What the Butler Saw

Last week it was reported that Andy Murray and Serena Williams would both be up for a one off, dream match for the tennis fans around the world. If it were to happen I would imagine it would regenerate the buzz of the “Women in Sport” debate.

But for those of you who have listened to previous Severn Sport shows (live on Radio Winchcombe) you would know that I am a big proprietor for women in sport and have even expressed my theory on the possibility of women taking on men in the world of sport.
This argument led to the famous radio feature of “Butler’s Beef” being born, a segment where I like to express my feelings on news stories or incidents of that week (Yes, people posting stupid comments about the weather and seeing Christmas adverts on the TV in June are relevant and valid beefs even though they aren’t sport related). The talk of women in sport came up due to the furore of Sir Stirling Moss stating that “Women lack the mental aptitude to compete in Formula 1.” A statement that takes jokes and lines about women drivers to the extreme and broadcasts it to the public, its controversial and pretty wrong.

Even if it is years away till we see women donning a helmet and racing against the likes of Lewis Hamilton or Fernando Alonso. Hey, they will probably have been long gone since then, but one success story that is still being told is that of the 9 time WLBSA (World Ladies Billiards and Snooker Association) World Champion Reanne Evans.
A talented player whom I have talked about and mentioned on the radio since the days of “Sport Saturday Live” on Severn FM, Evans is a fine example of not just women in sport but women playing and beating men in sports.
I have been fortunate enough to see Reanne play twice, with the most recent time being at the ProAm Pink Ribbon tournament at the South West Snooker Academy this past weekend. Despite the fact she lost to Michael White (another player who I think has the potential to be the Real Deal) Reanne made some nice breaks and was punished by good break building from White and threatened to perform a miraculous comeback.

Each time Evans plays in a tournament however she gets better, always learning and always improving. In fact, a matter of two months ago she set another record and a benchmark for all aspiring female snooker players by qualifying for the 2013 Wuxi Classic and becoming the first female snooker player to qualify for a ranking snooker tournament. And I’m sure it will not be the last time Reanne Evans will be amongst the qualifiers for a ranking event.

So a realistic summary would be that women can match men step for step in sports like snooker, darts and potentially F1 (although we would have to see it first) I don’t think we will ever see mixed teams in professional football or rugby, there are success stories out there of women achieving parity whilst playing against men, proving that it can be done.

At this time I would like to end with two things. Firstly, I and the rest of the Severn Sport team would like to thank the South West Snooker Academy for their hospitality over the weekend, and I personally feel that more people should go there and witness the great job everyone is doing in helping Paul Mount achieve something special in the snooker world.

And lastly, I would like to wish professional snooker player Ali Carter all the best and a speedy recovery after it was announced he has been diagnosed with testicular cancer. A fine player, an even better man and one of my favourites.

Get well soon Ali!

Ryan Butler