HAMPSHIRE golden girl Suzie Opacic has been given a major boost in her bid to climb the women’s world snooker rankings.

The 29-year-old from Bishopstoke will be financially backed by Billiards Boutique, an online supplier of cue sports equipment based on Portland.

Opacic said: “The sponsorship that Billiards Boutique is offering me enables me to practise more, play more, travel to tournaments and really keep pushing in the ladies’ game.”

And the world number eight added: “The game has seen a huge surge in the last year or two with ladies’ snooker getting the backing of World Snooker.

“Tournaments used to always be in the UK but now they are moving abroad and that widens the appeal of the ladies’ game.

“You need the backing to play on the circuit and hopefully I can push up the rankings.”

Billiards Boutique owner Pete Williams, who “dabbles” at snooker, said: “I was playing nine-ball pool on the British circuit – not to any particular standard – and I thought it would be a great idea to import some of the American stuff.

“It soon transpired that there wasn’t that much of a market for the American game over here. That’s still the case, sadly.

“So I had to diversify and that’s when snooker equipment came along.”

Opacic’s highest ever World Ladies Billiards and Snooker (WLBS) ranking was fifth.

Two years ago, WLBS was taken back under the wing of World Snooker and received increased sponsorship.

They took the 2017 world championships to Singapore where the total prize fund was £15,000.

In contrast, the pros in the World Championship this year were competing for a slice of a £1.75m prize pot.