With a record 12 women’s world titles under her belt and a place on the World Snooker Tour, Reanne Evans has made more than her fair share of history in the game.
When she faces Barry Hawkins in the first round of the UK Championship, she will only add to that legacy. While she is still waiting for her first win of the season, she and fellow competitor Ng On-yee are set to feature in the televised stages of the tournament for the first time having joined the professional circuit after being offered two-year invitational tour cards in March.
Ahead of her match against Hawkins, Evans has spoken about her hopes for women’s sport across the board and her ambition to see “a lot more of us in the future.” In an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, she said: “We are in a good place at the moment and hopefully we can keep going forward with it.
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“At this moment in time we need to put our foot on the pedal and keep pushing and pushing to keep it that way, especially in snooker because it is not as big as tennis, darts or football.”
Evans reserved high praise for darts players Lisa Ashton and Fallon Sherrock, with the latter becoming the first woman to win a match at the PDC World Championship when she beat Ted Evetts in 2019. Sherrock was on the verge of becoming the first woman to reach the semi-finals of a major tournament at the Grand Slam of Darts last week, only to lose 16-13 in a tense quarter-final showdown with world number two Peter Wright.
“I have always followed women’s sport, be it football, darts or tennis,” said Evans. “I was a big fan of Lisa Ashton before Fallon came on the scene and they are all doing amazing. If I can play a part in that it would be fantastic.
If we can get more women competing at a higher level, especially more competing on the women’s tour as well, it is fabulous.
“I never thought of being a role model myself, but people come up to you and say they have been playing because of you or didn’t know that women played. Hopefully in a year or two that won't be the case.”
Evans and Ng On-yee at the Paul Hunter Ladies Classic in 2016
Image credit: Getty Images
Evans also spoke about her relationship with Ng, revealing that the two are “good friends” and support each other on tour. “It shares the burden,” she said. “It is good to have someone else on tour so the limelight is not always on you.
“We will always encourage each other, keep competing and raising each other’s bars. We do that on the women’s tour so want to bring it to the main tour.”
Back in March, Evans spoke to the Metro about how much it meant to her to make it onto the professional circuit. “I’ve always wanted this to happen, just to show some support and encourage women to be involved in snooker,” she said.
“Players now have an end goal that they can be a professional. We either wanted that or they needed to make the women’s a professional tour. That was my argument, either one of those to continue going forward and to improve. I didn’t have any idea it was coming now though, it was rather a shock.
“We’ve been involved in this situation in snooker for so long. Obviously being a woman in sport is getting better and better but, when you’ve been involved so long, you just want to inspire people to do better, yourself as well, but you just want to keep it going and get bigger and bigger.
“It’s the biggest news I’ve known in the 40 years the Women’s Snooker Tour has been going with Mandy Fisher running it. I can see her with a big smile on her face now, thinking: ‘We’ve achieved it.’”
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