There has been a lot of media attention surrounding ten-time ladies world champion Reanne Evans this past week.
The Englishwoman received an invitation to compete in the men’s edition of the World Championship but narrowly lost 10-8 to 1997 champion Ken Doherty in the opening round of qualifiers in Ponds Forge.
Evans lost but by no means disgraced herself, indeed produced competitive snooker that did her and the women’s game proud.
Since then there have been calls from various circles for the 29 year-old to be given a season-long wildcard onto the Main Tour for next season – a position she previously held during the 2010-11 campaign.
However, Evans failed to win any of her 18 matches during that stint and immediately dropped off the circuit.
World Snooker supremo Barry Hearn has already ruled out the granting of another discretionary place, stating on Twitter that “Q school beckons. No special rules.”
“She has had a card before and lost it. Level playing field for everyone – it’s the only way.”
While many seem to feel aggrieved by this as an unjust move, in reality it’s actually probably the correct decision.
Evans and the ladies game obviously deserve support and recognition, but what good would granting Evans a hand-me-down place on the Main Tour really do?
Yes, Evans would gain some exposure initially which would, in-turn, potentially inspire young female cueists to take up the sport on a more regular basis.
But what if the mother-of-one endured another season like her first alongside the men? – failing to win a single encounter is not the advertisement that anybody is looking for.
Surely, people should not be asking why Hearn et al are refusing to support Evans’ desire to compete more regularly with the men, but why there is not increased backing for a properly structure ladies tour of their own right.
The world champion to be crowned at the Crucible in just over three weeks will get a whopping £300,000; Evans received less than a thousand pounds for winning the last of her ten titles.
It’s a disastrous scenario that someone of Evans’ talent cannot earn a proper living in the sport she loves to compete in.
Sustaining a credible ladies tour, acquiring sponsorship, creating tournaments, increasing prize money and generating overall competition is the genuine way forward for women’s snooker.
It would be a long process but it would be much more productive to start there than to provide Evans – just a single woman out of many who play the game, remember – with a second wildcard.
Reanne Evans should not get a wildcard, but why not give the Women’s World Champion a place on the tour? Evans would almost certainly get the first spot, but for the second year, it gives a great incentive for the top women in the game to improve. It also might attract more entries, given that the low prize money makes it difficult to attract players from outside the UK.
“But what if the mother-of-one endured another season like her first alongside the men?”
But what if the African nominations endure seasons like those of Khalid Belaid Abumdas and Mohamed Khairy? What if the Oceania and Americas nomination keeps leading to seasons where players like Floyd Ziegler and Steve Mifsud never turning up?
Hearn talks about “no special rules” and a “level playing field for everyone”. In fact, for example the IBSF World Men’s Champion and the EBSA European Men’s Champion get tour card. Women have their seperated competition there, can’t enter the men’s events and thus can’t earn a tour card here. If that’s “level for everyone”, Hearn lost the plot!
There are tour cards for winners of men-only events, so the point with no “special rules” does not work. There must also be at least one tour card for a women-only event.
The continental champions (Europe, Asia, America, Oceania and Africa) and also the youth champions get tour cards in order to support their regions or youth level as part of a developement programme. Supporting the women’s level by giving the world champion a tour card is no difference to that, so it has nothing to do with a special rule whatsoever.
The fact is that a level playing field doesn’t exist at the moment and World Snooker needs to do more to achieve their idealistic targets!
Respectfully, Reanne’s results in other ‘open’ events (the 5 EPTCs she entered and the Snookerbacker Classic) don’t really support her being given a place on the tour.
Appreciate that Q School is a lottery (Ahmed Saif has spent the last 2 years proving that winning 5 best of 7 matches doesn’t in any way mean you will be competitive on the main tour) but the opportunity is there (Saif actually beat 5 very good players to get his card). That said is Reanne even entering QSchool (does she have the finance she would need to do a full year on the tour, as she was part of On-Q during her last crack at it).
no, she shouldn’t. I watched a bit of her match and I was bored to death by quality of both players. In Russian there is a good saying that perfectly describes that match and the statistics (she did not make a 50+ break in 18 frames! ) proves it s well: игра была равна, играла два говна. Snooker is the sport where the most talented female players should achieve the same results as men or at least be like the majority. Evidence can be seen in chess. In snooker they should not pay so much attention to this woman. If she is really talented, she should prove it by her game. Moreover, she uses too much of the subjunctive mood in her post match speech.