Hong Kong’s Ng On-yee gets slice of luck to beat Ken Doherty in boost for women’s snooker
- Women’s world No 2 gets her second win since joining the men’s tour, beating the 1997 men’s world champion
- It all came down to the pink in the deciding frame, which the Hongkonger potted in fortuitous fashion to reach the British Open’s main draw
It was Ng’s second victory since being granted a two-year World Snooker Tour card last year, and the first so far this season by any woman on the tour.
The women’s world No 2 got off to a fast start against 1997 world champion Doherty at the Robin Park Leisure Centre in Wigan on Thursday, winning the opening two frames.
Irish veteran Doherty hit back with three frames of his own, including a break of 52, the highest of the match, before the three-time women’s world champion levelled it in the sixth.
The decider was a nail-biter after Ng missed a blue while leading 47-1, giving Doherty the opportunity to close the gap.
With only the pink and black left on the table, Doherty was seven points behind and needed to pot both for victory. But Ng fluked the pink via three cushions as she attempted a safety shot, to take frame and match.
“I have to be honest and admit the pink in the last frame was a fluke, but a win is a win,” the 31-year-old said.
This latest triumph has given Ng hope of progressing further in the British Open and in qualifying stages for more tournaments.
“This win has given me confidence,” she said. “It is definitely one of the best of my career, against a great player like Ken. My safety in the first two frames was quite effective, then I got lucky with the pink fluke.”
Hong Kong’s No 1 joined the tour last year along with the rest of the world’s top four women players – Reanne Evans, Nutcharut Wongharuthai and Rebecca Kenna.
Ng went to the UK last month to begin her second season and has been based at the Ding Junhui Snooker Academy in Sheffield, playing there alongside Hong Kong’s Marco Fu Ka-chun among others.
“I have been practising hard recently with a lot of top players, and I can see an improvement in my game,” she said.
Ng has a few significant assignments before she returns home for the Hong Kong Masters in October.
She will play in qualifying for the Northern Ireland Open, again in Wigan, on August 23. Next comes the inaugural World Mixed Doubles on September 24 and 25, at which she will partner another former world champion, Judd Trump. The British Open’s main draw follows from September 26 to October 2, with the latter two events taking place in Milton Keynes.
Chen Zifan of China, whom Ng will face in the first of those tournaments, beat women’s world No 3 Wongharuthai 4-2 in British Open qualifying on Tuesday.
Evans, the 12-time women’s world champion, and Kenna were in action later on Friday, aiming to emulate the latest breakthrough result by Ng.
Hong Kong’s cue sports head coach Wayne Griffiths was among those to hail its impact.
“Beating Ken Doherty, a hugely respected player and former world champion, is a result that should not be underestimated or played down,” he said. “The fact that On-yee is one of very few female competitors on the world sporting stage claiming victories over male counterparts is a measure of her talent, her desire and willingness to listen and learn, and her commitment.
“Following Marco’s ongoing success over two decades and Cheung Ka-wai winning Hong Kong’s first ever gold medal at the World Games, On-yee is once again putting Hong Kong snooker in the global spotlight.”
Meanwhile, Liang Wenbo of China, who was suspended for four months by the sport’s governing body after being convicted of assaulting a woman in the UK, returned to action on Thursday in Wigan. Now ranked 40th, he lost 4-2 to Scotland’s world No 89 Dean Young.
Liang was fined £1,380 (HK$14,200) and sentenced to a 12-month community order after security footage showed him repeatedly hitting and kicking a woman, as well as pulling her to the floor and throwing her against a wall, in Sheffield in July 2021.
Other Chinese players to advance to the British Open’s main draw included Ding, who defeated Oliver Lines 4-2.