A Norfolk pool player who walked away from the chance of a national title in protest at being made to face a transgender opponent has spoken of her devastation.

Lynn Pinches, 50, from Norwich, shook hands with Harriet Haynes before she put away her cue and conceded the final of the Women's Champion of Champions tournament without playing a single shot.

The crowd at the event at Prestatyn, Wales, applauded as she walked away from the table, with shouts of 'yes Lynne!'.

She said she made the decision to retire from what was her fourth ever final as a protest against the unfairness of allowing transgender athletes to compete in women's sports.

Norwich Evening News: Lynne Pinches with her runner-up trophyLynne Pinches with her runner-up trophy (Image: EPA)

"The devastation I have felt, I can't even explain. I didn't eat or sleep properly for two days," she said.

"I was crying until 3am. I was devastated. I don't care about the money or the title or the trophy. I care about fairness."

Norwich Evening News: Harriet Haynes, who won the tournament by defaultHarriet Haynes, who won the tournament by default (Image: EPA)

Pinches said she decided to make a stand after the sport's governing body, the English Pool Association, reversed an earlier decision regarding transgender players.

"If they hadn't done that U-turn, we wouldn't be here now," she said. "We were all so elated when they originally said they were going to have a strict category for biological females."

She has said that her withdrawal was not done with intention of causing hurt to the transgender community, nor to embarrass anyone, but that she felt women were being humiliated by having to face trans athletes.

One of the concerns among natal female players is that an opponent born male might have greater upper body strength, allowing a more powerful break shot at the start of the game, as well as a slight height and reach advantage which could prove pivotal on the table. 

Pinches has been dubbed the 'matriarch' of a pool and snooker-playing family from Norwich.

Her brother Barry, a professional snooker player based in the city, praised his sister on social media.

"Full credit and great respect to my sister Lynne Pinches yesterday for taking a stand and not playing in the biggest match of her pool playing life because she feels it's so unfair to have to compete against a trans woman," he said. 

Ms Haynes said in a statement:  "The ‘protest’ has led to significant online discussion and a lot of regretful bigotry.

"For all the comments that people hold that being trans is an advantage in cue sports, there is no scientific evidence to prove that."