James Wattana strikes Gold

James Wattana still has it! He’s a national hero in Thailand and has made his country proud once again.

Indeed the veteran has won a gold medal for Thailand at the SEA games:

Snooker legend James Wattana claims SEA Games gold for Thailand

Thai snooker legend James Wattana claimed his first Southeast Asian Games gold medal on Sunday.

The 52-year-old Thai overcame stiff resistance from young Malaysian Lim Kok Leong in the men’s final at Ha Dong Gymnasium in Hanoi.


Kok Leong, 27, drew first blood in the best-of-seven-frames showdown, winning the opener 75-24.

Wattana won the next 88-34 to level the match but the hot-potting Malaysian edged ahead by clinching the third frame 70-25.

However, 2-1 was as good as it got for Kok Leong as the Thai cue-master found another gear and began schooling the young upstart.

Wattana took the next three frames 65-48, 83-33 and 67-42 to grab the gold medal.

The victory was also sweet revenge after Kok Leong crushed Thailand’s Passakorn Suwanawat 4-0 in the semi-final.

Meanwhile, the Thai Billiard Sports Association celebrated its first SEA Games gold, having won five bronze medals at previous editions.

At press time, Thailand was in second place with 293 medals – 77 gold, 91 silver, 125 bronze. Host Vietnam tops the table with 401 medals – 185 gold, 108 silver, 108 bronze. Indonesia is in third with 211 medals – 61 gold, 80 silver, 70 bronze.



Congratulations James Wattana!

Jimmy White Charity Exhibition – 31 July 2022

Jimmy Grimsby Sunday July 31 2022

Jamie Curtis- Barret is organising this exhibition and monies go to to the local charity that helped him,  his wife and family when she was terminally ill a few years ago.

Jamie’s wife, Leanne, was diagnosed with breast cancer aged only 27. She was expecting the couple’s second child, a son named Freddie. They already had a 3 years old daughter, Georgia. Leanne fought with all she had, but survived only 3 more years. Needless to say, every help is precious is such terrible circumstances.

Jamie wants to give something back to those who supported his family. Jimmy is keen to help and aher his performance in the World Seniors sure to be a good evening.

If you ca go, wonderful! If not … please share!

Our Seniors World Champion reflects on his career and his achievements

Lee Walker is currently competing in the 2022 Q-School, having dropped off the tour last month. He spoke to WST about how his recent triumph at the Crucible has changed everything  … 

Walker Relishing Seniors Title

Recently crowned World Seniors Champion Lee Walker will continue his bid to regain professional status at Q School tomorrow, but the Welshman admits that his place on the main circuit is no longer the be all and end all.

Walker secured a dream victory at the Crucible earlier this month, beating Jimmy White 5-4 in a thrilling final to win the seniors title. That came in the aftermath of a disappointing end to the regular season, which resulted in his relegation from the World Snooker Tour.

The 46-year-old faces Ashley Carty in the next round of Q School event one tomorrow, but he does so in the knowledge that he has held aloft silverware in snooker’s most prestigious venue. It was the first time he had performed in front of a Crucible crowd since 2004 and his first ever appearance in the single table setup with fans. Walker’s best World Championship performance dates back to 1997, when he made the quarter-finals.

He clinched his recent glory in style, firing home a nerveless break of 83 to capture the title. Reflecting on that winning moment, he admits he proved a lot to himself with regards to his ability to function under the most severe pressure.

Walker said: “I haven’t done as well as I thought I would do in my career and haven’t been on the verge of winning a tournament before. I’ve always wondered what I would do and whether I would be able to get myself over the line. To win it the way that I did, with one chance and an 83 break in the decider, was very pleasing to me and I showed myself that I could do it under the pressure. Although there was a lot of pressure out there, I felt pretty calm.

I was determined to enjoy every moment. I played Ken Doherty in the UK Seniors and at 2-0 down, I was a bit of a spoiled brat and I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I asked myself what I was doing and decided I needed to enjoy it more. I played Stephen Hendry at the World Seniors and obviously Jimmy White in the final. If you can’t enjoy playing those guys at the Crucible, then you might as well put the cue away and not bother playing ever again. It was just a great experience.

When I did win, my son Noah came down and it was fantastic to share it with him. I looked at him and thought to try and not get upset, Mark Williams would have taken the mick out of me for the next 30 years if I did! Rob Walker asked me about Noah being there and I thought he was about to set me off, but I held myself together. It was a bit of an emotional moment, but it is one that I will cherish forever now.

Much of Walker’s focus has been away from his own game in recent times. He now works alongside best friend Williams as his coach and he has also been teaching 15-year-old prospect Liam Davies for the last nine years. That has made for an eventful few weeks for Walker.

Walker has been working with 15-year-old Liam Davies for nine years.

Davies made history last month, when he became the youngest ever player to win a World Championship match. He defeated Aaron Hill in the first round of qualifying, before adding another win against Fergal O’Brien. The teenager was denied a Judgement Day place after a 6-5 loss against Jordan Brown. Williams, who is now 47 years old, followed up Davies’ exploits by going all the way to the semi-finals, where he was beaten 17-16 in an epic showdown with Judd Trump.

Considering he is now in the twilight period of his playing career, Walker now sees coaching at the core of his profession. He is relishing working with two players at very different stages in their own journeys.

Mark has played so well this season. Himself, Higgins and O’Sullivan are amazing to still be playing at that level despite their age. He was so close to getting to the final of the Masters and he was so close to getting to the final at the Crucible.  That is some achievement in the two biggest tournaments we have. I think those three could probably keep playing until the age of 75 the way they are going.

I started working with Liam when he was six and he is like a son to me. I hope he feels the same, but I think we have a very special relationship. Watching him and watching Mark isn’t very nice. When you are out there playing you have control. When you are watching from the side and you are desperate for someone to win, it is very difficult. It is something I will have to get used to. Not only does Liam have a great future ahead of him, but he is a great lad as well. I am very proud of him. He lost his first match at Q School to Fergal, but whether he gets on now or in the future, it is just a matter of time.”

Walker hasn’t had long to prepare for Q School this year. In the immediate aftermath of the seniors, he went on a trip to Las Vegas with Williams, Mark Davis and all three of their wives. The former Gibraltar Open semi-finalist admits that he was seriously considering not entering Q School, but was persuaded to throw his hat in the ring and have another shot at the professional tour.

It was a good trip. After winning the seniors, I didn’t get home until 5am. I picked Mark Williams up at 11am, so I barely got any sleep. Then we had the flight and arrived in Vegas at about 8pm. The full intention was to go out, have two drinks and then go to bed. We left the bar at 6:30am!

It has been a mad month. I arrived with Mark in Sheffield on April 14th. We didn’t leave until he got knocked out in the semi-finals, I was then back up a couple of days later for the seniors. I then went to Vegas and here I am again competing in Q School. It has been crazy, but after this it will settle down and get back to normal.

I really wasn’t sure whether or not I’d play in Q School. I am never going to give up playing completely, but the last couple of years as a professional haven’t been that profitable. I have other things I want to do in the coaching side of it. I take Mark’s advice on playing matters, both he and my dad said that if I play in it and don’t get through then my mind is made up for me. They thought it was worth giving it a go this year. Never say never, but if I don’t get through I’d be surprised if I was ever in Q School again. I obviously want to qualify and when I get on the table I will be giving it 100%, but if I don’t get through I wont be devastated. If that is the end of it, then I will be just as happy playing in amateur events and the seniors.

Lee turned professional in 1994, aged 18. His best ever ranking was 41, his best result was a semi-final at the 2018 Gibraltar Open. Yet, Lee certainly can play to a very high standard. You don’t become the trusted coach of a multiple World Champion if you don’t know how to play the game inside-out. His achievements may look modest, but that’s because the standard at the top is incredibly high.

Lee truly loves his sport and will do anything to help aspiring players, no matter their level and abilities. When the first World Disability Snooker event was held in Wales, Lee and Michael White drove to the venue to support the event. It wasn’t close to their place – over 2 hours drive if my memory serves me well – but they came and spent several hours helping, chatting to the players, giving advice. They had a lot of time for everyone.

Winning the Seniors World Championship at the Crucible is, so far, the highlight of Lee’s career, a well deserved, unique moment that made years of hard graft worth it.

All the best in the future Lee

and enjoy your time as the Seniors World Champion!

Lee Walker is the 2022 Ways World Seniors Snooker Champion

Lee Walker came from behind to beat Jimmy White by 5-4 to win the 2022 Ways World Seniors Snooker Championship.

Congratulations Lee!


Here is the official report:

Walker Wins World Seniors Crown

Lee Walker came back from two down with three to play to oust Jimmy White 5-4 in the final at the Crucible Theatre and win the Ways Facilities Management World Seniors Snooker Championship for the first time. 

The 46-year-old raised the tournament curtain on Wednesday night and he was the last player standing in Sheffield on Sunday evening, with the title representing the biggest accolade of his career so far. 

Walker, who qualified for the main draw in February, began his campaign in the preliminary round with a 3-0 victory over Tony Knowles before an impressive elimination of Stephen Hendry by the same scoreline in the last 16, a result which included a break of 121. 

However, the Welshman needed to show different qualities during the latter stages of the championship as he became a master of brinksmanship. 

He came back from 0-2 down to deny Ken Doherty 4-2 in the quarter-finals and was even further adrift as he dethroned defending champion David Lilley in the semi-finals – stringing together four frames as he memorably turned a 0-3 deficit into a 4-3 success.  

His opponent in the title match was three-time winner Jimmy White, who was appearing in his fourth consecutive world seniors championship final. 

A vintage White had produced some of his best form in recent years to get there, dropping just one frame in three matches. During his 4-1 win over Rory McLeod in the last eight, The Whirlwind constructed a total clearance of 138, an effort which would stand as the event’s highest this year. He also compiled another total clearance – a 132 – as he saw off reigning UK seniors champion and former winner of this title, Peter Lines, 4-0 in the last four. 

The ever-popular Londoner started the final well, registering a run of 64 in the opening frame and carving out a 3-1 lead going into the mid-session interval. 

On resumption, Walker made a 72 break to take frame five and reduce his arrears, but White went on the brink of a fourth title as he claimed the sixth frame to move 4-2 up in the race to five.  

However, Walker was to conjure up yet another recovery, finding his scoring groove when it mattered the most to become the 11th different winner of this prestigious title. 

He chalked up frame seven and then forced a deciding frame with a clearance of 79 in the eighth. Walker would save his highest effort of the contest until last, though, grabbing his opportunity in the decider by crafting a classy break of 83 to lift the trophy.


After his win, Lee declared that he will “cherish this forever”.  Of course, he should!

He’s been a dedicated professional since 1994. He’s dropped off the tour a few times and came back. He had little success as a professional but still loves the game with a passion. He’s a well respected coach, he’s been helping Mark Williams for years. And now, he has finally won an event beating a legend of the game in the final, at the Crucible, no less. And he has done it the hard way.

He will be at the 2022 Champion of Champions.

In a few days he will head to the Q-school, where he will try to regain his tour card once more. Good luck Lee.

Jimmy took the high break prize for his marvellous 138

Jimmy HB

Jimmy played some marvellous snooker during the event. He was probably the best player out there but he couldn’t sustain his highest level in the latter stages of the final. Maybe, at 60, this is what happens. Consistency is hard to retain and tiredness may be a factor. But he delighted the crowd, and I hope he can take some satisfaction from that.

It was, once again, a great event. It was well supported by the fans.

Rob Walker, as usual, was a dynamic and enthusiast presence on the floor, be it to introduce the players or to interview them post-match.

The commentary team – John Virgo, Mike Dunn, Dennis Taylor, Stephen Hendry and Cliff Thorburn – did a sterling job.

The streaming on Matchroom.live was excellent too. The service had been terrible earlier in the season but it seems that the issues have now been adressed successfully.



Only four remain at the 2022 Ways World Seniors Snooker Championship

They are: David Lilley, the defending champion, Jimmy White, the legend, Peter Lines the Seniors UK champion and Lee Walker, newcomer in this comp and “Willo”‘s coach.


Here is how it unfolded yesterday:

Quartet Confirmed for World Seniors Finals Day

Only four players remain on course for the 2022 Ways Facilities Management World Seniors Snooker Championship title as the event heads into its final day. 

The best of seven semi-finals will take place at the Crucible Theatre on Sunday afternoon from 1300GMT with the best of nine final scheduled to start in the evening at 1900GMT. The final four consists of the defending champion, two former champions and someone aiming to claim the title for the first time. 

That person is qualifier Lee Walker who was the first player through to Finals Day after he defeated Ken Doherty, 4-2. 

Walker – who won both his opening matches 3–0 – found himself 2-0 down to the 1997 world professional champion. However, with the help of two breaks of 56 and a 52, the Welshman turned things around to move in front before holding his nerve by sinking blue and pink in frame six to complete victory. 

Defending champion David Lilley still has the opportunity to become the first maiden winner to successfully retain the title after he dispatched tournament favourite Michael Holt, 4-0. 

Lilley took the first frame on the pink before restricting his opponent to just 13 further points as he registered top runs of 50 and 58. 

The evening session got off to a flyer as three-time world seniors champion Jimmy White conjured up one of his best performances in recent times to eliminate Rory McLeod, 4-1. 

The Whirlwind was in vintage scoring form as he racked up breaks of 53, 138, 71, 74 and 48 to reach the semi-finals of this event for the seventh time. The century in frame two was a total clearance and the new highest break for the tournament. 

Since the championship moved here in 2019, White has lost just once in 14 matches. 

Reigning UK Seniors Champion Peter Lines completed Sunday’s cast at the Crucible following a 4-1 success over fellow former winner of this title, Nigel Bond. The Leeds-based professional top scored with 93. 

Lines lifted the world seniors trophy in Scunthorpe in 2017, and he is now two more wins away from raising it again on Sunday night. As yet, no player has held both the UK and World Seniors Championship titles at the same time. 

Ken Doherty, who had his wife and son sat in the crowd, completely lost his ways after the first two frames. It was another case of a match turning on one shot. I’m not sure that having his family there helped him. He looked very nervous.

All four remaining players impressed in their quarter-finals match. It’s hard to predict a winner really. David Lilley looks absolutely determined to defend his title, both Lee Walker and Peter Lines played reliable, solid snooker and neither missed much once they got going. Jimmy was in scintillating form yesterday; he delighted the crowd.

So … just sit, watch and relax…


2022 Ways World Seniors Snooker Championship – Day 3

This is the official report on day 3 at the 2022 Ways World Seniors Snooker Championship:

Defending champion David Lilley and former champions Jimmy White and Nigel Bond were amongst those that advanced to the quarter-finals of the 2022 Ways Facilities Management World Seniors Snooker Championship during Friday’s play at the Crucible Theatre. 

Lilley – aiming to become the first maiden winner to retain the title – survived a big scare, coming back from two down with three to play to oust Philip Williams. 

Qualifier Williams opened up a 2-0 lead (56 break, frame one) before Lilley responded with frames three (60 break) and four to level up. However, in a nervy deciding frame, Williams had the opportunity to counter-attack but rattled the final red along the top cushion. The mistake was capitalised on by a very relieved Lilley. 

Elsewhere in the morning session, Ken Doherty ended the challenge of Wayne Cooper, 3-1. 

A quarter of a century on from his glory in the professional championship here, Doherty recorded breaks of 70 and 73 to dispatch his opponent and stay on course for a unique quadruple having also claimed the world junior and amateur accolades early in his prestigious career. 

The afternoon began with Lee Walker producing arguably the performance of the event so far as he eliminated Stephen Hendry, 3-0. 

The Welshman hit the ground running, crafting a magnificent 121 clearance in the opening frame – the first century of this year’s championship. Further breaks of 63 and 49 helped Walker stifle Hendry and move into the last eight for the first time. 

Michael Holt will also feature in the quarter-finals but the tournament favourite didn’t have it all his own way as he defeated 2011 winner Darren Morgan. 

Holt comfortably won the first frame with an effort of 63, but the experienced former world number eight struck back with a 51 to level up before appearing to look good for a lead in frame three. 

However, whilst on a break of 63, Morgan missed a pot down a side cushion and Holt punished, pinching the frame on the final black with a clearance of 34. With momentum now on his side, former Shoot Out winner Holt – competing in his first world seniors event – wrapped the match up without reply in the fourth. He will face Lilley next in a tasty clash. 

Crowd favourite and three-time champion White got his campaign off to a pleasing start as he eliminated African seniors champion Wael Talaat from Egypt, 3-0. 

White, who recently celebrated his 60th birthday, made a clutch break of 38 to secure the opener before finding his scoring groove with contributions of 67 and 79. Since the championship moved here in 2019, the Londoner has lost just once in 13 matches – last year’s final to Lilley. 

The day was rounded off with a routine 3-0 success for 2012 winner Bond over John Parrott. Bond top scored with 57 in the second frame. 

Following his appearance, 1991 World Professional Champion Parrott announced his competitive retirement from the seniors circuit. 

Parrott was given a standing ovation by the crowd in the Crucible Theatre as he paraded the world trophy he first lifted there over three decades ago. 

First of all, best wishes of happy retirement to John Parrot!

All three, Philip Williams, Wayne Cooper and Wael Talaat gave a really good account of themselves in this competition. We have to remember that, unlike their opponents, they have very little or no experience of this venue and are not used to the professional conditions. They should be proud of themselves. I hope that they fully enjoyed the occasion.

Stephen Hendry, on the other hand, was poor. Ok, Lee Walker was playing really well but still … That said, Stephen worked for the BBC during the whole 17 days of the 2022 World championship, so, maybe he couldn’t prepare as well as he would have wanted to.

Nigel Bond had far too much for John Parrott who has struggled with eyes issues over the last years. John had surely informed Jason Francis about his retirement plans because Jason had made sure that the World Trophy would be available at the premises for that little parade… John deserved a great farewell and he got it!



Ways 2022 World Seniors Snooker Championship – Round 1 concludes on Day 2

This is the official report on day 2 at the Ways 2022 World Seniors Snooker Championship:

Last 16 Confirmed in 2022 World Seniors Snooker Championship

The line-up for the last 16 in the Ways Facilities Management World Seniors Snooker Championship is now complete after a busy day of action at the Crucible Theatre. 

Rory McLeod was the first player to advance as he defeated Frank Sarsfield, 3-0. The European Tour event winner made breaks of 51 and 73 during his victory and is set to face Joe Johnson next. 

In what was the tie of the preliminary round, 2011 winner Darren Morgan was made to sweat as he ousted former finalist Patrick Wallace in the tournament’s first deciding frame finish. 

Morgan claimed the opening frame but Wallace responded well by levelling and then taking the third frame on the final black to lead. The Northern Irishman manufactured a 51 break in frame four to put himself on the brink, but Morgan came back to square the match on the final pink. 

Now with the momentum, the former world number eight crafted an effort of 51 in the decider which helped him get across the line and earn a date with tournament favourite Michael Holt. 

In the afternoon session, Bradford-based Wayne Cooper was cheered on by local support as he impressively racked up runs of 54, 70 and 58 on his way to defeating the reigning Pan-American Seniors champion Ahmed Aly, 3-1. New Yorker Aly created history by becoming the first American to play at Crucible Theatre. Cooper comes up against Ken Doherty in the next round.

The 1995 world professional championship runner-up Nigel Bond is no stranger to winning on the one-table set-up in Sheffield, and he notched up another victory under those conditions as he dispatched Stuart Watson 3-0 with the aid of 61 and 67 breaks. Bond, winner of this title in 2012, goes on to challenge John Parrott.

More history was made during the evening session as former world women’s number one Maria Catalano became the first woman to feature in the final stages of a world seniors tour event.  

The five-time world women’s championship finalist gave a fine account of herself – registering a half-century break in the iconic arena – but it was Egypt’s Wael Talaat who was celebrating after a 3-0 win.

The African Seniors champion set his stall out early on with breaks of 40 and 81 in the first frame. Talaat’s prize is an encounter with three-time champion Jimmy White on Friday night.

Three-time London champion and Super Seniors event winner Gary Filtness was the final cueist to book a berth in the last 16 as he caused the upset of the round with a 3-1 success over current main tour professional Michael Judge.

Former UK Seniors champion Judge went 1-0 ahead but Filtness made a 67 break in frame two whilst levelling, before controlling the remainder of the match to record a memorable victory. He’ll look to further his run against current UK Seniors champion Peter Lines in the next round.

Friday sees the start of the last 16 where the seeded players enter the fray. Live coverage can be found on BBC digital channels and Matchroom.Live. 

I wasn’t surprised to see Darren Morgan win the decider. Darren never lacks confidence and that’s a huge asset under the circumstances.

I had never seen Wael Talaat at the table and I was impressed. His cue action is very unorthodox, but his pot success was very high and, despite the short, jabby cue action he didn’t lack cue power when needed. Maria Catalano only showed glimpses of her talent. For all who know her, it was obvious how much the death of her father, and the subsequent changes in her life, have hit her. She was still able to construct a very good 50 break in the last frame and I’m glad that she could at least take something positive out of the match.

I never expected Gary Filtness to beat Mick Judge, but then I should have known better. You have to expect the unexpected when Gary is involved! That he can play was never in doubt but… he’s a “super senior” – over 55 – and back/sciatica problems have kept him off the table for long periods in recent year. How come? My guess is that it’s all about passion, sheer will to win and knowlegde of the game.  Gary has all that in spades.

Here is the last 16 draw:

David Lilley v Philip Williams
Michael Holt v Darren Morgan
Ken Doherty v Wayne Cooper
Stephen Hendry v Lee Walker

Peter Lines v Gary Filtness
John Parrott v Nigel Bond
Jimmy White v Wael Talaat
Joe Johnson v Rory Mc Leod

I have put my “expected winners” in bold … for what it’s worth.

2022 Ways Seniors Snooker World Championship – Lee Walker and Philip Williams win on the opening night

This is the official report on what happened during the opening session of the 2022 Ways Seniors Snooker World Championship:

Welsh Winners on Opening Night of World Seniors Championship

Lee Walker and Philip Williams flew the flag for Wales as they both advanced to the last 16 of the 2022 Ways Management World Seniors Snooker Championship during the event’s opening session at the Crucible Theatre on Wednesday night. 

After the previous two editions of the championship were held behind closed doors, fans were welcomed back for the most prestigious outing on the World Seniors Snooker Tour. 

Former world professional championship quarter-finalist Walker defeated two-time ranking event winner Tony Knowles 3-0 in the first match of the evening. 

Walker claimed the opening frame on the pink, before runs of 66 in both frames two and three saw him set up a date with Stephen Hendry on Friday afternoon.  

Williams also recorded his first victory at the venue stages of this championship as he eliminated Canada’s Bob Chaperon, 3-1. 

The Welshman established a 2-0 lead, although the 1990 British Open champion kept his hopes alive when taking the third frame on the final black. 

However, Williams – aided by an effort of 40 – eventually got across the line to book a meeting with defending champion David Lilley, the man who knocked him out of last year’s edition and at the UK Seniors Championship in January. 

The match between Lee Walker and Tony Knowles was a very one-sided affair, as I expected. Lee is playing at a very high level, as you would expect from someone who only just dropped off the main tour and coaches one of the legends of the sport in Mark Williams. Tony has been out of the game for quite a while and is significantly older too. There was no real contest.

Bob Chaperon, on the other hand, did actually give a good account of himself. The match was closer than the score suggests. Bob’s problem was that he didn’t score well enough. He did compete in the tactical department, but couldn’t make the most of the opportunities he had earned. I can only guess that the conditions were quite alien to him. Philip Williams was his good solid self.


Meet Maria Catalano, the first woman to compete in a Seniors Snooker main event

Maria Catalano will become the first woman to compete in a Seniors Snooker main event when she faces Wael Talaat tomorrow evening.

Steve Jones went to speak to her ahead of the tournament

Ronnie O’Sullivan’s cousin Maria Catalano to make history at World Seniors Snooker Championship

A late call-up for the World Seniors Snooker Championship was just the break history-maker Maria Catalano needed.

The 11-time ranking event winner and former world number one jumped at the chance to become the first woman to take part in the most prestigious event on World Seniors Snooker (WSS) tour, which gets under way at The Crucible today.

Life has been tough for Maria since her dad Antonio’s death in 2018 – and her form on the table suffered as a result.


Maria Catalono will be the first woman to compete in the World Seniors Snooker Championship at The Crucible.

It’s been a constant struggle since then,” she told The Star ahead of her first-round match against Egypt’s Wael Talaat on Thursday.

Dudley-based Maria, now 40, was close to giving up snooker.

But an invite from WSS chairman Jason Francis three weeks ago changed her mind.

She added: “I was finding it difficult to practice, just feeling I was getting nothing out of it. I didn’t practice a lot and my last season’s results speak for themselves.

I feel this opportunity has turned my life a little bit.

Inspiration to perform at the home of snooker will not be in short supply for Maria, who watched her cousin Ronnie O’Sullivan claim his seventh World Championship title on Monday as he became the oldest world champion in Crucible history.

We all watched it as a family, there wasn’t one dry eye in our house,” she said.

We broke down with him. He’s the spitting image of my dad, I see my dad in him a little bit. It was very emotional.

Maria is named after Ronnie’s mum and Ronnie’s middle name, Antonio, comes from Maria’s dad.

I always knew Ronnie was the greatest,” she added.

I can’t believe he’s my cousin sometimes. We used to spend a lot of time together when I was younger. He helped me out a lot.

The prospect of a second-round tie against the legendary Jimmy White also awaits, if Maria can get the better of Talaat over five frames.

To be in the same competition as Jimmy is a dream for me, let alone having the chance to play him,” she said.

But some things are more important than competing.

If this can encourage any lady or girl to play, that’s my aim, to try and promote women in snooker,” Maria said.

It’s still under the radar.

Thank you Steve for this lovely interview.

Good luck Maria!

The 2022 Ways World Seniors Snooker Championship – a preview

The 2022 World Snooker Championship concluded yesterday with the 46 years old Ronnie O’Sullivan winning the title for a seventh time, equalling Stephen Hendry’s record. On the same day, his close friend, and legend of the game, Jimmy White celebrated his 60th birthday and was offered a great Crucible ovation by the snooker fans. This marks the end of the professional season … no more snooker for a while? Snooker blues? NO … the World Seniors Snooker Championship starts tomorrow and the good news is that, no matter where you are in the world, you can watch it,

The Crucible is getting ready once again…

Throughout the tournament, you will be able to follow the scores and results here and on snooker.org .

The tournament features 24 players this time, 8 players are seeded in the second round.

Let’s have a look at the first round draw… the matches are best of 5 in the first two rounds, best of 7 in the quarters and semis, best of 9 in the Final

Bob Chaperon (Canada) v Philip Williams (Wales)

Bob Chaperon is a former professional. He won the 1990 British Open, a ranking event, beating Alex Higgins by 10-8 in the Final. The same year he was part of the Canadian Team that won the World Cup, beating Northern Ireland by 9-5. He has won the Canadian Amateur Championship twice, the second victory coming as recently as 2019. Bob had won a qualifying event for the 2019 Seniors World Championship, but was unable to participate… now he gets his chance.

Philip Williams has been a constant, and strong presence on the Seniors Tour over the last years.

Winner to play David Lilley, the defending Champion

Darren Morgan (Wales) v Patrick Wallace (Northern Ireland)

Both players are former professionals and both have had significant success on the Seniors Tour in recent years. Both have been in the final of the World Seniors Championship in its present form: Patrick lost to Aaron Canavan in 2018, Darren lost to Jimmy White in 2019. This is a very hard first round draw for both of them.

I slightly favour Darren to win this one, Darren has qualified ten times for the Crucible as a professional, he reached the semi-finals in 1994 – beating Mark King, Willie Thorne and John Parrott, the number 2 seed, en route – and made it to the quater-finals in three more occasions. He still plays regularly and has a very strong temperament.

Winner to play Michael Holt

Lee Walker (Wales) v Tony Knowles (England)

Lee Walker played as a professional this season. He is Mark Williams coach and friend. He’s a very methodical, reliable, solid player.

Tony Knowles is a former professional, twice a ranking event winner and three times a Crucible semi-finalist. Tony is most famous for beating Steve Davis by 10-1 in the first round of the 1982 World Championship, when Davis was the first-time defending Champion. Tony loves snooker with a passion, and will tell you countless annecdotes and stories about his sport and his fellow pros … you could listen to him for hours. He still can play – brilliantly in patches – but consistency is a bit of an issue.

I expect Lee to win this one, and Tony to get the crowd on his side. Especially the ladies…😉

Winner to play Stephen Hendry

Ahmed Aly Elsayed (USA) v Wayne Cooper (England)

Ahmed is a multiple USA snooker champion and qualified for this event by winning the pan-American Seniors Snooker Championship in November 2021. I haver never seen him play, so can’t comment on his style or strengths.

Wayne Cooper has been a strong presence on the Seniors Tour over the last couple of years. He’s a former professional but has never got much success on the main tour.

Winner to play Ken Doherty

Wael Talaat (Egypt) v Maria Catalano (England) 

Now here is an intriguing one…

Wael Talaat qualified for the main Tour in 2016 … but I can’t remember him playing during that season at all. He had turned pro previously, in 1998, didn’t win a match all season and was relegated. The level of snooker in Africa isn’t as good as in other parts of the World of course. That doesn’t sound very promising. That said, Wael is very well respected in his country, and in North Africa in general. His dedication to snooker and his talents as a coach are praised by many.

Maria Catalano … is Ronnie’s cousin. She’s played very regularly on the women’s tour and, for many years, was second only to Reanne Evans. She’s very similar to Ronnie in her style – she goes for her shots – and, on form, she’s a very good break builder. In recent years however, family circumstances  have limited her opportunities to play and practice. I’m sure though that she will prepare the best she can for this occasion.

I could, and maybe should, stay on the fence here but… I’ll go for Maria.

Winner to play Jimmy White

Rory McLeod (Jamaïca) v Frank Sarsfield (Ireland)

Rory played as a professional this season; he has beaten Luca Brecel, Liang Wenbo and Dominic Dale in the last year. He’s a rather slow player, and doesn’t take too many risks, but he certainly can play and, make no mistake, he has his chances in this event. Rory has often been criticised for not shaking hands with female referees. I have met Rory many times, and he’s a lovely person. As a woman myself, I certainly never felt awkward in Rory’s company. He’s respectful, and warm… he just doesn’t express it in the West European conventional way.

I must confess that I know nothing about Frank Sarsfield other than the fact that he reached the final at the EBSA Seniors Champinship in Portugal in 2021 and this earned him his place in this draw…

Winner to play Joe Johnson

Nigel Bond (England) v Stuart Watson (England)

Now this could be a very good match.

Nigel Bond only just retired, having lost his professional tour card a few weeks ago. He decided not to go to the Q-school and to devote himself to coaching. Nigel turned pro in 1989 and never fell off the tour until 2022 … that’s 33 years as a pro. Nigel is a very shrewd player. He’s also quite competitive. He won the 1998 British Open… beat John Higgins in a decider. He made the Final at the Crucible in 1995, losing to Stephen Hendry at his peak  … His problem in recent years is that he doesn’t score as heavily as he used to do.

Stuart Watson is a very solid player who takes every opportunity to play: Seniors Tour, Q-Tour, Amateur events … you name it. He has done very well on the Seniors tour.

I still think that Nigel will have too much for Stuart.

Winner to play John Parrott

Michael Judge (Ireland) v Gary Filtness (London 😉)

Michael Judge also played on the main tour this season. He hasn’t got much success overall which surprised me a bit. He’s only won two matches. That said, the flat draw system is brutal: he had to face the likes of Mark Williams, Judd Trump, Ricky Walden and Mark Allen in first round matches. Michael can play very well indeed, but I’m not sure his confidence is there at the moment.

Gary Filtness … is Gary Filtness. He is a character, he’s a coach, he’s a Londoner through and through and wears his heart on his sleeve. He has been thriving in the Super Seniors events. He has also suffered a lot because of back injuries…

I think that despite a difficult season Michael will have too much for Gary.

Winner to play Peter Lines

Now, very briefly… a word about the players seeded in the second round who I believe might be particularly vulnerable:

  • Stephen Hendry might struggle if he faces Lee Walker. Stephen hasn’t convinced on the rare occasions he played over the last couple of seasons and neither Lee’s style nor Lee’space will suit Stephen
  • Joe Johnson will turn 70 in July. He still knows the game inside out but his cue action isn’t as reliable as it once was.
  • John Parrott has done very little on the Seniors Tour so far. I’m not sure he practices or plays much nowadays. I can’t see him win over Nigel Bond if Nigel is the one emerging from the first round.