QUEEN potter Kim O’Brien is hoping she can shine on the big stage when the Greene King World Ladies Snooker Championship descends on her hometown this weekend (writes Mark Williams).
The 47-year-old cueist, who has lived in Bury St Edmunds all her life, is a pool player by nature – and an extremely good one at that, with a string of international titles to her name.
But, O’Brien is determined to give the snooker stars – and six-time world champion Reanne Evans in particular – a run for their money.
“It all depends on the draw of course, but I would love to reach a quarter- final place if I possibly can,” said Suffolk Ladies pool captain O’Brien. “It is good that the event is coming to Bury and I am looking forward to it.
“I am not actually that nervous. I am relaxed because when I play snooker, there is very little expectancy on me to do that well and so the pressure is off in that respect.”
The two-time European pool champion and Irish international suffered a major setback last month following the death of her long-term friend David Tolhurst - a regular at Pot Black Snooker Club in Bury.
“Obviously I was really upset,” said O’Brien. “David was a good friend, a practice partner and my biggest supporter. He was a lovely man and he was probably the reason why I won those two European titles.”
The ladies, including Ronnie O’ Sullivan’s cousin and world number two Maria Catalano, will compete in group qualifying this weekend for the right to enter the full event that starts on Monday.
Leading the overseas threat is Hong Kong’s impressive 20-year-old Ng On Yee - the two-time IBSF World Champion. Spearheading the European challenge is Latvian number one Tatjana Vasiljeva and eight-time German national champion Natascha Niermann.
O’Brien is also poised to compete in the World Mixed Pairs, which both breaks off and finishes today.
Main tour men’s professional Joe Perry is defending champion, while fellow pros Michael Holt and Martin Gould will also compete.
O’Brien is set to partner Pot Black owner Andy Goodridge.
The round robin stage of the women’s main competition starts at 10am tomorrow with the final scheduled for noon on Wednesday. The winner will pocket £1,000.
There will also be doubles and billiard events.