Suzie's Diary: In Bruges at the Belgian Women's Open
Last weekend (Feb 1-3) saw the fifth event of the World Women's Snooker 2018/19 season, the Belgian Women's Open in Bruges.
It's the first time the Open has been held but the second time this season that the WWS tour headed to Belgium, after the European Masters was held in Neerpelt in October. The event was held at The Trickshot snooker club a short distance from the historic centre of Bruges. I was hoping to match or exceed my last result of the season, a semi final finish at the Eden Women's Masters in Gloucester before Christmas.
The journey should have been pretty hassle free - a 2.5 hour drive to Dover, a short ferry crossing then an hour drive to Bruges. Despite leaving on the Thursday at 8am I didn't arrive in Bruges until 9pm that evening after a bad accident on the M25 forced motorway closure, then 40 miles from Dover I got a puncture, meaning a wait for a breakdown vehicle to recover the car off the M20, change the spare wheel, then a quick pit stop in Maidestone to get a new tyre fitted.
Four missed ferries later, we managed to cross the Channel!
In similar escapades, World Number 3 Rebecca Kenna also faced a breakdown and U21s player Steph Daughtery had her flight cancelled due to snow, so the English girls definitely had their hiccups getting to the event.
The event attracted 24 entries including 8 of the ranking top 10 meaning 7 groups of 3-4 players. I was the seed in Group D and faced Nicole Derycke, who was a local to Bruges, on Friday morning.
A 3-0 win followed by a 3-0 win on Saturday morning against Germany's Dorothee Rap saw me into the last 16 as top of my group.
Other group winners included Nutcharat Wongharuthai (Thailand), England's Rebecca Kenna, Emma Parker and Laura Evans, plus Diana Schuler from Germany and Belgian Wendy Jans - no group stage surprises.
Into the Knockouts Again
The knock-out stages began on the Saturday afternoon and the draw was done with second place runner's up drawn against the group winners. I faced England's Steph Daughtery. Steph went 40 up in the first frame but a few good safeties leading to a couple of good chances saw me win the frame on the pink. Steph then won a close second frame. Little breaks of 32 and 29 saw me winning the third frame comfortably, and I managed to win the match 3-1.
The quarter final draw was also played on Saturday afternoon and looked incredibly strong, especially given some of the talented Asian ladies were missing from this tournament.
Ng On Yee faced Emma Parker, Nutcharat Wongharuthai faced Rebecca Kenna, Wendy Jans faced Laura Evans and once again I faced Reanne Evans.
My first frame against Reanne was fairly close, Reanne missed a frame ball brown but a sloppy safety shot gave her the frame. Reanne went 57 up in the second with a 47 break, with 59 points left on the table - I wasn't able to capitalise on a chance in the reds/black, 2-0. Reanne won the third comfortably after some great safety shots left me glued to the baulk rail and forcing errors in my safety game, a fairly rapid 3-0 loss.
In the other quarters, Wendy beat Laura on a deciding frame, Nutcharat beat Rebecca Kenna 3-1 and Ng On Yee beat Emma Parker 3-0. The semi finals saw 2 deciding frames, with Reanne beating Wendy and Ng On Yee beating Nutcharat.
The event was eventually won by Reanne Evans who overcame reigning world champion Ng On Yee to lift yet another title.
Sublime in the Sunshine
Given I went out in the quarters on the Saturday, I spent Sunday morning cycling around Bruges which was very pretty in the sunshine and along the cobbled streets and canals, before catching an early ferry home. The next Women's event is the Festival of Women's Snooker at the Northern Snooker Centre in April..
I'd like to extend my thanks to the hosts of The Trickshot - a great venue who were willing to do all they could for us. Thanks everyone for the best wishes and of course to Billiards Boutique.
Main image and image of Suzie in action are credit Matt Huart at WWS.