year-old, I would have gone, ‘wow, I want to do that now!’ It’s a great incentive to see us on there. Hopefully, it does inspire some young girls to become professional snooker players and get the chance to play alongside those greats on live TV.

There’s also going to be a great incentive to join the women’s tour and get into that top four. And you never know, it might grow to a top eight and top 16. The tour might grow hugely from this and get more sponsorship, more players, better quality. Everything can then go in the right direction.”

Kenna will partner four-time World Champion Mark Selby for the event, in what she described as a “perfect” duo. But it won’t be the first time she has played in a team. Born in Keighley, just outside of Bradford, Kenna regularly played at The Liberal Club as a young girl with her dad by her side. Now 33, she hopes to lean on these experiences.

My dad was actually a big fan of Mark Selby. He unfortunately passed away in 2015. So it would have been really nice for him to see this. But, I hope he’s watching somewhere,” she said.

We used to play at club level and we never got nervous playing. But when he played with me, he’d say, ‘I’m a bit nervous, I wanna play well for you.’ And I’d say, ‘just relax, there’s no point in being stressed about it.’ So there is no point putting pressure on yourself or anyone else because there are other pressures. People watching on TV, people watching at home and in the crowd. If you have any external pressures on your shot, you’re not going to play very well. You just need to relax and play your own game.

Kenna heads into the event with momentum. A run to the final at the recent US Women’s Open in Seattle saw the women’s world number four not drop a frame in six matches before coming unstuck in the final against Jamie Hunter, losing 4-1.

While Kenna admits she didn’t deserve anything other than finishing second in the final, she enjoyed the experience of playing Stateside.

I loved Seattle,” she said. “There was a really good quality stream, with a commentator. People watching could get involved and talk back to us, they even had some players on commentary. They did really well trying to advertise it over there and it grew some new interest. Hopefully, more clubs might start to put snooker tables in their areas and not just play pool. But it was a really good experience. I hope we can go back in the future.

Just over two weeks have passed since Kenna returned from across the pond. A quick scan of her internal to-do list and she remembers she needs to check in on her shop, Cue Sports Yorkshire. Amongst practising, securing another sponsor and picking up a new car, Kenna found the time to make the journey down the M1 to meet the Jester from Leicester himself.

For the tournament, the rules state each player will take alternate visits to the table, rather than alternate shots, and Kenna admits the tactical side of the game is something she and Selby have discussed.

We’re not going to overthink it with who’s following who,” said Kenna. “We’re just going to play our own game and hopefully do well. You’ve got to take your chances and play the right shots.

The four men are all legends. And obviously, we know that they can score so heavily. So it might be on my mind that I don’t want to leave anyone anything. I don’t want to give them a sniff, because that might be the end of the frame. So I’ll be trying to pick out the best shot to play. If I’m in, try score, and if there isn’t a shot on, try play the best safety I can.

Those first quotes by Bex are very significant. I have written this many times: snooker, like all sports, is a number game. Girls need to see women play on the big stages to be inspired. Exceptional talents are … exceptional. The chances to identify one in a small “population” – which “female snooker players” currently is – are extremely low. Get more girls to play, make them feel welcome and the standard will improve.

Reanne was interviewed WST as reported by Phil Haigh and admits to mixed emotions

‘Mixed emotions’ – Reanne Evans on partnering Ronnie O’Sullivan at World Mixed Doubles

Phil Haigh Thursday 15 Sep 2022

Ronnie O’Sullivan and Reanne Evans will be tough to beat at the World Mixed Doubles (Pictures: Getty)

Reanne Evans admits there were some mixed emotions when she was partnered with Ronnie O’Sullivan for the World Mixed Doubles as performing in front of the greatest player of all time brings some pressure with it.

The brand new tournament starts on 24 September and sees the top four male players in the world team with the top four female players, which has obviously produced some exciting pairings.

Judd Trump teams up with Ng On Yee, Neil Robertson is paired with Mink Nutcharut and Mark Selby partners Rebecca Kenna, but Ronnie and Reanne is undoubtedly the highest profile team.

Clearly Evans was delighted to be drawn alongside the current world champion and world number one, but she admits it does come with some pressure as well as she doesn’t want to let the Rocket down.

Mixed emotions,’ Evans told WST on being paired with O’Sullivan. ‘I was like, you’ve got the best player in the world, the best player ever to pick up a cue, in my eyes. But then you’ve also got to perform in front of him as well!

He’s a great guy and I’ve had the privilege to play with him and against him in Snooker Legends and exhibitions.

Hopefully it’ll make me a little bit more relaxed because I’ve been there and done it. Obviously not on TV in a proper match, but I’m looking forward to it and hopefully he is too.

Whoever Evans was paired with, the team element of snooker is very different to a normal match and it does pile the pressure on.

I used to play league competitions with a team, you’re not just playing for yourself, its a different mindset, a different pressure,’ she explained.

If I miss I’ve let myself down normally, but now I’ve let Ronnie down, let my team down It’s a mix of pressures and emotions. But I’m looking forward to it, it’s exciting and a really good format.

I’m just going to go out there and try and enjoy it as much as I can, then hopefully we can win the thing, but it’s a flip of a coin. Anyone can win it, so I’m just looking forward to it.’

Shaun Murphy’s ideas and why I disagree

Shaun Murphy is doing a podcast with MC Phil Seymour and in the last instalment he aired ideas … that, to say the least, I strongly disagree with (and I’m not the only one).

Here is what it’s about, as reported by Phil Haigh

Shaun Murphy wants change to ‘absolutely ridiculous’ World Snooker Championship format

Phil Haigh Tuesday 13 Sep 2022

Shaun Murphy believes the World Snooker Championship format is ‘absolutely ridiculous’ as he feels that the top 16 in the rankings beginning at the last 32 stage ‘doesn’t make sense’.

Before all the drama at the Crucible every year there is a rigorous qualification competition, to see which 16 players lower down the rankings will join the world’s top 16 on the sport’s most famous stage.

While some would argue that they have earned it, Murphy feels that it is far too big an advantage for the top 16, of which he is one.

Players near the bottom of the rankings need to win four matches just to make the Crucible and Murphy believes the advantage being given to the best players is akin to Usain Bolt starting races 15 metres in front of his rivals.

The 2005 world champ says it is almost scandalous and would have a flat draw for the sport’s biggest tournament.

‘If it were up to me the entire format of the World Championship would change,’ Murphy said on The onefourseven podcast. ‘The top 16 would NEVER start three or four rounds ahead of everyone else on tour.

I think it’s absolutely ridiculous, scandalous almost that the best players in the world start three rounds ahead of everyone else. I think it’s ridiculous and one of those very strange nuances in sport.

Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, the equivalent is saying: “Usain, we know you’re the quickest so you can start 15 metres ahead of everyone else.” Doesn’t make any sense to me at all.’

While he was in the mood for changing things on the World Snooker Tour, the Magician also reckons the Masters should be a ranking event.

While the top 16 play in the London competition, his argument is that it is not invitational, anyone on tour can win their way into the top 16 so prize money should count on the world rankings, which is not currently the case.

The one thing I would change to the Masters tomorrow, because it’s done on the rankings and in my opinion, certainly over the two-year ranking list people have the same opportunities to be in it,’ said the 40-year-old.

If it were up to me all events would count on the money list. That would be the only think I would change about the Masters.

I think it’s very, very strange that what has widely become acknowledged as our second biggest tournament in the game doesn’t count. I think that’s a weird one and I don’t subscribe to the arguments against that.’

Let us first dispatch the thing about the Masters. Murphy himself says “certainly over the two-year ranking list people have the same opportunities to be in it“. What about those in their first year then? Did he forget they exist? They would obviously be put at a disadvantage, wouldn’t they? Contrary to the “Series” events, for which qualification is based on the one year list, qualification for the Masters is based on the lat 2 years and therefore it can’t and shouldn’t be ranking. It’s that simple.

Now about the World Championship … for me, most events should be played in this tiered format, rather in the current dominant flat draw format, provided that

  1. They are played right before the main event
  2. They are played at the same location, and preferably at the same quality venue as the main event, with spectators.
  3. They get the same media coverage as the main event with quality broadcasting and media on site

These are the reasons behind my opinion

The gap between amateurs and pros has widened in recent years. It’s plain for all to see. There are many reasons for that, but that’s not the object of this post. The young pros coming on the tour need more matches, and more winnable first round matches to help their development. The current flat draw is far too brutal. It is soul destroying. It offers no path for development.

They also need to “sample” the atmosphere of the big events. This is why those qualifying rounds should be played at the main venue, with full media coverage.

They need to be played right before the main events. Currently, players beaten in the qualifiers may have weeks without anything to play in. This season there will be players who may have only the shoot-out to play in between mid January 2023 and the World qualifiers early April. That’s not going to help their development and it’s soul destroying. Those players will arrive at the World qualifiers without any “match sharpness”. It’s simply not right. It’s totally counterproductive.

And, finally, but importantly, the tiered format ensures that less players are on zero prize money. To be precise, it would be 32 players in that situation instead of 64. Even with the guaranteed prize money this season, it’s important. It’s important because it’s money they actually won, which matters psychologically, and it’s ranking points.

Would it offer “protection” to the top players? Not really. They will come cold into the latter stages against players who will have at least one match under their belt with money and ranking points already guaranteed. Yes, financially, they will be protected, but not in terms of ranking points. So unless they win, that “protection” won’t last.

The comparison with Usain Bold doesn’t hold. Giving him 15 meters head start would “translate” into giving the snooker top player a one or two frames advantage at the start of a match. BTW, as far as I know, in most track and field competitions even top athletes go through some qualifying rounds.

There… persiste et signe … as we would say in French.

Snooker News and Talking Points – 10 September 2022

WST has published the draw and format for the 2022 Hong Kong Masters

Here is the announcement:

Hong Kong Masters Draw And Format

The draw and format for next month’s Hong Kong Masters is now available.

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

Six of snooker’s greatest players – as well as the two local favourites – will compete. World Snooker Tour and Hong Kong Billiard Sports Control Council (HKBSCC) recently announced that the tournament would be staged for the first time since 2017 and would be held at the Hong Kong Coliseum venue for four days from October 6th to 9th.

Tickets are on sale now and certain ticket types have already sold out. For details follow the official website of the tournament: www.snookermasters.hk

Prize money:

Winner: £100,000
Runner-up: £45,000
Semi-finals: £35,000
Quarter-finals: £22,500
High break: £10,000

This tournament is under exclusive sponsorship of The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC), as one of the many initiatives supported by the HKJC’s approved donation of HK$630 million to the Government of the HKSAR to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR. The Hong Kong Jockey Club is resolute in pursuing its purpose of acting continuously for the betterment of society, all in support of creating stronger communities together.

Talking point: the guaranteed £20000 prize money

Although generally well received, that initiative by WPBSA/WST has triggered some discussions.

David Caulfield (SnookerHQ) has been listening to the players reactions and analysed the pro and cons. You can read his article here.

He mentions an important element I was not aware of:

An important stipulation is in place that requires participation in every ranking event of the 2022/23 campaign, barring exceptional circumstances.

The possible pitfalls mentioned by Mark Allen and David are indeed potentially problematic. Of course players enter the tour with ambitions to succeed as professionals and, in this respect, prize money duly earned by winning matches will remain all important when it comes to ranking and tour survival. With this in mind they should have all the needed motivation to try and win. But what about a player in their second year of their tour card who knows that, realistically, they have no chance whatsoever to finish the season in the top 64 or to qualify for the Crucible. Then it could be tempting to just let go… or worse.

The simple truth though is that WST probably can’t afford the cost of the initiative plus giving away the full prize money on top of it.

My view on this is simple: there should be a “success threshold”: barring exceptional circumstances, players over 20 who haven’t won at least x matches – x to be defined – over their 2 years spell should NOT be allowed to enter the Q-School for the next two years. I know that this will be controversial BUT consider the following: why do we see so few rookies coming out of Q-School? For me an important factor is that players who just dropped off the tour are used to the conditions and environment and that’s a massive advantage. The “just let go factor” could be minimised if players know that they may not get the opportunity to immediately re-qualify unless they continue to try their best.

There is also the issue of the invitational tour cards, the women’s “development” tour cards, and to an extend the regional nominations.

There have been numerous fans on social media citing Jimmy White and Reanne Evans as players who might stay on tour for a long time without needing to go through the regular qualifying process and might therefore benefit from the initiative for many years without actually ever reaching the required level of excellence.

Regarding Jimmy, my views are simple: he tries very hard, at 60 he still wins a few AND he still puts bums on seats. Jimmy still has high commercial pulling power, the fans love him. Giving Jimmy a tour card still is a valuable commercial investment.

Regarding Reanne, people assume that she will stay at the top of the women’s game for many more years. I’m not that sure. Time will tell. If the women’s tour manages to expand and attract more girls – from Asia in particular – things could change rapidly.

2022 Northern Ireland Open Main Event – Draw an Format

WST has published the draw and format for the 2022 Northern Ireland Open (main event) to be played in Belfast next month

Friday 2 Sep 2022 03:28PM

World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, defending champion and local favourite Mark Allen, Judd Trump, Mark Selby and Neil Robertson are among the snooker kings set to play on the first day of the BetVictor Northern Ireland Open in Belfast on Sunday October 16th.

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

The tournament at the fantastic Waterfront Hall runs from October 16 to 23. It’s the first of the season’s BetVictor Home Nations Series, with the winner to receive the Alex Higgins Trophy. Antrim’s Allen won the title for the first time last year when he beat John Higgins 9-8 in a dramatic final.

The event will be televised by Eurosport and a range of other broadcasters worldwide. All of the world’s top 16 are among a line up of over 70 players. Matches on the opening day include:

Kyren Wilson v Ken Doherty (10am)

Judd Trump v Rod Lawler (1pm)

Mark Selby v Reanne Evans (afternoon session)

Neil Robertson v Fraser Patrick (afternoon session)

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Lukas Kleckers (7pm)

Mark Allen v Chang Bingyu (not before 8pm) 

Local talent Joe Connolly, age 14 from Belfast, has been handed a wild card place in the event and he’ll be up against 18-year-old Robbie McGuigan, the Northern Ireland amateur champion. That match takes place on the Sunday afternoon.

I only “scanned” through the draw quickly but one last 64 match in particular caught my attention: Ding Junhui v Micael White.