Posts by: Matt Huart

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Derby Open 2020 – Cancellation Notice

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) has today announced that the upcoming Derby Open scheduled to run from 15-17 May 2020 will not take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In view of the current position, taking into account UK government advice and further anticipated restrictions, the WDBS board has taken the unanimous decision not to proceed with this event.

The health and well-being of our players (some of whom have ongoing health issues linked to their disability) and officials is of the utmost importance to us and therefore we consider this to be the correct course of action at this time.

All players who have currently entered the event will receive a full refund of their entry fees shortly.

Further information as to future events will be released in due course and we would like to thank the team at the Cueball Derby for their support. We look forward to returning to the venue later in the year for our planned Groups 1-5 event.

Winners Crowned at Belgian Open

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) crowned its latest champions last weekend at the Belgian Open in Bruges, Belgium.

Hosted by the Trickshot Snooker Club for the third successive year, the event welcomed its biggest ever field to date including entries from over 40 players representing six different countries.

For the first time the event ran tournaments for players from all eight main disability classification groups, including cueists with physical, intellectual and sensory disabilities, making it the most significant event staged in mainland Europe so far on the 360Fizz WDBS Tour.

Groups 1-3

England’s Tony Southern completed the successful defence of the title that he first won 12 months ago at the Trickshot following a 3-0 victory against compatriot Shahab Siddiqui in the Groups 1-3 event final.

The competition, which saw wheelchairs Groups 1-2 combined with the ambulant Group 3 classification for players with upper body disabilities for the first time, saw six entrants contest an initial round-robin phase before the knockout rounds.

Just as at last September’s UK Disability Snooker Championship it was in fact Siddiqui who in fact topped his group ahead of Southern, before the pair came through semi-finals against 2018 champion Kurt Deklerck of Belgium and Germany’s Hannes Hermsdorf – the 26-year-old having impressed on his WDBS debut this weekend with a high break of 53.

The final however was to go the way of Southern, who having taken the opening frame on the black then added the following two to seal his third-career WDBS crown.

Group 4

The biggest tournament of the weekend was to be the Group 4 competition which saw Daniel Blunn defeat Andy Johnson 3-0 to a record 11th WDBS title.

Previously a winner at the Trickshot during each of the past two seasons, Blunn was once again in imperious form in Belgium as he captured his first title of the decade without the loss of a frame from his five matches played on his way to glory in 2020.

Having come through a group including Gary Sanderson, Peter Hull and Gunter D’Hondt, the 28-year-old then saw off Church and finally Johnson – the latter in a deceptively close final – to add yet another honour to his illustrious CV.

The high break of the group was a run of 44 made during the round-robin stages.

Group 5

England’s Mickey Chambers was to maintain his 100% record on the WDBS circuit having claimed his sixth Group 5 crown with a 3-0 success against David Moore.

Like Blunn, the Preston Potter underlined his status as the leading Group 5 player on the circuit by claiming his latest title with a flawless record, winning all four group matches before seeing off Humber Classic winner Moore for a second time in the showpiece final. He also made the four highest breaks in the group, including a run of 35 during the round-robin stage.

For Moore to reach the final was nevertheless an impressive feat as he recovered from the loss of his opening two matches to progress ahead of David Langridge, Dean Simmons and Phil Woodwiss.

Group 6

There was a return to form for Peter Geronimo in the Group 6 competition for players with intellectual disabilities after the 30-year-old defeated Leroy Williams 3-2 in a closely contested final.

Both players progressed from a four-player group stage which saw Faisal Butt and Christopher Goldsworthy eliminated to set up a fifth meeting in a title decider at a WDBS event.

Having defeated Williams earlier in the day during the round-robin phase, it was Geronimo who was never headed in the final as he led 1-0 and 2-1, before Williams hit back impressively to force a deciding frame with a match high break of 39 in frame four.

Inevitably the final frame was to be decided on the colours, with Geronimo potting pink and black to triumph and claim only his second victory over Williams and his first title since his maiden win at the 2018 Humber Classic.

Group 7

Another two-time winner was to be crowned in the Group 7 tournament for players with visual disabilities after Ireland’s Dylan Rees added the Belgian Open title to his victory at the Hull Open last November with a 3-0 success against Mike Gillespie.

The pair progressed to the final following a dramatic group stage which saw a play-off required to separate the top three players including Welshman Ronnie Allen, who each had finished with an identical record.

The final however would prove to be more one-sided as Rees, who had impressed during the group stage with an impressive break of 87 – the second-highest ever to have been recorded during a WDBS match – ran out a 3-0 winner to maintain his 100% record on the circuit so far.

Group 8

A new winner was crowned in Group 8 as Belgian debutant Kristof De Bruyn defeated 10-time champion Shabir Ahmed to win the first WDBS competition for deaf players held in mainland Europe.

Paired in the same round-robin group, De Bruyn and Ahmed contested a hard-fought group match won by Ahmed to progress to the knockout rounds, where they saw off Nick Cash and Lewis Knowles respectively to set up the title decider.

It was 10-time WDBS champion Ahmed who took the opener before 44-year-old De Bruyn claimed two tight frames on the colours to take the lead, before sealing his maiden title in the fourth frame with a break of 32.

There was also a maiden win in the Challenge Cup event for Christopher Goldsworthy after the Group 6 player defeated Kal Mattu 2-0 to claim gold in the tournament for players who had not made it to the knockout rounds of the main tournaments.

The WDBS team would like to thank Olivier Vandenbohede of the Trickshot and his team for supporting the event once again and already we look forward to returning in 2021.

The final event of the 2019/20 360Fizz WDBS Tour season will be the Derby Open, to be held at the Cueball Derby from 15-17 May 2020.

 

Derby Open 2020 – Entry Open

Entries are now being accepted for the Derby Open which will return to the Cueball Derby for a fourth time from 15-17 May 2020.

One of our most long-standing events, the Derby Open will once begin with a Friday Open Day for people with all disabilities to come and try snooker under the guidance of WPBSA World Snooker coaches including lead coach Steve Rutter. There will also be a buffet provided early in the afternoon and opportunities to meet the WDBS team and ask any questions about the competition.

The weekend itself will then see competitive tournaments staged for deaf and visually impaired players (WDBS Classification Groups 7-8) from Saturday morning, with a Challenge Cup to be staged on Sunday for players who do not qualify for the knockout rounds.

In 2019 the event witnessed our biggest ever deaf entry with 27 Group 8 players taking part, joined also by a bumper 14 entries to the Group 7 competition.

Phil Woodwiss Q&A

Among the players who will be competing at this weekend’s Belgian Open will be Skipton’s Phil Woodwiss, who first joined the WDBS circuit approximately 18 months ago and has become a regular on tour.

We recently caught up with the former Open Disability Championship semi-finalist ahead of his return to Bruges to discuss the upcoming tournament, the benefits of playing snooker to him and how important the social aspects of WDBS events are…

Hi Phil, this week we are preparing to return to Bruges for the third staging of the WDBS Belgian Open. How much are you looking forward to returning to the event, having made the trip previously in 2019?

I am very excited to be going back to Bruges. It’s a beautiful place to visit and hopefully I’ll get to see a bit more of it this time.

The Trickshot club we play at is a fantastic venue and we are certainly well looked after all the time while we are there by Olivier [Vandenbohede] and his staff.

Last year you reached the final of the Challenge Cup in Belgium, how happy are you with your game 12 months on?

It’s been a frustrating time; my form has been shocking, hardly winning any matches in the local league or at any WDBS events. However, I seemed to have turned a corner being able to practice more with top quality conditions and players at my friend John’s pub The Crossroads Inn in Keighley, West Yorkshire. So, I am aiming to do well in the event in Bruges.

It has been approximately 18 months since you joined us at the 2018 Welsh Open for your first WDBS event. How much have you enjoyed competing on the circuit to date?

It’s just like being a professional; I love it, each event is different wearing a smart suit, with referees, meetings with the Tournament Director each day before the start of play and even signing the report sheet after each match. Although my request for extra ‘pockets’ on the table in the comments section has yet to be answered!

What have been your highlights on tour during your time with us so far?

I would say the highlight so far was playing in Belgium last year for the first time. I had always in the past wanted to play in a snooker tournament abroad, so doing it together with my fellow WDBS players was great and hopefully we will play in other countries around the world in the future.

How did you first get into snooker?

One of my friends gave me a 3ft snooker table that he was going to throw away. I began to play on that, not really knowing what I was doing but just learning to pot the balls until I got the chance to play on a proper full size snooker table at a local snooker centre in my home town of Keighley when I was 15 years old.

How does your disability affect your snooker and how challenging has it been returning to the baize? Was there a time you thought that you might not play again?

I no longer move around as quickly as I once did, which can be frustrating at times, as I was a quick player and I have lost the flexibility when positioning myself for certain shots. I now use a small extension which screws into the butt of my cue which many players use, which means I don’t have to position myself across the table awkwardly like I used to do before my disability.

Yes, it was quite scary to think I would not play again. As it wasn’t known until after surgery, how I would walk or if at all. To be able to play again after becoming disabled was a great relief and surprise.

How do you feel that playing snooker as an activity can be of benefit to people with a disability?

Snooker is a game everyone can play at all levels of disability. Whatever disability you have you can find a way of adapting yourself with the use of aids to be able to play. It’s great fun as well with learning new skills on a snooker table. You get a great sense of achievement when you see improvements in your game over time. It also helps to take your mind off other things like the many doctors and hospital appointments and gives you something to look forward to.

As well as playing snooker, how important is the social side of these events to you?

To me it’s a very important part of any event. You don’t always have much time during a match or tournament to chat with many people, so when you go out for a meal with several other players and partners, carers or friends you get chance to get to know people.

You have made a number of friends on the circuit including the likes of Nigel Brasier and Dean Simmons, how much would you encourage other players to get together like this?

I would say at each event, go out at least one night with other players for a meal. It helps develop social skills like chatting to people, making new friends and also builds confidence, which all helps to develop trust in others, so that in the future we feel comfortable travelling in groups to WDBS events, especially as we look to play more events abroad.

It also helps to build self-belief and confidence to deal with our daily lives away from snooker events.

What advice would you have for people with disabilities who might be considering entering a WDBS event?

Don’t be afraid – come and have a go! We have all started where we couldn’t pot a ball. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming, just like one big family is how I would describe the WDBS tour. You will make friendships that will last a lifetime.

Belgian Open 2020: Tournament Information

Tournament information for this weekend’s Belgian Open to be held at The Trickshot Snooker Club in Bruges is now available:

To be played in Belgium for a third successive year, for the first time the Belgian Open will see tournaments staged for players from all eight main classification groups, helping to attract a record field of 45 players representing seven different nationalities.

In a change to the original schedule, the tournament will now begin on Friday evening with an initial ten matches to be played, with the remaining group stage and knockout matches to be concluded over the course of the weekend.

If you have any questions please contact a member of the team via our website or social media.

New WDBS Dates Announced For 2020/21 Season

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) is today pleased to announce four new event dates for the upcoming 360Fizz WDBS Tour 2020/21 season.

As we prepare to celebrate our fifth anniversary this summer, we have moved quickly to confirm a number of regular venues that have supported WDBS over a number of years.

In doing so, we have also taken the opportunity to carry out a full review of the previous calendar to provide a better spread of tournaments throughout the year for each classification group.

Confirmed dates

The new calendar will see players from each of the main eight classification groups guaranteed at least three UK tournaments.

The first confirmed event will be the Welsh Open, which is set to return to Redz Snooker Club in Cwmbran for a fourth staging, on the later date of 4-6 September 2020. Once again, the event will be open to players from all classification groups and be played under the 6-Red format of the game.

Also set to return for a fourth staging is the Derby Open, which will be held at the Cueball Derby in a new calendar slot of 23-25 October. Significantly, for the first time this event will be open to players from Groups 1-5 as a new venue for those with physical disabilities.

Please note that this does not affect the upcoming Groups 7-8 tournament in Derby which will be held from 15-17 May as the final event of the current season.

As has been the case since 2016, the final event of the calendar year will be the Hull Open, which will return to the Tradewell Snooker Club for a fifth time from 13-15 November and be open to players from Groups 6-8.

Finally, we can also confirm the return of the three-day UK Disability Snooker Championship, which will again be held at Barratts in Northampton and be open to players from all classification groups. However, to provide better balance to the calendar the event will move to a new slot from 26-28 March 2021.

Champion of Champions

In addition to the dates announced above, we can also confirm that the Parris Cues Champion of Champions will return next season at a new venue to be confirmed.

For the first-time, this will be staged as the season-finale in May 2021, with the best players on the tour during the previous two seasons qualifying for the prestigious event.

Overseas Events

As part of our wider ambitions to return snooker to the Paralympic Games for the first time since 1988 we are also committed to developing new opportunities for disability snooker outside of the UK.

In addition to the Belgian Open, which we also anticipate will return early in 2021, we are also currently looking at opportunities to stage further overseas events next season, with talks currently ongoing in respect of a planned event in Poland this summer.

Further information regarding additional tournaments will be released in due course.

2020/21 Provisional Dates So Far:

4-6 September 2020

Welsh Open (G1-8) – Redz Snooker Club, Cwmbran

23-25 October 2020

Derby Open (G1-5) – Cueball Derby, Derby

13-15 November 2020

Hull Open (G6-8) – Tradewell Snooker Club, Hull

26-28 March 2021

UK Disability Snooker Championship (G1-8) – Barratts, Northampton

All dates are provisional and subject to change.

Stockport Open 2020 – Tournament Review

Several champions were crowned during World Disability Snooker and Billiards’ (WDBS) opening event of the new calendar year at the popular Hazel Grove Snooker Club last weekend.

The Stockport Open 2020 featured competitors from six different disability classifications – involving those with physical and learning disabilities – and after a busy weekend of action where over 100 matches were played, the winners were confirmed.

Physical disabilities

In the bumper Group 2+4 competition which included cueists with ambulant impairments and wheelchair users, William Thomson returned to the winners’ podium to claim his fourth-career WDBS main event title.

The recent Scottish international began his campaign in ideal fashion, winning all four of his round robin matches 2-0 to finish top of Group A before notching up breaks of 30 and 53 to eliminate Kit Kennedy 2-0 in the knockout quarter-finals the following day.

Thomson dropped his first frame of the tournament during his last four encounter with two-time Open Disability finalist Andrew Harper on the black, but he recovered to take the next three and move into the final.

His opponent was 2016 Manchester Classic champion Andy Johnson, who like Thomson headed his group and came through a last eight tie against Peter Hull without relinquishing a frame. However, he needed a decider to deny former world professional number eight Dean Reynolds a maiden WDBS final in the semi-finals, spinning a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 win.

Perhaps affected by his draining exploits against Reynolds, the last thing Johnson needed was Thomson starting strong, which he did, compiling a 62 break in chalking up frame one. Thomson never looked back as he registered a 3-0 triumph to collect his first title on the circuit in nearly 16 months.

Nigel Coton made it consecutive Group 3 titles after a flawless performance throughout the weekend.

A trio of 2-0 group wins on Saturday over Joe Hardstaff, John Teasdale and Kal Mattu rewarded him with top spot and a place in the final. The remaining spot went to maiden finalist and tour regular Mattu, who along with last year’s runner-up Hardstaff and winner Teasdale all finished on one victory each, however, Mattu progressed courtesy of a better frame difference.

Coton continued his relentless form, though, winning the competition without losing a single frame after a 3-0 final outcome to secure a hat-trick of career WDBS main event accolades and follow his glory at September’s UK Disability Championship.

Serial winner Mickey Chambers remains undefeated in club-based WDBS events after racking up a fifth title in the Group 5 category.

Preston’s Chambers – whose only loss on the circuit was during the Tour Championship at the Crucible Theatre last summer – won all three of his group games to top Group B. He did fall behind to 2019 Humber Classic finalist Ivor Halnosky in the semi-finals but turned it around to a emerge 3-1 winner.

Gareth Ward would meet Chambers for the gold medal; reaching his maiden tour final after capping Group A and then negotiating this season’s UK Disability Championship runner-up Dean Simmons. Ward was resilient in the final, mounting a comeback after losing the opening three frames, but 30-year-old Chambers held firm to get across the line 4-2.

Intellectual disabilities

Faisal Butt and Leroy Williams maintained their recent dominance of Groups 6A and 6B respectively.

Both Butt and Williams ended their round robin phases with 100% match records. Londoner Butt went one down to Warren Ealy in the semi-finals after losing on the black ball, although he swiftly re-established himself to advance into the final. There he would further his rivalry with Michael Busst, gaining some revenge for losing to Busst in the Champion of Champions final a few months previously by winning 3-0. The Stockport Open is Butt’s fifth WDBS title inside the past 12 months.

Williams has now won the last five Group 6B tournaments – a sequence stretching back to the Southern Classic last March. He needed to show battling qualities in the last four, though, as he twice trailed Matthew Haslam before sealing a 3-2 result. Christopher Goldsworthy, who has enjoyed a fine debut year on the WDBS scene, made his second final following his first at the aforementioned Southern Classic. Despite all four frames being relatively close, Williams ran out a 4-0 victor for his sixth overall title.

Challenge Cup

David Moore bounced back from his disappointment of not qualifying for Sunday’s knockout phase by clinching the Challenge Cup.

Reigning Humber Classic Group 5 champion Moore took the gold medal back to the south English coast after victories over Liam Crook, Phil Woodwiss, Nigel Brasier and then last year’s Group 3 winner at this venue, John Teasdale, 2-0 in the final.

The next stop on the WDBS circuit will be the Belgian Open from 7-8 March 2020. Enter online now: www.wdbs.info/tournament-entry/belgian-open-2020

DSActive Workshop – February 2020

Improve your skills working with players with Down’s syndrome and other learning disabilities

Snooker coaches and referees, volunteers, officials, board members and players are all invited to a free workshop to develop skills and knowledge to work with players with learning disabilities.

DSActive – a programme run by the Down’s Syndrome Association – will host the evening session on Thursday 20 February, 6pm – 8pm, at West Herts College in Watford. Full details are contained in the attached poster.

All confirmed attendees will also be offered a free ticket to that day’s afternoon session of the BetVictor Snooker Shoot Out at Watford Colosseum, just around the corner.

It will be the second workshop of its kind, following a very successful session in Stockport earlier this year.

The workshop is provided as part of a partnership between WPBSA and DSActive, which aims to develop pathways into our sport for people with Down’s syndrome to become players and coaches.

For more information or to book your place please email bob.hill@wpbsa.com or call the WPBSA on 0117 317 8203.

Belgian Open 2020 – Enter Now!

We are now accepting entries for the WDBS Belgian Open which is set to return to the calendar from 7-8 March 2020.

As in previous years, the event will be held at The Trickshot Club owned by Olivier Vandenbohede in the historic city of Bruges. The venue is fully accessible and has hosted the tournament successfully during each of the last two years.

For the first time the event will include competitive tournaments for players from all eight disability classification groups, with players with intellectual and sensory disabilities joining those with physical disabilities.

There will be no formal Open Day held on the Friday, but there will be practice opportunities for players arriving on the day and a barbecue meal organised at the club in the evening.

Tournament Format

As is the case at all WDBS events, individual tournaments will only run if at least four entries are received. We reserve the right to combine groups where at all possible, for example Group 3 with Groups 4-5, Groups 7A and 7B.

We therefore advise that players do not make non-refundable travel arrangements until enough entries have been received in their group.

Velotel Hotel exterior

Hotel Velotel

For this year’s tournament the Hotel Velotel Bruges is offering a 15% discount on bookings made directly through their website.

To access the discount please use the code WDBSSNOOKER when booking and the discount will be applied at checkout.

Please be aware that accessible rooms are limited so we advise booking as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Travel Options

Bruges is easily accessible from the UK via car, rail or air. Further travel advice will be published shortly.

We are aware that several groups of players have already made plans to travel together (including from Hull, the north of England and the midlands) and we strongly encourage everyone to join our WDBS Facebook group and discuss travel options together.

We are continuing to explore options to run a service from London similar to in 2019 and will provide further information as soon as possible if this is to go ahead.

If you are considering entering the event and are not sure, or have any further questions, please contact us.

Stockport Open 2020 – Enter Now

Entries are now being accepted for the Stockport Open which will return to the Hazel Grove Snooker Club for a second year from 10-12 January 2020.

Open Day / Billiards

Previously held as the Northern Classic, the event will begin with a Friday Open Day for people with all disabilities to come and try snooker under the guidance of WPBSA World Snooker coaches including lead coach Steve Rutter. There will also be a buffet provided early in the afternoon and opportunities to meet the WDBS team and ask any questions.

The Friday will also include a session of English Billiards coaching, which may include a competitive tournament subject to interest on the day.

Competition

The weekend itself will then include competitive tournaments for players with physical and intellectual disabilities (WDBS Classification Groups 1-6) from Saturday morning, with every player guaranteed snooker across both days with a Challenge Cup competition to be staged on Sunday for players already knocked out of the main tournament.

The deadline for entry is 4:30pm on Friday 3 January 2020.