Lynne Pinches, who forfeited a tournament final on Sunday after refusing to face her transgender opponent, claims she did so out of ‘honesty’ as her son hails her as ‘the champion’.
Pinches bowed out of the final of the Women’s Champions of Champions pool tournament in Denbighshire, Wales this weekend, where she was due to play Harriet Haynes.
Pinches took her lag shot to officially start the encounter, but shortly afterwards shook hands with Haynes and the referee, took away her cue and left the arena – a Pontins in Prestatyn.
Haynes was left surprised, but ultimately took the crown, with Pinches finishing second as a result of her decision, although her son was quick to praise her decision.
Since her bold statement to withdraw from what was only her fourth final ever, Pinches has spoken out about her decision, claiming she made a statement about the fairness of allowing transgender athletes to compete against birth women .
Lynne Pinches finished second in a pool tournament after withdrawing from the final before the first frame
“Finishing was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in the game in my life,” she said the Telegraph.
“I’ve played for thirty years and never gotten a frame, let alone a match. This was only my fourth final ever, but the trophy or the money meant nothing to me without honesty, and I said so to the tournament director afterwards.”
‘For me it’s not about the money, the title or the trophy. I care about honesty. If they hadn’t done that U-turn, we wouldn’t be here right now. We were all so excited when they originally said there would be a strict category for biological women.”
Pinches quickly added that her withdrawal was not done with the intention of hurting the transgender community, nor to embarrass anyone, but that she felt women were demeaned by facing trans athletes.
Guidelines from the English Pool Association (EPA) dictate that trans athletes should be allowed to play in informal matches and pool competitions, requiring no further verification of their gender than any cisgender athlete.
Part of Pinches’ frustration stems from pool players being assured that non-binary and transgender players would not play against women, only for the World Eightball Pool Federation and Ultimate Pool Group to then pull a U-turn last month. to make.
The 50-year-old, based in Norwich, told the Telegraph that teetotalism three years ago had led to brilliant form and he was offered a professional place after achieving a top 20 ranking.
“That’s the first time in my career I’ve been asked and I paid £200 for the spot but when they did the U-turn I got my money back,” she added. “My confidence just went out the window.”
Harriet Haynes was awarded first prize on Sunday after Pinches withdrew from the showpiece
Pinches’ decision to forfeit the final of the tournament was popular in the arena, with many fans heard cheering and shouting ‘yes Lynne’ on footage of the event.
It has also proven to be a popular decision on social media. After her son posted a photo of Pinches with the caption “The Champ,” a number of accounts sent their support.
One wrote: ‘Congratulations Lynne Pinches love and respect.’
Another said: ‘Huge respect and I hope it continues.’
A third said: ‘Yes Lynne Pinches you are a star and I am proud of what you have done and also the reasons for it.’
And a fourth called her: ‘the people’s champion!’
Pinches’ brother Barry also praised Lynne’s social media on Monday, but made it clear that her retirement from that game was due to a feeling that it was “unfair to compete against a trans woman.”
“All credit and respect to my sister Lynne Pinches yesterday for taking a stand and not playing in the biggest match of her pool career because she feels it is so unfair to have to compete against a trans woman,” he said.
“I completely agree with her position that it is completely unfair to expect women to compete against trans women in billiards or any other sport.”
Facebook users were quick to comment in support of Pinches’ decision to retire from the game
Barry added: “For the record, this post is about fairness in women’s sports, that’s all. I have no problem with anyone wanting to identify themselves as anyone, and I have nothing against Harriet Haynes.”
The controversy now rocking the top levels of women’s professional pool began on October 24 when the sport’s international governing body, the World Eightball Pool Federation (WEPF), changed the rules on the participation of trans players in female tournaments.
Initially, in August, as more and more trans players signed up to play in women’s tournaments, the WEPF had issued a joint statement with its main sponsor, the Ultimate Pool Group, stating that “these events will be open only to individuals born female . ‘
But just eight weeks later, there was a shocking reversal of this decision, which some female players said was made under pressure from legal threats from transgender competitors.
The WEPF and Ultimate Pool have released an update on the participation of transgender and non-binary players in competitions, stating that there would be no discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
They stipulated that they would adopt a gender “self-identification policy” for competitors, but added that they reserved the right to test whether testosterone had been suppressed to the level required by the International Olympic Committee of trans athletes.
Within a week of this announcement, more than 60 professional female pool players joined forces via a WhatsApp support group to oppose the changes, the Mail on Sunday was told. Ranking number five Alexandra Cunha has reportedly vowed not to face a transgender opponent.
It is thought that one of the main concerns of female players is that a male born opponent might have greater upper body strength, allowing for a more powerful break shot early in the game, as well as a small height and reach advantage, which could lead to greater upper body strength. prove to be crucial on the table.
Sharron Davies has argued that pool fails to put ‘safety and fairness first’ for women
Sharron Davies, who has campaigned for women’s sport since retiring, has suggested the pool does not prioritize ‘safety and fairness’ and claims ‘it’s just sex discrimination’.
‘It’s just gender discrimination, after decades of mistreatment of women’s sports. It has a huge effect on the mental health of female sportswomen who are told by their sports federations that their right to fair sport simply does not matter.
“I would like to ask governments to do more than just asking NGBs to do the right thing and then be ignored. It is time for sportswomen to take action together and also for the government to cut UK sports funding from sports that do not care about their female athletes.”
Davies has previously expressed her views that transgender athletes make swimming “horrendously unfair”, and that “young girls should enter races at a known disadvantage”.