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Judd Trump and Ng On-yee will each play in the British Open before flying to Hong Kong. Photo: Instagram

Ng On-yee only woman in snooker’s British Open after World Mixed Doubles boosts profile

  • Hongkonger misses out on mixed-doubles final with playing partner Judd Trump in a tournament lauded by the players
  • She is back at the same venue this week for the British Open, this time as the only woman, having beaten former world champion Ken Doherty in the qualifiers
Ng On-yee will return to blazing her own trail this week at the British Open, after the World Mixed Doubles put women’s snooker in the spotlight to great effect over the weekend.

Hong Kong’s Ng and her playing partner Judd Trump, both ranked second in the world in their respective categories, were unable to reach the mixed-doubles final on Sunday after losing their final round-robin match 4-0 to eventual winners Neil Robertson and Mink Nutcharut.

Robertson and current women’s world champion Nutcharut beat Mark Selby and Rebecca Kenna 4-2 in the final at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.

People’s favourites and world No 1s Ronnie O’Sullivan and Reanne Evans were also eliminated after only one win in the first stage, finishing third.

Neil Robertson and Mink Nutcharut win the first World Mixed Doubles title in England. Photo: WST

The success of the event, which was also the first televised mixed-doubles competition since 1991, was hailed by the players, with Selby calling it “a great two days”.

“It’s not really been about the men, I don’t think – it’s been about the girls, obviously, and they’ve done fantastic,” Selby said. “It’s been fantastic to see them live on TV and get the exposure they’ve been craving for many years.”

Ng called the tournament a “wonderful experience”, while Hong Kong billiard sports head coach Wayne Griffiths, who is in the UK, said that competing against the likes of O’Sullivan and Evans, whom Ng and Trump beat in their opening match, could only help the Hongkonger improve.

“The intrinsic benefits of dealing with the pressure of single-table, televised snooker, and competing with legends of the game, can only stand her in good stead going forward for this week’s British Open and the Hong Kong Masters in early October,” Griffiths said.

Up next for Ng on Tuesday is men’s world No 22 Jordan Brown, of Northern Ireland, in the opening round of the Open, which will take place at the same venue as the mixed doubles, in Milton Keynes.

A three-time women’s world champion, Ng is the only woman is the tournament. It is her second appearance in the main draw of the men’s tour since being granted a two-year World Snooker Tour card last year, after she beat former world champion Ken Doherty in the tournament qualifiers in August.

“Jordan is a former ranking event winner, so she will need to be at her very best to compete and give herself the chance for another win,” Griffiths said.

Ng’s compatriot, Andy Lee Chun-wai, will be in action on Wednesday, when he will play the winner of the match between China’s Yan Bingtao and Britain’s Oliver Brown.

The Hong Kong Masters, which will be held at the city’s Coliseum venue from October 6 to 9, takes place immediately after the British Open.

Following the removal last week of the city’s compulsory hotel quarantine for incoming travellers, Hong Kong’s snooker chiefs have been seeking clarification about which Covid-19 restrictions the players may still be subject to.

They will no longer have to be confined to a hotel for three days, as was previously the case, but they will still be subject to three days of medical surveillance and limitations on their movements around the city, under the new “0+3” policy.

Hong Kong Masters snooker tournament on course for October with ‘closed loop’

As things stand, those limitations would prevent them visiting venues to practise before the tournament. Those who progress to the latter stages of the British Open would be unable to fly to Hong Kong earlier.

Vincent Law Wing-chung, chairman of the Hong Kong Billiard Sports Control Council, said that his organisation was still “finalising the details with the government”.

Law hopes to be granted an exemption for the star players, including O’Sullivan, Robertson, Trump and Selby, to have access to practice venues during their first three days in Hong Kong.