REBECCA Kenna says she will not be returning to a town snooker league despite a rule change after it was previously being criticised for not admitting women to play matches.

The world number three from Keighley quit the Crosshills and District Snooker League late last year after she said some Keighley clubs did not allow in women, meaning she missed out on being able to compete in games.

The league has now brought in a rule to address the situation which allows individual clubs the option to choose a neutral venue rather than admit women. The new rule was announced at the league's annual general meeting (AGM) earlier this month.

Now Kenna has vowed not to return to play in the Crosshills League, but will take part in singles competitions run by the Skipton League.

The World Women's Snooker (WWS) has criticised the decision, saying the new rules do not extend further enough, while the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the sport claimed it is a 'workaround'.

Kenna said: "I'm a bit disappointed really. It's unacceptable.

"I'm going to keep away from the league. I won't be playing for them I have been offered a place in the Skipton League.

"With all of the fuss, it felt like the league thought they should do something. It felt like a little work-around to make everyone happy.

"For a mixed gender league, it should not have a single gender that can't play. It's pretty simple. Most leagues have a rule that it can't happen.

"I won't be joining them this season. Especially with all of the attention this story got. I think my team in the Crosshills League would just rather get on with things now.

"It was an issue that needed to be addressed.

"If we still can't make a change, I don't know what else I can do."

The Crosshills & District League have explained their rule change, claiming the new rule backs up its stance that they welcome and support any player regardless of their gender.

A league statement said: "I can confirm that the issue around men-only clubs participating in the snooker league was indeed discussed at the annual general meeting and the snooker league has implemented rules to backup the snooker league's stance that we welcome any player to participate in our league regardless of gender.

"We can confirm that we have now brought a rule in which gives the clubs that operate a men-only policy the option to either allow the affecting snooker league member to enter the premises to play, reverse the affected frame or frames, play the affected frame or frames at a neutral club that does allow anybody in.

"If this is refused by the offending club then they will forfeit the affected frame or frames and the visiting club will be awarded a 147 and the frame point.

"We believe this backs up our stance that we welcome and support any player to participate in our league regardless of gender but unfortunately we can't change individual club rules even if we wanted to.

"We can only impose penalties against these offending clubs in the hope that they will change their individual rules.”

A WWS statement said: “We note that the league has taken some steps to address the discriminatory practices of some of its member clubs, however, it is clear that these steps do not extend far enough.

"Snooker is a hugely inclusive sport, one of the few that can place men and women on the same field of play on a truly equal basis and so in the 21st century it is totally unacceptable to expect women players to be treated differently and having to play sterile matches at a neutral venue purely because of their gender."

The town's MP and political groups have also welcomed the rule change but say more could be done in the future.

In a statement, the APPG added: "The All-Party Parliamentary Group for snooker was dismayed to hear about the situation faced by female players in certain clubs playing in the Crosshill and District Snooker League.

"As soon as we became aware, we wrote to the international custodians of the game, the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) that oversees WWS and has since taken over operations for the English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards (EPSB).

"The group has seen the outcome of the recent AGM for the league and while it takes some steps to address the discrimination of its member clubs, it is – in effect – a workaround to enable the clubs in question to continue their archaic practices.

"We chose not to write to the clubs and league at the time as we believed it was such an obvious error that could be sorted out quickly and simply without any additional input from the Group. However, as that does not seem to the case, we shall now be writing – very candidly – to the clubs and to the league."

Meanwhile, Keighley MP John Grogan says the league's new rule is a small step in the right direction, but more can be done.

He said: “Keighley has always prided itself on being a common sense town with a practical outlook on life.

"This decision is a small step in the right direction but for me common sense implies there should be no barriers at all to women in sport.

"Practically it will I think be difficult to play men only frames in one venue and then move to another venue for frames involving female players. It would not be very welcoming on what is meant to be an enjoyable evening out for all players regardless of gender."