The expected eleventh title in a row may not have been forthcoming for the heavy pre-tournament favourite Reanne Evans. Yet the defeat of the 29-year-old from Dudley in the West Midlands at the semi-final stage may yet prove to be a godsend for the women's game. This possibility arises because the new ladies' champion, Ng On Yee, hails from Hong Kong, where snooker is growing and will definitely benefit from the victory. On Yee defeated England's Emma Bonney in the final 6-2 in Leeds.
Evans' was defeated by On Yee in their last-four match by four frames to two, a far cry from their meeting in last year's final when the Englishwoman had demolished her opponent 6-0. In the other semi-final match, Emma Bonney had slightly redressed the England-Hong Kong power struggle in the women's game, by defeating Jaique Ip 4-1 to set up the final with On Yee. Bonney was unable to continue her dominance in the final itself though, as her rival proved to be far too good on the day.
Despite her obvious disappointment at not being able to retain her title, Evans was philosophical in defeat saying that her run of victories, "had to come to an end some time." She congratulated her conqueror afterwards, but was clearly hoping for increased commercial interest overseas in the women's game as a result of On Yee's title success. She intimated as much by stating that she hoped "her win ignites interest in the Far East." Evans retains high hopes of bouncing back next year and reclaiming her title, although she accepts the fact that for the sport to flourish it needs to have a heightened rivalry.
By contrast to the women's game, there seem to be a whole host of potential winners of this year's World Championship title, which has helped the game to expand into the Asian market already. Snooker is very popular in that corner of the world, especially in China, with a series of events already in place each year that feature many of the top global stars. Asian stars regularly feature in the televised stages of the major (men's) tournaments, with Chinese number three seed Ding Junhui and Hong Kong's Marco Fu prominent. Newer names such as China's Liang Wenbo are waiting in the wings to surge to the very top. Victories at the top level in the women's game may be a step towards igniting further interest across the board from sponsors and the Asian public. #TelevisionEvans' former partner Mark Allen had more reason to be cheerful at the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield. The Northern Irishman cruised into the second round with a 10-3 demolition of Ryan Day. Although Evans and Allen separated in 2008, their relationship resulted in the birth of daughter Lauren back in 2006.