World Women’s Snooker Championship 2022 – Nutchurat Wonharuthai produces stunning comeback to claim crown and tour card

    Nutcharut Wongharuthai survived an extraordinary final against Wendy Jans to win her first World Women’s Snooker Championship crown.

    The Thai player knocked home the final black to seal a gripping, marathon victory, producing a stunning fight-back from 5-3 down to take the match in Sheffield in the deciding frame.

    With the win, Wongharuthai earns a two-year card on the World Snooker Tour.

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    The 22-year-old had been beaten by Reanne Evans in the final of the 2019 edition of this competition, the last before a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

    And it looked for a long while like the starlet would again be disappointed as her Belgian opponent turned the screw, moving to within a frame of the match.

    But in a chaotic final frame, Jans was forced to attempt a tricky long pot on the black, missing by a distance and affording Wongharuthai the opportunity to roll it in to the center pocket and claim the Mandy Fisher Trophy.

    Having stunned the extraordinary Evans, 12-time winner and defending champion, in the last eight, Jans then beat surprise package Jamie Hunter to progress to her first final, while Wongharuthai had followed victory over three-time champion Ng On-yee with a convincing win against Rebecca Kenna to reach the final.

    Either Evans or On-yee had won every edition of the World Championship since 2005.

    The first frame was a long battle of nerve and tactics, with neither player able to build a significant score, setting the tone for a cagey affair.

    It came down to pink and black, with Wongharuthai able to pot both and take a 1-0 lead.

    Jans hit back, a break of 31 helping her to level proceedings, before her Thai opponent edged another back-and-forth frame to restore her narrow advantage.

    But the Belgian was primed for a break of real substance, assembling a delightful 84. Frames five and six followed either side of the mid-session interval to cement Jans’ ascendancy.

    Wongharuthai was able to peg her back, but breaks of 30 and 39 moved the 38-year-old, a seven-time IBSF world champion, to within a frame of the match.

    Yet back came Wongharuthai. The Thai player had found his safety range, and though unable to cultivate a frame-winning contribution was able to regularly force Jans into a predicament, capitalizing on a foul to level the match at 5-5 and force a decider.

    With the match on the line, Wongharuthai was first among the balls, but missed a color to end her break in its formative stages; Jans’ reply was ended by a missed red.

    After his opponent had squandered two more promising chances, Jans produced a simply magnificent long pot, somehow directing a red tight to the cushion for the corner with pinpoint precision.

    It was the sort of shot that deserved to tee up the match-winning pot, but the final red sat nestled – Jans’ effort with the rest could only rattle the jaws.

    In went the red from Wongharuthai’s cue, and a lovely brown to the center left the Belgian seeking a snooker.

    In truth, Jans always looked likely to find it, potting yellow and green to narrow the margin before cleverly ducking in behind the black leaving the brown in centre-table – Wongharuthai erred.

    And yet the drama was somehow not done. In attempting to extricate herself from a snooker, the Thai player had knocked the black far from its spot, and Jans left plenty of table between the cue ball and the deciding black after potting the pink.

    Perhaps the victim of an ill-timed kick, Jans missed, the balls running invitingly to the center of the table for Wongharuthai to knock home championship ball, and secure the biggest victory of his career to date.

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