Mary Talbot-Deegan ended a 29-year wait for her maiden world ranking title after she dramatically defeated Jamie Hunter 4-3 to win the Eden Women’s Masters at Frames Sports Bar, London.
The breakthrough victory represents the biggest success of Talbot-Deegan’s career to date as she joins an elite band of Reanne Evans, Ng On Yee and Mink Nutcharut to have won the prestigious event since it was introduced to the calendar in 2013.
The 43-year-old returned to the World Women’s Snooker Tour in September 2021 following a break of 19 years from competition and becomes the fourth different ranking event winner of the 2023/24 season so far.
Talbot-Deegan also becomes the first ever player to have won WWS titles at Main, Under-21, Seniors and Challenge Cup level throughout her career and completes a career-best 2023 which also saw her lift the World Women’s Seniors title for the first time in Thailand earlier this year.
Having topped her round robin group stage with victories against Laura Killington, Gillian Hayes and debutant Shabnam Younus-Jewell, Talbot-Deegan overcame Sophie Nix, Tessa Davidson and Sarah Dunn to reach her first-ever ranking event final, eclipsing her run to the last four of the US Open in 2022.
Awaiting her in the title match would be two-time ranking event winner and world number five Jamie Hunter, who progressed with victories against Laura Killington, Jasmine Bolsover and most notably current professional Rebecca Kenna 4-2 in the semi-finals. The win against Kenna ensures that the pair will swap places in the world rankings with Hunter set to climb to a career-high fourth.
In a match that would feature high-quality safety play throughout, it was Talbot-Deegan who claimed the early advantage at 2-1 and a significant lead in the third frame, only for Hunter to hit back with a clearance of 39 to restore parity at 2-2.
Hunter added the fifth and looked set to complete a green to black clearance in frame six to secure her third ranking crown, but a missed pink was to prove a crucial turning point as Talbot-Deegan duly potted the final two balls to force a deciding-frame.
Both players would have chances, but it was Talbot-Deegan who maintained her composure to pot the final pink and seal a milestone victory almost 30 years from her debut at the 1994 World Championship.
The success would complete a perfect weekend for the English player as she also compiled the highest break of the weekend with her run of 84 during her semi-final win against Sarah Dunn, while her performance in the main competition will also see her climb to a new career-high world ranking of number six following the event.
“It feels amazing, I am buzzing,” said Talbot-Deegan following the final. “I always believed that I could win a title, I didn’t think this soon, but I’m on top of the world at the minute. I’ve put in a lot of hard work and am really enjoying it.
“I would like to thank everyone who has supported me including Frames Sports Bar and its owner Tony Thompson, my family, friends and Mandy [Fisher] and Matt [Huart] from WWS who have been really supportive. And all the girls on Tour who have been so supportive, that’s what I love.
“It means everything, to do it here and to hold myself together. I’ve never done it before, won a major tournament so I proved that I can do it, I didn’t bottle it and I’m really proud of myself.”
The Under-21 competition was won by Scotland’s Sophie Nix as the 15-year-old edged out England’s Zoe Killington in a deciding frame to earn her first ever junior title.
The top ranked duo each progressed to the final following narrow semi-final wins against Ellise Scott and Laura Killington respectively, before Nix won the title to improve upon her final runs at last season’s Scottish Open and British Open events.
In the Seniors tournament there was a repeat winner as Tessa Davidson downed Sarah Dunn 2-0 to complete the successful defence of the Masters title that she won for the first time 12 months ago. Victories against Gillian Hayes, Annamaria Wilkins and Dunn were enough to earn her seventh Seniors title from the past two years and consolidate her position at the head of the ranking list.
The Six-Red Challenge Cup tournament for players who did not reach the knockout stages welcomed a first-time champion as Mariia Shevchenko defeated Sarah Milne to claim a popular win. Competing in her first tournament since the 2022 World Championship, Shevchenko toppled Gillian Hayes, Annamaria Wilkins, Emma Powers-Richardson and finally Milne to secure the title.
Finally, there was further success for Mary Talbot-Deegan at the very start of the event, after she edged out Tessa Davidson in the heldover final of the UK Seniors Championship from September to complete a title double in Coulsdon.
World Women’s Snooker would like to thank event sponsors Eden Resources, our host venue Frames Sports Bar and Parris Cues – who donated a number of cue care gift bags for players – for their wonderful support of the event once again in 2023.
The WWS Tour continues in January with the staging of the Belgian Women’s Open at The Trickshot, Bruges. The event runs from 19-21 January 2024 and entry remains open via WPBSA SnookerScores.