Suzie's Diary: Eden Women's Masters 2018
Last weekend saw the Eden Women's Masters return to the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester, with Reanne Evans hoping for a record fourth Eden Women’s Masters title since the event was first held in 2013.
The Masters is the fourth event of the 2018/19 World Women's Snooker tour season and the final competition of the calendar year, with side events also being run including the Under 21s, Seniors and Challenge Cup.
The weekend was slightly unusual in that due an IBSF event taking place in Myanmar, a number of the Asian players were not contending meaning the field was quite open, with the likes of World Champion Ng On Yee and world number 5 Katrina Wan, recent finalist at the Women's Australian Open, being absent respectfully.
The event saw 21 entries including a number of new faces again - it's promising for the ladies game that at every event we are now seeing a number of new players.
The top 2 seeds, world number 2 Reanne Evans and world number 3 Rebecca Kenna, were drawn into the last 16.
I was number 5 seed being drawn into Group C alongside Sharon Kaur and Claire Edginton. I played Sharon first and despite a good warm up on the practice table knocking in a couple of centuries on routines, couldn't seem to find a rhythm. Sharon took her chances and a few unforgivable misses cost me in the first frame. I took the second, leading to a decider. The frame was scrappy and a misplaced safety shot on the final pink left Sharon a chance that she took to win the match 2-1. Not the start I'd hoped for as I now had pressure to win my last match to achieve second place in the group.
First place group finishers have the advantage that they can only be drawn against the group two finishers in the last 16, meaning if I qualified I'd likely face a seed.
I played Claire Edginton next. I took the first frame and a run of 38 gave me a lead in the second. Claire played some decent safety and some good pots on the final colours brought the match down to the final black.
Claire was very unfortunate to rattle a black of the spot and leave it hanging over the bag, allowing me to take a 2-0 lead. I took the final frame for a 3-0 win and secure second spot/qualification through the group.
First place finishers in the groups included world number 4 Maria Catalano, cousin of Ronnie O'Sullivan, World number 6 Laura Evans, and world number 10 Emma Parker, neither of whom dropped frames in the group stages. The first place finishers were drawn randomly against the second place finishers for the last 16 - I drew Maria Catalano.
Maria and I have played on the circuit together for a number of years and our matches have normally resulted in either her whitewashing me or vice versa!
Both of us missed a few sitters in the first frame, I managed to take a 1-0 lead on the pink. I took a small lead in the second but some well placed snookers from Maria saw her go ahead on the colours. All the colours were open and I potted a long green but failed to get position on the brown. I was able to capitalise on a snooker and after a long battle on the blue I managed to take a 2-0 lead.
I plugged away at small chances in the third frame and on potting the final red Maria conceded after requiring snookers. Neither of us set the world on fire in that match and Maria wasn't on her game, but I was pleased to get into the quarter finals knowing what a quality player Maria is.
Top 2 seeds Reanne Evans and Rebecca Kenna eased into the quarter finals with 3-0 wins, and Emma Parker defeated Laura Evans in a very close match that went to a decider.
I faced Aimee Benn in the quarters - Aimee hadn't dropped a frame all tournament following wins over Jackie Ellis, Elizabeth Black, and Connie Stephens. I took my chances and managed a 3-0 win over Aimee, into the semi finals where I was to face world number 3 Rebecca Kenna.
I'd lost to Rebecca in the quarter finals of the last event, the European Women's Masters in Belgium, and knew that if I could win this match I would be into my first ranking event final.
Rebecca left me a chance to clear from the last red in the first frame. I potted to the frame ball brown but missed the blue, with Rebecca requiring a snooker. After a nervous few shots as Rebecca attempted to lay snookers, I slotted in a long blue to take a 1-0 lead. Rebecca took the second frame fairly comfortably and the third was a cagey affair.
We were both rattling plenty of balls on what seemed to be an exceptionally tight Star match table - whilst I'm getting used to playing on quicker, tighter tables, I was losing confidence a little.
Rebecca won the third frame on the pink to go 2-1 up, before taking the fourth frame on a black ball. Rebecca took more chances than me in the fifth frame however rattled the yellow to leave me a chance to clear.
I played some good pressure pots to leave myself the pink for the frame. Opting to play it confidently and stun it in proved to be a mistake and I rattled the pink.
Fortunately it ran save but a misjudged safety and missed attempt at a long black cost me the match, 4-1 loss.
I was pleased to get to the semi finals but despite the 4-1 scoreline knew the match had been a lot closer so it was a disappointing defeat.
Reanne Evans went on to take her 4th Masters title, beating Rebecca 4-0 in the final. The weekend surprisingly saw no high breaks, compared to last year when Reanne knocked in a 139.
At the previous Women's event this season, the Australian Women's Open, the weekend had seen 6 centuries plus breaks of 137 and 138 from Reanne and Ng On Yee.
The Women's calendar for next year is a little vague, rumours are potentially another trip to Europe in February, and the Women's World Championships has been confirmed as taking place in Dubai in March, followed by the long standing Women's Festival of Snooker at Leeds in April.
In the meantime, I wish everyone a great Christmas and I will get back to the practice table!