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Ng On-yee

World No 1 Ng On-yee makes highest break, 122, but needs to do it more often to catch the men and keep Thailand challenge at bay

Coach Griffiths says the world champion is showing progress in the areas she needs to improve on in winning the Hong Kong women’s title

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 July, 2018, 7:19pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 July, 2018, 10:31pm

Hong Kong’s world champion Ng On-yee notched the highest tournament break of her career over the weekend – an important step in her quest to challenge the top men’s players and stay ahead of an army of young and ambitious women from Thailand.

The world number one racked up a break of 122 in winning the Hong Kong women’s title, beating her previous highest score of 121.

“It’s significant for two reasons,” said Wayne Griffiths, coach at the Hong Kong Sports Institute. “It’s her highest match break, not a massive step up from her previous 121 but still a high break and shows consistency in progress for her.

“The second part of that is the ability to produce heavy scoring in one visit to the table. This is an area that she needs to improve on to close the gap on the men’s game.

“In general, in the ladies game there are more chances per frame for making a century break. Even on the fourth or fifth visit, you can still win the frame. In the men’s game, you probably don’t get a third or fourth chance.”

The 27-year-old Ng has had several attempts to qualify for the main world championship but has fallen short. This year, she will embark on a Challenge Tour that also features men’s players in the hope of strengthening her game.

While aiming to be as good as the top men’s player, Ng must also look over her shoulder at a talented group of Thai youngsters who are rising up the women’s rankings.

Ng led a Hong Kong assault on the world rankings a few years ago and there are now four women from the city in the top 20. Katrina Wan Ka-kai is at six, So Man-yan at 11 and Jaique Ip Wan-in at 14. Ho Yee-ki is ranked 21.

The Thais have two players in the top 20, 17th-ranked teen and world U21 champion Nutcharut Wongtharuthai, who beat Ng earlier this year, and No 20 Waratthanun Sukritthanes. But Griffiths said the Southeast Asian country has more players coming up through the ranks.

“They are definitely a threat,” he said. “There are more young players coming through. Of the new girls, they are all talking about Thailand. The Thai snooker association is catching them quite young and teaching them very strong technique, they are mixing with the male players and surely in the years to come they will be among the strongest players in the world.”

Ng’s next international assignment is the Paul Hunter Classic in Furth, Germany from August 22-26, which features mostly men. She then stays in Germany for event four of the Challenge Tour before travelling to Leeds in England for the UK Championship for which she is the defending champion.