Standard of Women's Snooker Continues to Grow
The World Women's Snooker Tour made its first ever trip to Australia at the weekend and despite the travelling it was a tournament that still featured the top two ranked players in the world.
Many of the European based players could not make the trip due to work commitments and the cost of travelling that far around the globe.
It was World Number 1, Ng On Yee who won the tournament, her second ranking event title of the season.
But it was the overall standard of the players that I want to talk about as it keeps improving event by event, which can only be a positive thing for ladies snooker.
Of the 24 players that took part 3 of them compiled at least one century break during the tournament. That is the first time that 3 players have managed a century in the same tournament this season.
In comparison to the men's game it falls short by some distance but we should not be comparing a tour in its infancy with something that has been established for many years.
The three players were Ng On Yee, Reanne Evans and Thai youngster Nutcharut Wongharuthai.
Nutcharut Wongharuthai made a break of 115 but this was eclipsed by Evans who managed a fantastic 137 break only to see On Yee compile a magnificent 139, stealing the top break prize in the process.
In total there were six centuries and a further four breaks over 85. The majority shared between Reanne Evans and Ng On Yee.
As one would probably expect the latter stages of the tournament are where the closer matches occur.
In the group stages the ladies play a best of 3 frame match with all three frames played, this results in a lot of 3-0 scorelines in the early rounds, with a few 2-1 results.
Into the knockout stages and the matches become best of five frame affairs. In the last 16 all matches bar three finished as a 3-0 win. The other three were very close 3-2 victories.
Even in the quarter finals only one of the four losing players managed to get a frame on the board and that was Jessica Woods in her 3-1 loss to Katrina Wan.
It is the semi-final matches where the standard is really starting to increase with any of the four players capable of winning the title. This competition at the business end of tournaments will only help to improve these ladies even further.
With Maria Catalano and Rebecca Kenna not travelling you now have potentially six ladies that can now win ranking titles, the bar is currently set though by On Yee and Evans who continue to be the players to beat.
Both semi-finals were close with Ng On Yee beating Nutcharut Wongharuthai 4-2 and a delighted Katrina Wan getting her first win over 11-time world champion Reanne Evans 4-2 to set up an all Hong Kong final.
In the final, as we know, Ng On Yee defeated Wan 4-2 to lift the title.
Funding is currently a problem for the women's game and in order to continue its growth there probably needs to be some further investment in infrastructure and prize money.
However, there are a lot of talented players now competing on the circuit whom all have the ability to win tournaments.
These ladies will continue to push each other meaning that practice becomes more and more important. With increased quality practice then the current crop of players really have the opportunity to elevate the stature of the women's game.
I for one want to see it morph into a truly professional circuit where these ladies can get the rewards they deserve for dedicating the hours that they do.
The next event, The Eden Women's Masters, takes place at the end of November in Gloucester where the majority of the European based players will be competing once again.