Suzie's Diary: European Women's Masters, Belgium October 2018
Last weekend saw Belgium host the second event on the WLBS women's snooker calendar this season, the European Women's Masters, held at the De Maxx club in Neerpelt.
The De Maxx club is owned by Wendy Jans, 12 x EBSA European Ladies Champion, and the event also ran alongside the final stages of the professional D88.com European Masters men's tournament, meaning there was plenty of good snooker on show.
I drove to Belgium on the Thursday and the tournament kicked off on Friday morning, running through to the final held on Sunday afternoon.
The draw was released on the Thursday; in my group I faced Wendy Jans, India's Chitra Magimaraj, and Holland's Debbie Anthonissen. After narrowly losing to Wendy in the World Championships in Malta back in May, and having played Chitra on a number of occasions over the years, I knew it wouldn't be an easy group to qualify through.
The event saw a great turnout with a truly international field, Australia, Germany, Holland, India, Thailand, Hong Kong, UK, USA and Ireland were all represented.
First up I faced Debbie Anthonissen. I've not played Debbie before and so was looking forward to playing a new face. Debbie potted some good long balls in the first frame, but a bit of bad luck on her part (landing in the cluster of reds and conceding a number of foul and a miss points) meant I quickly established a lead. Taking my chances and potting frame ball red, I got my first frame on the board, followed by the second. Runs of 43 and 39 in the third frame set my tournament campaign off with a 3-0 win.
Next up I faced Wendy Jans. After our close game in Malta I was looking forward to this match and there was a bit of pressure on it as the loser would inevitably need to win their remaining match to qualify through the group.
The first frame was close after a school-girl error on my part - I left the white high on frame ball pink from the blue, resulting in a missed pink with the rest and a black ball game.
Fortunately for me Wendy missed a fairly straightforward black and left me a thin cut back to take the first frame.
The second frame was also close - I had a good opportunity on the last few reds but rattled a mid range last red on a run of 28. Fortunately a brown on the cushion came to my rescue - I only required the brown however a sloppy safety left Wendy a cut into the middle down to the black. A good safety on the black by Wendy left me a shot to nothing, however glued to the top rail I hit the long shot far too thick and left the black over the middle for Wendy, 1-1.
Wendy played well in the third frame and took early chances in the balls, which led her to a 2-1 win.
Following the loss to Wendy, I knew I had to beat Chitra Magimaraj on the Saturday morning to qualify through the group. I managed to win a fairly scrappy first frame and took the second frame on the brown. The third frame went down to the pink after Chitra placed a good snooker and I conceded a number of points to the miss rule. Fortunately a 3-0 win saw me qualify second in the group.
The last 16 was played on the Saturday evening and I faced my doubles partner Laura Evans. Despite playing together in the doubles for a few years, and both of us having played for a long while on the tour, we'd never actually played each other in a tournament until now!
I knew it would be a tough game - Laura is ranked at number 5 in the rankings and a very consistent player.
The first frame saw some good safety and we were evenly matched to the colours. I missed a fairly straightforward green, but was fortunate that Laura also felt a bit of pressure and missed a few chances, the second frame went similar and I took both on the pink.
A run of 38 at the start of the third frame and a few other chances saw me over the line, 3-0.
A Return to the Last 8
In the quarter finals I faced Bex Kenna, World number 3, Bex had played well at the last tournament in Leeds, knocking Reanne Evans out in the last 16.
Unfortunately my cue arm went a little under pressure and I was missing some easy balls however somehow managed to stay in the match. I had a chance to clear in the first but rattled a blue with the rest leaving Bex the frame. I had another chance to clear in the second frame from the last red, however an overhit yellow left me a tricky cut back on the green which rattled and left Bex taking the frame.
A 3-0 loss overall which left me to sample the Belgium beer instead!
Overall a consistent run to the quarter finals which see's me retain 7th spot in the rankings and gain a little ground on World No 6 Katrina Wan.
Reanne Evans won the event and notably On Yee Ng lost in the last 16 to upcoming Thai star Nutcharat Wongharuthai.
Chitra Magimaraj took the Seniors title and Emma Parker won the Under 21s, beating Nutcharat in the final.
Well done all and thanks to Wendy Jans for hosting the event, and organisers at WLBS for a great weekend, and thank you Billiards Boutique for the continued support.