WALES hosts its first major billiards tournament in nearly a decade this weekend when some of the best players in the world descend on Redz Snooker Club in Cwmbran.

The WBSA Rosetta Sports Welsh Open takes place over the course of Saturday and Sunday at the popular Torfaen venue.

Nine of the world’s top 20 cuemen, including Singapore’s number one ranked Peter Gilchrist, feature in a field of 46, which also contains four female players.

A round-robin on day one will be followed on day two by the knockout stages of a competition that has a total prize pot of more than £2,000.

Gwent’s Wales international Alex Donne has organised the event with the help of the Welsh Billiards and Snooker Association, and he is among those bidding for glory this weekend.

Explaining how it all came about, he said: “I’ve started playing in World Billiards events in Leeds and I played in the British Open in Bradford last year.

“I noticed that there is the English Open, Irish Open, Scottish Open and Jersey Open but not a Welsh Open.

“The last time it was played was in Prestatyn eight or nine years ago, so I started organising one to be held in Cwmbran this year.

“The Welsh Billiards and Snooker Association helped a lot with the sponsorship side of things, and it all came together for this weekend.

“We’ve got some of the best players coming, one of which is Peter Gilchrist who just won the Thailand Open and is in really good form.”

He continued: “We’re trying to increase participation in Wales.

"We’ve got a couple of entries for the tournament, and it’s free for people to come and watch.

“The round-robin runs from 10am to 8pm and the knockout phase takes place on Sunday, and there’s a Plate competition for those who don’t get through their group.”

It was in this newspaper nearly two years ago that Donne made a plea for more people to give billiards a go.

And while numbers have risen, Donne wants to make a renewed call in a bid to see participation increase further.

“We are trying to get more people interested in billiards,” he added.

“People have been coming out of the woodwork, and the numbers at tournaments on the World Billiards circuit is increasing.

“The Thailand Open and Canadian Open were live streamed and there was interest in those, but I’d like to see numbers increasing further.”

Donne is the first, and only, qualified World Billiards coach from Wales, and he is happy to give advice to anyone looking for a way into the sport.

He would also like to thank Welsh Open sponsors Palace Windows, Phoenix Hire and Sales and Gary Hitchens Landscaping.

For more information, including coaching advice, email