Evans ready to grab Crucible chance

Published: Tuesday 3rd March 2015 by The News Editor

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Reanne Evans is ready to take her Crucible chance with both hands, knowing that even one qualifying win could have a significant impact on her career.

Evans, the women’s world champion, has been given a place in the qualifying rounds of this year’s World Championship, World Snooker announced on Tuesday morning.

The 29-year-old – the dominant player of the women’s game with 10 successive world titles to her name – will head to Sheffield’s Ponds Forge in April in a bid to qualify for the main event at the Crucible.

Evans will be one of 128 players to bid to join the game’s top 16 in the tournament and she will need to win three matches in order to do so.

She would become the first woman to compete in the World Championship if successful, having become the first woman to qualify for any ranking event last season when she got through to the main stage of the Wuxi Classic in China.

A new infrastructure introduced by the sport’s governing body means that all players seeded outside the top 16 will join the 128, while invitations have been extended to former world champions no longer on the tour and amateur players.

As such, Evans has been invited to qualify, as have former champions Stephen Hendry and Steve Davis, while James Wattana has also been invited.

In a field that includes several heavyweight names from the men’s game, reaching the television stages will be a tough ask for Evans, but just one qualifying victory would carry a prize of £6,000 – a tariff way in excess of the one on offer for winning the women’s championship.

“This is fantastic news, it’s a no-brainer for me,” Evans told Press Association Sport.

“This is going to be such good publicity and I am thrilled. The money on offer for just one win is far more than I’ve got in the last five or six years, and that’s just one game.

“This is a dream for me and you never know. I can just give it my best shot. I’m taking nothing for granted, but I will be doing my best.”

Evans would like women’s snooker to reach a level where the World Championships are as high-profile as the men’s, but in the meantime she is happy to take on the best that the men have to offer.

“This is all new to us and it is good for the ladies to have the opportunity,” she added.

“We want the ladies to improve but I like playing the men, it’s a challenge for me.”

Commenting on the news, Jason Ferguson, the chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, said: “Reanne’s achievements in the ladies game are incredible – to win 10 world titles in a row in any sport is a phenomenal record.

“She is a true sporting great and proved her ability to compete on the open professional tour when she reached the final stages of the Wuxi Classic in China.

“She deserves the chance to play in the World Championship and she will be aiming to become the first woman ever to play in the main event at the Crucible. Reanne is a trail-blazer for female players around the world.”

Published: Tuesday 3rd March 2015 by The News Editor

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