Snooker: Opacic Reaches Quarter Finals at Ladies UK Championships
The LiteTask Women's UK Championships was held at the Northern Snooker Centre, in Leeds on 30th Sept and 1st Oct 2017.
The event was the second World Ladies Billiards and Snooker (WLBS) ranking event of the season, the first being the Paul Hunter Women's Classic in Germany in August.
For me, it was my first ranking event of the season, having missed the Paul Hunter Women's Classic, and therefore important I have a good run in order to retain my 8th ranking spot.
The tournament saw 27 entries with a largely UK based contingent, but also regulars from countries including Hong Kong, Germany and Ireland. The group stages took place on the Saturday, with 2 players already seeded to the Last 16 stages; World No.1 Reanne Evans, and World No.2, Ng On Yee.
My group saw me face England's Jenny Poulter (World No.13) and Claire Edgington (World No.22), and Hong Kong newcomer Pui Ying Mini Chu (World No.58).
The Northern Snooker Centre is a great venue with Star tables and quick cloths, which I'm not used to, and so it always takes me a little while to adjust. I love playing on these tables though and this makes the 5 hour drive to Leeds worthwhile. Unfortunately a lorry had overturned on the A34 on the Friday night, meaning sausages strewn over the carriageway and the road fully closed, which added to the usual journey time!
My first match against Jenny was a scrappy affair with both of us struggling to settle. Jenny took the first frame on the black, but I managed to find a bit of a rhythm and take the next 2 frames to secure a 2-1 win.
After a lengthy wait, I faced Pui Ying Mini Chu, and recorded a comfortable 3-0 win.
I knew I needed to secure a win over Claire to top my group, and after a close battle in the first frame, managed to take the next 2 frames fairly comfortably to record a 3-0 win. Claire is one of the upcoming junior players on the circuit and I was impressed by her game.
Last 16 Knockout Stage
The Last 16 draw was completed at around 6.30pm and matches went on shortly after. I faced London based Emma Parker, another young talent who became World Under 21 Champion in April.
Emma played some great safety play and took the first frame of the best of 5 on the black. I knew the winner of this match would face Reanne Evans in the quarters, and not wishing to miss the chance of a match against the World No.1 I dug deep in the next 2 frames to take a 2-1 lead. I struggled to find my flow in the balls during the match but a little run of 39 in the last frame was enough to see me over the line with a 3-1 win.
The quarter final draw saw 7 of the top 8 ranked players and therefore everything to play for in terms of ranking points, with everyone looking to retain and improve upon their ranking positions.
I drew the short straw facing World No.1 and 11 times World Ladies Champion Reanne Evans, but was keen for the challenge especially as it's been a little while since I had played Reanne. I also hold the claim to fame as her opponent when she recorded her highest tournament break of 140 - hopefully this time I wouldn't be picking quite so many balls out in a row!
Reanne and I played our best of 5 match on the Sunday morning. Whilst I had chances in the balls, I struggled to take them and Reanne didn't need many chances to take the first 2 frames comfortably. I could tell Reanne was on her B game but unfortunately I wasn't able to capitalise on this and some slack safety shots proved costly. The third frame was scrappy, and I had 2 chances to clear the colours and resurrect a comeback, however after I rattled the brown in the middle pocket Reanne quickly made amends, taking a 3-0 win.
Reanne proceeded to the final without dropping any frames, after a 3-0 win over Hong Kong's Katrina Wan that was assisted by an 80 break. Hong Kong rival Ng On Yee, the current World Champion, defeated Reanne 4-1 in the final, which sees the UK Women's Championship Trophy going abroad for the third time. Ng On Yee has previously won the title in 2013 and 2015.
Overall a good weekend with a quarter final finish which I hope will see me push up a place to 7th in the rankings. Big thanks to Billiards Boutique for the support, and now back to the practice table ready for the Women's Eden Masters which takes place at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester at the end of October!
Written by Suzie Opacic for Billiards Boutique.