I’m going to show people that ladies with glasses can play snooker too! Women’s World No 2 Ng On-yee relishes teaming up with Judd Trump for the World Mixed Doubles in Milton Keynes this weekend
- For the first time since 1991, snooker is organizing a large mixed doubles event
- The world’s top four men and women will all be in action this weekend
- Women’s No. 2 Ng On-yee recently beat 1997 world champion Ken Doherty
- She was once up 6-2 in a practice match with Ronnie O’Sullivan, but lost 10-7
The budding rivalry between snooker’s top two resumes this weekend. Only the circumstances couldn’t be more different than the last time they shared a table.
When Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump met in May, they wore vests in a best-of-35 World Championship final at the Crucible Theatre.
This weekend they will be in polo shirts for a four-frame round-robin match at Milton Keynes’ Marshall Arena.
Oh, and they’ll be playing with a female partner.
Women’s No. 2 Ng On-yee recently (above) beat 1997 world champion Ken Doherty
- Four teams play a four-frame match against every other team, with one point for each frame. Players will alternate visits to the table – not alternate shots.
- The top two in the group stage play a best-of-seven final.
Ronnie O’Sullivan (1, England) and Reanne Evans (1, England)
Judd Trump (2, England) and Ng On Yee (2, Hong Kong)
Mark Selby (3, England) and Rebecca Kenna (4, England)
Neil Robertson (4, Australia) and Mink Nutcharut (3, Thailand)
HOW TO SEE
- Four sessions, today and tomorrow at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
- The first three sessions feature two group matches with all eight players, before the final – tomorrow at
- Afternoon matches live on ITV.
- Evening sessions live on ITV4.
For the first time since 1991 – when Trump was just 18 months old – snooker is staging a major mixed doubles event, with the world’s top four men and women in action. O’Sullivan will play women’s No.1 Reanne Evans, while Trump has been paired with Ng On-yee, who recently beat 1997 world champion Ken Doherty.
The other teams see Mark Selby along with Rebecca Kenna and Neil Robertson along with women’s world champion Mink Nutcharut.
And Trump is aiming to emulate Steve Davis, who won with Allison Fisher in snooker’s only other tournament of its kind at the World Masters 31 years ago.
“As a new event, everybody wants to be the first couple to win it,” Trump told Sportsmail. “It’s such a great opportunity for all of us to showcase what we can do.
“There’s going to be a bit of extra pressure because you don’t want to let your partner down, but I’m sure the best players can enjoy that. It’s going to be pretty fun.’
The World Mixed Doubles will be live on ITV, with the four pairs playing against each other over four frames in a round robin, with the top two progressing to a best-of-seven final. Team members will make alternate visits to the table instead of playing alternate strokes. It is the latest attempt by World Snooker to promote the women’s game, with Evans and Ng carded to play on the main tour last year and Kenna and Nutcharut joining this season.
“This event is especially good for the women to have the opportunity to play on mainstream TV and hopefully help the women’s game take off even more,” says Trump No. 2.
“For them to be able to learn from greats like Ronnie up close, and to play with the pressure of TV, it can only be a good experience.
Ng will partner Judd Trump at the World Mixed Doubles in Milton Keynes this weekend
“If women are seen on TV and it looks cool, hopefully it will inspire a future generation. If girls take up the sport from a young age, you will eventually have female players who manage to break into the top 50 in the rankings.
Trump’s partner Ng has already proved she can mix it with the men, beating China’s Wu Yize in February and then Doherty in British Open qualifying last month. Now the 31-year-old is excited to take on seven-time Crucible winner O’Sullivan, who she once ran close to in a practice match.
“I met Ronnie for breakfast once,” Ng recalls over Zoom from Hong Kong. “I went back to my hotel room and he stopped me. I was surprised because I never thought he would know who I was.
“He offered to have a practice match with me in London. I lost 10-7, but I was ahead 6-2. After we finished, he gave me some advice about my game.
“The only way to improve your game faster is to play with the top players, so there’s nothing better than playing or teaming with the top four men.
NG was once ahead 6-2 in a practice match with Ronnie O’Sullivan, but eventually lost 10-7
“With such a big stage, I think this could attract more young ladies to get involved in the sport and realize it’s not just a male sport – even ladies with glasses can play snooker!”
At the World Mixed Doubles, Ng and Trump will wear the same colored polo shirts, designed by London tailor McCann Bespoke, in a move away from snooker’s traditional dress code.
For Trump, the concept of the event is a step in the right direction for a sport he has often criticized for being stuck in the past.
“I just feel like the people running the game at the top are a bit out of date,” adds the 2019 world champion.
“People who have grown up in the last 10 or 15 years have a completely different view of how they want to dress, how they look at the sport.”