Reflections on Malta

Reflections on Malta

Suzie Opacic WSF Malta TV Table

The biggest event in the ladies snooker calendar, the Women's World Championships took place this week at the Dolmen Hotel, Malta.

The event is staged as part of the inaugural World Snooker Federation Championships, which also consists of the WSF Championship and the WSF Seniors Championship.

The WLBS Women's Championship runs alongside the WSF Seniors Championship, with the WSF Championship taking place this week.

The winner of the WLBS World Women’s Championship received €6,000 and will qualify to enter the 2018 World Snooker Championship, so lots to play for!

The Draw

The draw was released a few days before the event, and I knew I had a tough group that would likely entail close matches. I was expecting to be 6th seed in the group stages however a decision to seed 7x IBSF World Women's Champion Wendy Jans of Belgium into the groups meant I was disappointingly not a seeded player. My group comprised Wendy Jans, Hong Kong's Jaique Ip Wan In, and Polish player Ewelina Pislewska.

Match 1 vs Jaique Ip Wan In

My first match was against Jaique and having played Jaique a number of times before I knew it was likely to be a close affair. The match was played on the main 'TV' table, with full camera set up providing internet live stream and broadcast to a Malta channel, my first time playing with cameras so an interesting experience, it took a while to make sure I didn't keep standing in front of the cameras! I also found out after there was a Maltese commentator, I would be interested to know what was being said about certain shots!

I started off positively and took the first 2 frames. I tried to keep the next frame tight with the winning line in sight but unfortunately a few easy misses at crucial times cost me, with Jaique capitalising, 2-1.

The fourth frame went to a tense finish. After potting a straight forward blue I had a mid range pink that I'd struggle to hold for the black that was on the cushion near the green pocket. I potted a good pink but left myself a difficult cut on the black, cueing off the cushion. The temptation of being one pot away from victory, and no 100% gauranteed safety meant I had to go for it. Missed - luckily it ran safe but gave Jaique the upper hand on the safety.

Struggling to adjust to the speed of Star tables, I overhit a safety shot by 2 foot leaving the black over the bottom corner and the white near the middle pocket, 2-2. I still felt confident of a win in the decider however a well constructed 50 break by Jaique off a fluked red saw me on the back foot. I had a chance at 65 down with 67 on, but a jawed red into the middle saw Jaique clinch victory.

Match 2 vs Ewelina Pislewska

I knew I had to at least win my next 2 matches to qualify through the groups. Despite never really getting into my stride, a fairly comfortable 3-1 win over Ewelina Pislewska gave me a bit of confidence and I was up for the challenge against Wendy Jans.

Match 3 vs Wendy Jans, a Chance to Qualify

Again, a confident start against Wendy saw me take the first frame on the blue. I took my chances in the second and kept it tight, and could see the frustration creeping into my opponent. A mid range cut back on the pink put me 2-0 in front. 

Again, with the winning line in sight I wanted to keep the next frame tight, however Wendy found her stride and constructed a superb 110 clearance, 2-1.

The fourth frame was close, and a tricky long pot on the blue would see me take a 3-1 victory. I cued it well and thought it was in - unfortunately it hit the jaws and Wendy took the frame on the pink, 2-2. The decider saw a few missed pressure pots as both of us saw the winning line. I needed green, brown and blue on the colours to secure victory. A mishit safety gave Wendy a long pot on the green and she cleared to win the match.

Overall Thoughts

I finished 3rd in the group which was very disappointing knowing I was 2 balls away from topping the group, slim margins in this game! But I can take the positives - I competed well against Wendy who was one of the tournament favourites and was 1 ball away from victory. Knowing I can compete against the best will give me confidence for the next tournament, the Festival of Women's Snooker in Leeds next month, comprising 6 reds, 10 reds and doubles tournaments. I had some good results in Leeds last season so hope to finish a mediocre season off with some good results!

Would like to thank Billiards Boutique for the support in Malta and this season!

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