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Catalano clinches fourth Connie Gough title
Five days after turning 30, Catalano swept past Hong Kong star Jaique Ip Wan In to claim the Connie Gough Memorial trophy at Jesters Snooker Hall, Swindon.
Her 3-0 victory avenged a last-16 defeat in last month’s Southern Classic.
“I owed her that one,” laughed Catalano.
It was her third title this season on the World Ladies Billiards & Snooker Association tour and an eighth in total.
But it’s the Connie Gough, which she also won three times between 2006 and 2008, that she holds dear to her heart.
“It’s the Connie Gough,” declared Catalano. “It’s always been a special tournament because it’s a memorial one for Julie’s (Hemingway) mum. And I love Julie to bits. So to do well in this means a lot.
“I spoke to Julie this morning and she wished me all the best and said she hoped I’d win it.”
There was no easy return to the circuit for seven-time world champion Reanne Evans, who had been laid low with pleurisy.
The Connie Gough champion for the last three years came up against Catalano in the preliminary round and lost 3-2.
Catalano, from Dudley, West Midlands, said: “It’s always good to play Reanne. We’ve had some good matches over the years.
“Obviously, to beat Reanne is always a great achievement. (The circuit) needs players like Reanne.”
Ip Wan In, also a beaten finalist at the Southern Classic, accounted for world number eight Katie Henrick 3-2 in the last-four.
In the second semi, Catalano overcame Ip Wan In’s compatriot Ng On Yee 3-0. Ng had beaten Southern Classic champion Emma Bonney 3-0 in the last-16.
Evans, who had slipped to joint third in the rankings with pregnant Vicky Carter, did return to winning ways in the Plate.
The 26-year-old from Dudley, West Midlands, compiled a 91 break against the home club’s Jodie Symes and rounded off eight winning frames with a 2-0 victory over Tina Owen-Sevilton (Somerset) in the final.
Jan Hughes (St Neots, Cambs) picked up her first Seniors (40+) trophy of the season, beating Gaye Jones (Melksham, Wilts) in the final.
And Hampshire’s Suzie Opacic defeated Symes to collect the Shield (under-40) trophy.
The sixth and final leg of the 2011/12 WLBSA tour is the Greene King World Championships in Bury St Edmunds in April.
PRELIM: Jodie Symes beat Chris Sharpe 3-1, Jaique Ip Wan In (47) beat Martina Lumsden 3-0, Katie Henrick (46) beat Suzie Opacic 3-0, Vicky Carter beat Gaye Jones 3-0, Natascha Niermann beat Jenny Poulter 3-1, Maria Catalano beat Reanne Evans (40, 63) 3-2.
LAST-16: Hannah Jones (30) beat Symes 3-0, Ip Wan In beat Tina Owen-Sevilton 3-1, Henrick beat Jasmine Bolsover 3-0, Ng On Yee beat Emma Bonney 3-0, Yu Ching Ching (33) beat Marianne Williams 3-0, Carter beat Eva Palmius 3-1, Niermann beat Jan Hughes 3-0, Catalano beat So Man Yan 3-1.
QUARTER-FINALS: Ip Wan In (27, 64, 34) beat H Jones 3-0, Henrick (27) beat Ng 3-2, Yu (33) beat Carter 3-0, Catalano beat Niermann 3-1.
SEMI-FINALS (£50): Ip Wan In (30) beat Henrick 3-2, Catalano beat Yu 3-0.
FINAL (£150/£100): Catalano (41) beat Ip Wan In 3-0.
QUARTER-FINAL: Jan Hughes beat Jenny Poulter 1-0, Marianne Williams beat Martina Lumsden 1-0.
SEMI-FINALS: Hughes beat Chris Sharpe 1-0, Gaye Jones beat Williams 1-0.
FINAL: Hughes beat Jones 1-0.
LAST-16: Martina Lumsden beat Gaye Jones 2-0, Suzie Opacic beat Marianne Williams 2-1, Jenny Poulter beat Chris Sharpe 2-1, Reanne Evans (91) beat Jodie Symes 2-0, Jan Hughes beat Jasmine Bolsover 2-0.
QUARTER-FINALS: Tina Owen-Sevilton beat Lumsden 2-0, Eva Palmius (40) beat Opacic 2-0, Evans beat Poulter 2-0, So Man Yan beat Hughes 2-0.
SEMI-FINALS: Owen-Sevilton beat Palmius 2-1, Evans beat So 2-0.
FINAL (£25/£15): Evans beat Owen-Sevilton 2-0.
SEMI-FINALS: Jodie Symes beat Hannah Jones 1-0, Suzie Opacic beat Vicky Carter 1-0,
FINAL: Opacic beat Symes 1-0.