Today marked a historic day for snooker as play started at the first-ever World Snooker Federation Championships at Malta’s Dolmen Hotel.
The Championships were formally launched ahead of Wednesday’s opening session with a welcome ceremony led by WSF General Secretary and Competition Manager Maxime Cassis, together with WSF Vice-Chairman Nigel Mawer and World Ladies Billiards and Snooker President Mandy Fisher.
Play then began with action from the 37th staging of the WLBS World Women’s Snooker Championship and the inaugural WSF Seniors Championship events. Both tournaments will run across four days, ahead of the start of the mixed gender event on Sunday.
Both the Women’s and Seniors competitions carry a top prize of €6,000, with the eight quarter-finalists of each event to earn their place in the mixed gender event which will offer the winner the opportunity to play at the professional World Championship qualifiers in Sheffield, England, next month.
There was a strong start to the tournament for many of the top seeded players in the World Women’s Snooker Championship event as the likes of defending champion Ng On Yee and 11-time winner Reanne Evans opened with convincing victories in Malta.
Evans began the day with a 3-0 win against Brazil’s Fatima Gusso Rigoni, including top breaks of 61, 48, 38 and 35, before On Yee took to the baize in the final session to whitewash Poland’s Ewelina Piślewska.
Welshman Darren Morgan made an impressive start to his latest quest for international glory with a high-scoring opening victory against Bulgaria’s Boris Lazarkov.
The former world professional number eight hit breaks of 124, 77, 50 and 41 to underline his credentials as one of the tournament favourites.
Among the other winners on day one included former Grand Prix semi-finalist Michael Judge (whose sister Paula is also in Malta competing in the women’s event), and Iceland’s Kristján Helgason who had runs of 65, 58 and 43 during a 3-0 success against England’s Colin White.
It was also a strong start to the competition for host country Malta, with several of their players including Simon Zammit, Jason Peplow and Frans Abdilla winning their openers.
The WSF Championships continue with the final round robin matches of both events on Thursday, with the top two players from each group progressing to the knockout rounds.