Lilly Meldrum and Denise Wilkinson claimed national snooker titles earlier this month in the Oceania region.
Meldrum halted the dominance of defending seven-time champion Jessica Woods after defeating her in the final to win the Australian National Women’s Snooker Championship held at the Commercial Club in Albury.
The promising 15-year-old – a finalist in last year’s World Under-21 Women’s Snooker Championship – began the event by winning all her group matches 2-0 as she came top of Group A and advanced to the knockout rounds.
The Tasmanian cueist then eliminated Dianne Spring 3-0 in the quarter-finals, and Julie Watson 4-1 in the last four to reach the final for the first time in her career.
Woods had won seven of the previous eight national championships; in 2017 she did not play in the event. Like Meldrum, Woods dropped just one frame en route to the title match – in the semi-finals when she defeated Carlie Tait 4-1.
The 29-year-old looked on course for four consecutive titles for the second time as she established a 2-0 lead in the final. However, Meldrum was not to be denied as she strung together the next four frames to add her name to a roll of honour that stretches back to 1975, and in the process became the youngest champion in the event’s history.
Earlier this year at the same venue, Meldrum also won the Australian under-18 and under-21 snooker titles. The teenager nearly added another national championship prior to the most recent snooker event when she made the final of the Australian National Women’s Billiards Championship, although that accolade went to Watson who won the title decider 184-133.
On the other side of the Tasman Sea, Wilkinson was the winner of the 2023 New Zealand National Women’s Snooker Championship held at Cuthberts Green in Christchurch.
The 33-year-old went through the entire tournament without losing a frame. She won all three of her group matches 2-0 before defeating Jade Cullen 2-0, Corien Simpson 3-0 and 2016 champion Agnes Kimura 3-0 in the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final, respectively.