EMMA BONNEY hopes home comforts can help her see off an international line-up when Fareham Snooker Club hosts the Southern Classic on Saturday.
The Portsmouth cueist and world number three goes into the tournament as second favourite.
And despite the event boasting a host of top players from around the world, Bonney’s biggest threat will come from top seed Maria Catalano, from Dudley.
The world number one, who is the cousin of snooker great Ronnie O’Sullivan, beat Bonney in the final the last time the World Ladies’ Billiards & Snooker Association (WLBSA) circuit played in Fareham when she lifted the Connie Gough National Championship back in March.
Catalano is going for her third title of the season but knows she will face a tough test from Bonney, whose chances have been further boosted by the absence of seven-time world champion Reanne Evans.
Organisers of the weekend’s competition are delighted to add Hong Kong quartet Ng On Yee, Jaique Ip Wan In, So Man Yan and Yu Ching Ching to the line-up for the fourth leg of the WLBSA tour.
Also in the 17-strong cast are Iranian Anna Sanei and Natascha Niermann, from Germany.
The youngest player in the draw, which takes place at 10am on Saturday, is the phenomenal Woking schoolgirl Jasmine Bolsover, who celebrated her 12th birthday last month.
Last season’s Southern Classic in Swindon was won by Evans, who beat Catalano 3-0 in the final.
n Don’t miss The News next Tuesday for a full report and pictures from the Southern Classic.
And for all the latest from the local snooker scene, pick up Saturday’s Sports Mail.