Forget horseracing – the world of snooker is the latest sport to embrace women and launch a dedicated ladies’ day in Sheffield.
For the first time, the sport’s World Championship – which breaks off at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre on Saturday – is holding a dedicated Ladies’ Day.
Taking place next Friday, April 26, the aim is to get more women involved in snooker – following in the footsteps of players such as Allison Fisher and referees such as Michaela Tabb, who took charge of last year’s final at the Crucible.
Jason Ferguson, chairman of snooker governing body WPBSA, said: “We’re keen to get more women involved with snooker, and that’s why we decided to stage ladies’ day during the World Championship for the first time.
“Snooker is one of the few sports with total fairness in terms of who can participate.
“Anyone can play on the World Snooker tour, regardless of age, nationality or gender.
“There have been some excellent women players over the years and we would love to see more take up our sport.”
The day also aims to raise money for World Snooker’s official charity – Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice in North Anston.
There will be a purple theme –the colour of Bluebell Wood’s logo – with fans urged to join Mrs Tabb in wearing purple on the day.
Purple cakes and cocktails will also be on sale in the venue, with 50p from each sale to go to charity.
There will also be free coaching for women in CueZone in the Winter Garden, provided by top women players.
Mr Ferguson said: “There’s no reason why women can’t succeed in snooker.
“It’s purely a matter of getting more women participating in the sport at grass roots level, and through the WPBSA’s sports development plan and the introduction of ‘Cue Zone in Schools’ we expect to see a significant increase in interest.
“That is important to us in terms of growing the sport on a global scale and it will also play its part in us achieving our aspirations in becoming an Olympic sport.
“Hopefully Ladies’ Day will capture the imagination of women and encourage them to get involved in snooker, get down to their local club, get some coaching and improve their game.”
n Stars of the sport will be swapping the snooker table for the card table to take part in a poker event in Sheffield.
The Grosvenor G Casino, Duchess Road, is to host a two-day poker tournament on Sunday and Monday, May 5 and 6, to coincide with the World Championship final.
The no-limit hold’em tournament event – which is open to anyone with a £500 stake per person and £50 entry fee – will raise money for Bluebell Wood.
And legends from the snooker world will be making appearances at the tables.
Six-time world champion Steve Davis, who is hoping to play a few hands, said: “It’s going to be a lot of fun and the great thing about poker is that anyone can win, given a bit of luck and a steady hand.”