Online Cue Sports Shop Billiards Boutique has stumped up some money to invest in a female snooker player currently on the World Ladies tour.

The investment in Suzie Opacic, 29, from Southampton, UK, is considered a major boost for the ladies game as the sponsorship follows suit with other companies such as Eden and LiteTask sponsoring events such as the Eden Masters and the LiteTask Uk Championship which runs this weekend at the Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds.

Opacic, World Number eight, got back into snooker after a boost in players entering competitions as the ladies game continues to overcome challenges from old-fashioned views in Conservative and Labour clubs.

This includes old style clubs in the UK, some which don't even allow women on a snooker table to play.

A Real Push

Pete Williams, who runs the online cue sports retailer, which sells cues, cases, accessories, and tables worldwide and started out 12 years ago in Weymouth said he had to diversify his business from American pool to snooker. Opacic said: "The sponsorship that Billiards Boutique is offering me allows me to practice more, play more, travel to tournaments, and really keep pushing in the ladies game."

She added: "You need the backing to play on the circuit and really push up the rankings."

Opacic told the WPBSA website she was looking forward to competing in Leeds at the weekend but mentioned it would be tough to fit in practice with a new job at Heathrow Airport, London, UK, where she will be part of a team working on the runway expansion.

Last season saw the ladies World Championship for the first time held in Singapore, a first since the mid-1990s when the event was held in India a couple of times in 94/95.

Stubborn minds

Opacic plays in Group D in the Round Robin stages of the this year's LiteTask UK Championship in Leeds, Reanne Evans won her eighth UK title last year in Leeds defeating Tatjana Vasiljeva in the final and will be competing for her ninth this time around.

In the summer, the women flew to play snooker in Germany for the second Paul Hunter Ladies Classic, again won by Reanne Evans - and first won by Ng On Yee from Hong Kong.

Evans holds 11 World titles.

Opacic has come a long way since 2006 when she was not able to play at a local in Southampton with the men in a league as reported by the Southern Daily Echo because of stubborn old-fashioned rules regarding not letting women in.

She was 18 at the time and studying at Bournemouth University. A top coach who coaches some talented ladies on tour, says this is still going on even 11 years on.

After the debacle, Opacic was invited to play on the WLBS tour and won the UK Championship Plate when the tournament was held in Chesterfield.