Opacic Reaches Eden Masters Quarter Final in Gloucester
Last weekend the Eden Women's Masters was staged at the South West Snooker Academy (SWSA) in Gloucester.
The event was my second WLBS tournament of the season, and since signing a sponsorship deal with Billiards Boutique. I'd not played at Gloucester before but had heard a lot about SWSA and they boast good quality Star tables.
After a quarter final defeat to World No1 Reanne Evans in the UK Championships in Leeds in September, I was keen to target a semi final position in Gloucester. Leeds saw me progress from 8th to 7th in the rankings - the highest position I've ever reached is 5th and it would be great to target that again with a few good results this season, although the standard has definitely improved in the last few years which is a great sign for ladies snooker.
The event attracted 23 entries, with World No1 Reanne Evans and World No2 Ng On Yee being seeded through to the last 16. There were plenty of familiar entries but also a few familiar faces missing, including Hong Kong's World No11 Jaique Ip Wan In and World No12 So Man Yan not in attendance.
The group stages saw 7 groups of 3 players. I faced Pui Ying Mini Chu from Hong Kong first. Mini is a relative newcomer however I also played her in the group stages in Leeds. I recorded a 3-0 win over Mini despite an unsettling first frame - on her second shot Mini potted the white ball off a safety shot. After it was sunk, I picked the white ball out of the ball runner and the referee called a foul 7 on me. A rule I'd never heard of or been called up on before, but one that was later confirmed was not a foul. Nonetheless, that frame went down to the blue so I was glad that didn't cost me! I took the second frame fairly comfortably however Mini played some good safety, and a little 38 clearance saw me over the line in the third frame.
I then faced Jodie Allen who is ranked No18. I struggled to get going a little in this match and missed a few easy balls, however Jodie played well and I was fortunate to win the first frame on the pink. The second frame was close, and a missed blue trying to stun for the pink on the final colours cost me, with Jodie taking it to 1-1. I missed some easy balls in the decider and Jodie played some good snooker to take advantage and win the match 2-1. This was a disappointing game however I was fortunate that I managed to top the group still because Jodie had previously lost to Mini.
Into the Knockout Stages
After struggling in my last group match, I quickly got back on the practice table to get my cueing going ready for my last 16 match. I faced Jenny Poulter, World No10. Jenny and I last met in the group stages in Leeds where I recorded a 2-1 win. I won the first 2 frames confidently and my cueing was back on track, however I seemed to lose concentration in the third frame slightly and missed a few balls, with Jenny taking advantage to take the match to 2-1. Meanwhile, on the table next to us, Reanne Evans had just compiled a fantastic 139 total clearance. I won the next frame to beat Jenny 3-1 and secure my spot in the quarter finals.
Drawn Against Reanne Evans - Again!
After drawing Reanne in the quarter finals in Leeds the month prior, I was slightly disappointed to draw Reanne again in the quarters this time round! Reanne beat me 3-0 in Leeds and after seeing the 139 break she compiled in the last 16 I knew she was likely to be cueing well!
The Sunday morning saw the quarter finals kick off, with all the usual faces - 7 of the top 8 in the rankings. Ronnie O'Sullivan's cousin Maria Catalano (No3) faced Hong Kong's Katrina Wan (No6), World No4 Laura Evans faced World No5 Rebecca Kenna, and young Leeds player Shannon Metcalf faced current World Champion Ng On Yee.
Reanne took the first frame on the brown, and won the second frame comfortably. I tried to keep the third frame tight in a bid to keep Reanne out of the balls. Fortunately this seemed to bog her down slightly, and a little 32 break gave me a small lead on the final reds. Reanne rattled the yellow and I was able to clear the colours to take the third frame. Whilst Reanne didn't make any breaks in the fourth frame, consistent scoring in the balls gave her a fairly comfortable win in that frame to leave the final score at 3-1.
I was pleased to take a frame however it did highlight that I need to try to practice more on tighter, faster tables as opposed to the club cut pockets I'm used to! The event will see me retain my 7th spot in the rankings.
Current World Champion Ng On Yee was the eventual tournament winner, defeating Reanne 4-3 in the final. The ladies tour now has a little break until February, so back to the practice table for me - thanks once again to Billiards Boutique for supporting me for this event!