Posts by: Matt Huart

New Plans For Disability Snooker Coaching

We are today excited to confirm new developments for coaching at World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) events, with WPBSA World Snooker coach Steve Rutter to lead coaching at the Go Green Energy Coaching Zone from the upcoming Hull Open.

WDBS was created with the goal of providing more opportunities for people with disabilities to play snooker competitively, however equally as important as tournament play is the inclusion of people with disabilities in what we firmly believe is a sport for all. This has been encouraged by regular open days at the start of each of our events at which people with disabilities can try snooker, whether they are experienced players or are picking up a cue for the first time, with accredited WPBSA World Snooker coaches on hand to provide guidance and advice free of charge.

As part of our ongoing development we have now identified a need to provide greater structure at these open days and increased opportunity for people to participate in group sessions. To help us to provide this service we are pleased to be working with experienced snooker coach Steve Rutter, who has a background in education and working with people with learning disabilities. Steve has been in regular attendance at WDBS events during the past 18 months, both mentoring the individual players including Blake Munton and Josh Morrison and also supporting our wider coaching activities.

“I feel honoured and privileged to be asked to be lead coach at WDBS events,” said Rutter. “It means a lot to me on a personal level to be entrusted with this role and I am excited by the plans that we have to take the Go Green Energy Coaching Zone to the next level.”

“It has been great to be a part of WDBS coaching days recently and they have been a real eye-opener for me. I already knew that there was a need for coaching at disability events but I didn’t know the range of abilities within disability snooker. I’ve been really impressed by the actual ability of some of the players and what they have to overcome just to be able to play.

“I have taken a lot from it personally, with respect to how I approach the game when coaching people with disabilities. I enjoy coaching Blake who has come on leaps and bounds in recent months and I have seen the progression of a lot of players over the year I’ve been involved.”

Since the start of the 2018/19 season our Coaching Zone has been sponsored by Go Green Energy, the Tamworth-based independent renewal able energy company for whom our most-decorated player Daniel Blunn works for full-time when he is not on the baize. Rutter was part of the coaching team at the recent Open Disability Snooker Championship in Northampton at which new group sessions were introduced for the first time, something that the team plans to build upon further at future events.

“The goal in Northampton was to be more structured,” explains Rutter. “For the people who were just coming for the Friday to try the sport and see what was going on, the difference was that the day was not ad hoc. We had a team of coaches there and they were allocated tables and specific coaching sessions for which people coming for the first time could book sessions.

“For example I ran a table for demonstration and discussion, including a 20 minute session on the subject of stun, top and screw shots. We had discussions around the issues that each player with specific disabilities have with a stun shot, e.g with some disabilities such as cerebral palsy it is about their balance, while people in wheelchairs have a longer cue extension from bridge to ball so I had to think on my feet to come up with solutions.

“Looking forward to our next event the Hull Open I have already worked on a guided timetable of events which will be set out on a board and people can put their names down for particular sessions. We plan to have at least three tables, for demonstration and discussion, one-to-one sessions and traditional Cue Zone style activities, but will also remain flexible to accommodate people’s needs on the day. I am really looking forward to it!”

The Go Green Energy Coaching Zone will return as part of the Hull Open, to be held at the Tradewell Snooker Club on Friday 16th November from 10:00am, with Steve and his team of expert coaches on hand to welcome both new and returning faces on the day.

Learn more about the Hull Open here.

Nigel Mawer, Rob Reed and Simon Berrisford stand smiling

Vote for Your Favourite Cue Case for Player of the Season Prize:

At the start of this season we announced a new award to recognise our ‘WDBS Player of the Season’ and today you can have your say as to what the final prize will look like.

As well as earning the unique distinction of becoming the WDBS Player of the Season for 2018/19, the player will also receive a fantastic bespoke cue case designed and hand crafted by RR Cue Cases, to include the WDBS logo on its exterior and the name of the winner on its handle.

Thanks to RR Cue Cases, we now also have three potential designs to choose from and we just couldn’t decide – so we are giving the choice to you! Each design shows two images, one of the outside of the case and the second illustrating how the interior will appear.

To vote simply select your favourite design from the options below and click vote. The poll will run until the end of 2018 with the design with the most votes to be turned into a unique prize to be presented to the winner next year.

 

Please select your favourite WDBS cue case design by RR Cue Cases:

Design 1
Design 2
Design 3
Created with PollMaker

Winners Crowned at Champion of Champions

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) successfully staged its prestigious new Parris Cues Champion of Champions event for the first time last weekend in Gloucester.

Held at the South West Snooker Academy, the event brought together 24 players who competed across six competitions representing each of our regular disability classification groups to determine this year’s overall champions.

As well as prize money, the players were competing for the magnificent Nick Oliver Trophy (learn more about Nick and his story here), as well as a place at next year’s World Snooker Federation Championships in Dubai, with travel/hotel costs to be paid by regular WDBS sponsors 360Fizz.

Physical disabilities

There was victory for Daniel Lee in the Groups 1-2 wheelchair competition as he defeated the experienced Tony Southern 4-2 to win his biggest WDBS title to date.

Already a three-time WDBS champion coming into the event, Lee narrowly defeated two-time WDBS champion Graham Bonnell 3-2 in his opening match before edging out Craig Welsh and Tony Southern to qualify for the final, while Southern also survived a close match with Bonnell on his way to securing second position in the group.

It was a close final in which Tony threatened to a force a deciding frame, but it was Lee who was able to pot the final colours and secure victory.

“It has been a great honour to be part of this event this weekend,” said Lee. “I am very happy. The prize on offer [a place in Dubai] was definitely in the background and it was a very tight, tough match in the final. Tony has been around a long time and it became a bit of a battle, but I am just happy to get through it.

“It [a place at the WSF Championships] has given me motivation to practice for sure. To be able to go out there and represent WDBS and show what people in a wheelchair can do, I will give myself every chance and practice hard. Realistically it is going to be tough for me but I’m going to enjoy the experience and I’m grateful to be there. I just want to go over and promote this brand [WDBS] and what we are all about. We will conduct ourselves in the right way, enjoy it and give it our best shot.”

In Group 3 there was a win for Daniel Blunn who became the first player to reach the milestone of having won six WDBS titles following a 4-2 victory against Scotland’s William Thomson in the final.

The event marked a significant turnaround for Daniel who lost 4-0 to Thomson in the final of last month’s Open Disability Snooker Championship in Northampton, his third final loss to his rival since 2016. This weekend however saw Blunn record a comfortable 3-0 victory against the Scot in the round robin group stage, before coming out on top a 4-2 winner in the overall group final to book his place on the plane to Dubai next spring.

“I know I have won five tournaments prior to this but I have been beaten by William in three finals so obviously I am glad to win this one, it is my time,” said Blunn, who has cerebral palsy. “I’ve beaten him before in group games here and in Preston, but never in a final so it was good to get one back I suppose. He didn’t play as well as he can to be honest and I didn’t either, but I was able to pot the crucial balls and crucial times, stay in front and got through.”

Earlier this year Daniel became the inaugural winner of the WDBS Belgian Open in his classification, a trip that was actually his first ever overseas and he can now look forward to his second snooker tournament outside of the UK in Dubai.

“I will have to bring some sun tan lotion, it’s quite hot so I hear!” added Blunn. “It will be very tough but there are six pockets, we have all got tips on the end of our cues, let’s have a go and see what we can do. I don’t see why we shouldn’t be there. There’s no reason why we can’t compete among able-bodied people, everyone can play snooker.”

Meanwhile in Group 4-5 we saw David Church come through the field to win his second WDBS title with a 4-1 victory against David Moore.

Having been invited to the event as a late replacement for India’s Raja Subramanian, David Moore impressed in the round robin group stages by winning both of his matches to top the group. Despite taking the opening frame in the final however, it was Church, who had already come through a long match on Sunday morning against Andy Johnson to qualify for the final, who took the next four to win his first title since the 2017 Open Disability Snooker Championship.

“I didn’t really play well all weekend really, but I kept hanging in there, doing what I could do and I managed to get the win on the weekend,” said Church. “To come through a four and a half hour match in the final knowing that whoever won would get to the final, I was happy I got through and that I had given myself a chance. Now I’ve won this one, I have got a trophy to take home and a plane ticket to Dubai so I am very happy.

“Dubai will be the furthest that I have ever travelled, it’s amazing whether I win a match or not. I am not going to go there expecting to win, I am just going to play and if I win a game I will be happy and if not it’s a great experience.”

Groups 6-8

In the Group 6 classification group for players with intellectual disabilities there was a fifth WDBS title for Daniel Harwood, who defeated fellow Liverpudlian Andrew Galley 5-1 in the final. The pair had already enjoyed a high-quality match in the round robin stages which saw four breaks made over 50 including a tournament-high run of 77 by Harwood on his way to a 4-2 win and it was the serial champion who was able to repeat that victory in the final.

In Group 7 there was a third WDBS title for Coventry’s Nick Neale, who whitewashed four-time champion Paul Smith to complete a dominant weekend during which he dropped just two frames in Gloucester.

“I am over the moon because there is such a big prize at the end of it,” said Neale. “It has been a long couple of days but I am really happy to win. It means the world to me because it has been a long road back for me to pick my cue up again, I didn’t think that I would ever play again but my girlfriend and my dad gave me a kick up the backside and said I was too good not to play. This is a dream because I have put a lot of hard work in and to be going to Dubai to play in such a great event, I am really looking forward to it.

“My goal coming into the weekend was to try to play good snooker and to get to the final and then I thought to myself over the best of nine, even if you go two or three behind you can still get back into the match. The atmosphere out there was great and to be back playing in an arena like that was definitely a good buzz.”

The final match of the weekend to finish was a dramatic Group 8 final which saw Lewis Knowles edge out Shabir Ahmed 5-4 to win his first ever WDBS title, after three previous final defeats to Ahmed during the past 18 months.

The tone was set in the opening frame which was won by Knowles on a re-spotted black, with the underdog moving into a 4-2 lead after the first six frames. Back however came four-time WDBS champion Ahmed, a clearance of 22 in frame eight bringing him back level and forcing a deciding frame for the title.

Having suffered close defeats to Ahmed in the past, it was impressive to see Knowles perhaps play his best frame of the match when it really mattered, eventually coming through on the colours to secure the title and become this year’s Champion of Champion in the deaf classification group.

The event was sponsored for the first time by Parris Cues, with founder and renowned cue maker John Parris on site throughout the weekend and on hand to present the trophies. Each player received their own trophy to take home and keep in recognition of their achievement this year, as well as being presented with the stunning Nick Oliver Trophy, a perpetual trophy which will have the names of each of our winners engraved on its base following this event.

WDBS would like to thank John for his support and also Cathy and Vince, who joined us on what was an emotional final day of the event for both as their late son Nick Oliver was remembered during the presentation of the trophy.

We would also like to thank Tony Cannon, who volunteered his services to help us provide live streaming of a WDBS event via YouTube for the first time, while regular helper Michael Day also provided excellent commentary during the weekend, supported by other members of the WDBS team and players. You can watch back all of the footage from the weekend here.

Finally, we would also like to thank all of the players, officials, supporters and our venue at the South West Snooker Academy, which of course was where the WDBS began with its first event back in 2015. The continued growth of the organisation owes its thanks to the support that has been received by many and we will continue to provide more and more opportunities for disabled people to play cuesports in the future.

View full tournament results from the competition via MySnookerStats here.

View event photos at our Facebook page here.

View the updated WDBS Roll of Honour here.

The Nick Oliver Trophy

Action at the inaugural WDBS Parris Cues Champion of Champions is now underway; whilst each classification group will be playing their own event, collectively all the competitors in Gloucester will be aiming to win the Nick Oliver Trophy.

Nick was a very popular character on the cuesports scene, both as a player and a fan, for many years. Born in Clapham in 1973, Nick suffered from brittle bone disease which meant he required the use of a wheelchair. His condition also later caused him to become deaf.

However Nick, who worked as an administrator for the Lewisham Council, discovered a profound love for Snooker – a passion that he never relinquished.

Watching the sport as a youngster his baize hero was Willie Thorne. Nick’s mother could see the admiration he had for him and decided to start writing to her son’s snooker idol.

Through these letters a friendship blossomed. Willie got to know Nick and his family well, every year he would send them complimentary tickets to watch the World Championship at the Crucible Theatre. The former World Number 7 and Classic champion also encouraged Nick to participate in playing the sport.

Needing a cue to take it up, Thorne put him in contact with the world renowned cuemaker John Parris, who supplied Nick with the relevant equipment moving forward. John too developed a long lasting bond with him. It is fitting that Parris Cues is the title sponsor of the WDBS Champion of Champions.

As well as snooker, Nick competed in American 9-Ball Pool where he was frequently seen on the British Wheelchair Pool Players Association (BWPPA) tour. Recently as 2016 he topped the Challenge Tour rankings list and was named the Player of the Year. He won several events and trophies during his time on the circuit.

Nick, who had a brother and was also a lover of music, sadly passed away in 2017. In tribute of his friendliness, the way he conducted himself despite adversity and his impact within the sport, it feels right that the trophy at the WDBS’ most lucrative event is named in his honour. His legacy will always live on.

Article written by Michael Day for The Cue View.

Parris Cues Champion of Champions 2018: Live Stream

Watch our live stream from the Parris Cues Champions of Champions 2018 at the South West Snooker Academy below:

Streaming schedule:

Saturday 20th October

  • Dan Harwood v Leroy Williams (G6)
  • William Thomson v Daniel Blunn (G3)
  • Nick Neale v Mike Gillespie (G7)

Sunday 21st October

  • TBC
  • FINAL TBC

Parris Cues Champion of Champions 2018: Tournament Information

The full match schedule for the Parris Cues Champion of Champions 2018 is now available.

As always, the latest results and group standings will be published throughout the weekend at MySnookerStats via the following links:

As previously announced, the winners of each group competition will also be invited to play at the 2019 WSF Championships in Dubai.

Read more about the event here.

Humber Fish Co. to Sponsor Hull Open

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) is pleased to announce that next month’s Hull Open will be sponsored for the first time by Humber Fish Co.

Returning to the Tradewell Snooker Club for the third time on 16-18 November 2018, the Hull Open will again feature two-day tournaments for deaf and visually impaired players, won last year by Blake Munton and Nick Neale respectively.

The event will begin with a Friday Open Day at which people with all disabilities are encouraged to come along and play snooker, whether they have experience or are picking up a cue for the first time. The day will be supported by WPBSA World Snooker coaches who will provide a mix of fun activities, one to one coaching and group sessions on a particular topic at the Go Green Energy Coaching Zone.

Opened in July 2018 by James Stockdale and Paula Howarth, the Humber Fish Co. provides relaxed informal dining specialising in locally sourced seafood and crustacea. Currently three weeks in advance for weekend bookings, the restaurant is in high demand and recently launched a fantastic new menu, with a five-course tasting menu with live music on offer for the New Year.

With the support of Humber Fish Co. and further sponsors to be announced in due course, WDBS can confirm that prize money will once again be offered at the event. There will also be a special bonus prize on offer to each of the finalists at the Group 7 and 8 competitions courtesy of the Tradewell Snooker Club.

Entries for the event remain open until 9 November 2018. Please click HERE for more information and to download the full entry form.

Learn more about Humber Fish Co. at its website:

www.humberfishco.co.uk

Field Confirmed for Parris Cues Champion of Champions

Later this month World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) will host the Parris Cues Champion of Champions for the first time and we can today reveal the 24 players who will be competing in the event.

To be held at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester on the weekend of 20-21 October 2018, the event will comprise six tournaments with the most successful four players from each of the regular WDBS classification groups between November 2015 – May 2018 invited to participate.

Each of the tournaments will begin with a round-robin group stage, with the top two players at the end of the group to contest a title match to decide the Champion of Champions for each classification.

The players who will be competing are:

Groups 1-2

Graham Bonnell, Craig Welsh, Daniel Lee, Tony Southern

Group 3

Daniel Blunn, Nigel Coton, William Thomson, Andrew Harper

Groups 4-5

Raja Subramanian, Andy Johnson, David Church, David Weller

Group 6

Daniel Harwood, Leroy Williams, Rich Yendle, Andrew Galley

Group 7

Paul Smith, Nick Neale, Mike Gillespie, David Baker

Group 8

Shabir Ahmed, Blake Munton, Lewis Knowles, Richard Gott

As previously announced, each of the six winners will receive an invitation to compete at next year’s WSF Championships in Dubai, with the costs of their travel and hotel to be sponsored by 360Fizz.

The winners will also receive the first prize and be presented with the Nick Oliver Trophy by John Parris, of the event sponsor Parris Cues. Each group winner will also receive their own trophy to take home and keep.

The Parris Cues Champion of Champions will become an annual event on the calendar, with the top performing players from each group over a two-year period qualifying for the event.

Spectators are encouraged to attend and support the players competing in the event.

Gloucester Winners to Qualify for WSF Championships

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) is delighted to confirm that there will be an extra special incentive on offer for each of the six winners at this month’s inaugural Parris Cues Champion of Champions event in Gloucester.

The all-new invitational event will be played on 20-21 October 2018 and see the most successful four players from each of our six regular group events (1-2, 3, 4-5, 6, 7 and 8) dating back to 2015, compete to become the Champion of Champions in their classification group and be presented with the new Nick Oliver Trophy.

As first announced to the players at the recent Open Disability Snooker Championship, we can today confirm that courtesy of regular WDBS sponsor 360Fizz, our new champions will also be offered the incredible opportunity to compete at next year’s WSF Championships in the United Arab Emirates, organised by the World Snooker Federation (WSF).

First staged in Malta earlier this year, the WSF Championships is an international event which provides the world’s best amateur players the chance to compete for a place on the World Snooker Tour and places at other prestigious international events. Next year’s event will be played at the Dubai World Trade Centre for the first time from 28 March – 7 April 2019 and will also incorporate a Seniors event and the World Women’s Snooker Championship.

Following an agreement reached with the WSF and the support of 360Fizz, WDBS will fund the entry of each of the six winners in Gloucester, together with the reasonable cost of flights and hotels for the duration of the period that the players are competing in the event.

WDBS Chairman Nigel Mawer said: “I am thrilled to be able to make this announcement on what is a significant day in our journey. Since our formation in 2015 we have been committed to providing opportunities for people with disabilities to play snooker competitively, not only against each other but also in major able-bodied tournaments and through our membership of the WSF we are able to do just that.

“Already at this year’s WSF Championships in Malta we met players from Iceland and Israel who were competing with disabilities and today’s announcement is a fantastic incentive for each of our 24 players who will be competing in Gloucester this month to be able to join them in Dubai.

“I would also like to thank our sponsors 360Fizz who have been such strong supporters of disability snooker so far this season and we look forward to working with closely in the future.”

Jonny Welch of 360Fizz added: “I am proud to be able to play a part in helping these incredible players be able to compete at such an important international tournament as the WSF Championships. It has been a pleasure both for me personally and for 360Fizz to support WDBS so far this season and I would like to wish all of the players competing in Gloucester for these places in Gloucester the very best of luck!”

The Parris Cues Champion of Champions will take place at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester on 20-21 October 2018. Further information including confirmation of the 24 players who will be competing at the tournament will be released shortly.

Learn more about the WSF Championships: https://www.worldsnookerfederation.org/u-a-e-to-host-wsf-championships-2019/

Champions Crowned in Northampton

Last weekend saw the staging of the record-breaking Fizz Open Disability Snooker Championship at Barratts Snooker Club in Northampton.

The third event of the 2018/19 season organised by World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) boasted an incredible field of 79 competitors across the weekend, smashing the previous record of 55 set at the Welsh Open earlier this year. Players from all eight disability classification groups contested six individual titles, with a mix of new and former champions taking top honours.

Physical disabilities

In the Group 1-2 category for wheelchair players it was Aslam Abubaker who won his first WDBS title. A former runner-up at this event last year in Wolverhampton and July’s Welsh Open, it was to be third time lucky as he defeated Shahab Siddiqui 2-0 to secure victory.

“I am delighted to win,” said Abubaker. “It has been a marvellous snooker tournament and I’m really pleased to get over the line and get a win on the board.”

The Group 3 ambulant competition saw Scotland’s William Thomson complete a hat-trick of WDBS victories with a resounding 4-0 success against defending champion Daniel Blunn. Thomson, who has HMSN type 2, dropped just one frame throughout the event and also made the weekend-high break of 66 across all classifications on his way to the title.

It was a similar story in Group 4-5 as Preston’s Mickey Chambers made it two titles from two with a 3-1 success against 2017 champion David Church. Chambers, who is a lower leg amputee and also represents England’s amputee football team, progressed through to the final without the loss of a frame and was delighted to end the weekend on top again.

“I am very happy both to win and how I was playing all weekend,” said Chambers. “I’ve come up against some new players that I have never played before but I just tried to implement my game and scare my opponents really.

“It has been a long weekend but a fantastic one. I met some really good people and really great players from all different groups. It has been an honour to be involved and I want to thank the sponsors and everyone who came – literally the last frame there you can hear a pin drop and everyone was watching, everyone was involved.”

Groups 6-8

The remaining three events for players with learning and sensory disabilities each saw repeat victories for the trio of players who came out on top at February’s UK Open tournament also in Northampton.

Daniel Harwood completed the successful defence of his Fizz Open title with a dominant 4-0 victory against fellow Liverpudlian Leroy Williams in the final. With four breaks over 30 during the weekend, Harwood dropped just one frame on his way to a fourth WDBS title, the most for a Group 6 player so far.

It was a similar story for former professional Paul Smith who also claimed his fourth WDBS win with a 4-1 success against first-time finalist Ronnie Allen from Wales. Having come through a tight five-player round robin group, Smith defeated Robert Craft in the semi-finals before seeing off Allen in the decisive match to secure yet another title.

“I am very happy with the win and have enjoyed every bit of it,” said Smith. “It is a long day, but most enjoyable and, as always, expertly run. It is like one big family and a joy to be here. I really enjoyed meeting and playing with Ronnie in the final, he is a gracious and humble guy and a very good player too.”

Finally, there was also further glory for Shabir Ahmed who defeated Nikolas De Whytell 4-2 to secure victory. Ahmed did not drop a frame on his way to the final, before seeing off another first-time finalist in De Whytell to win his fourth WDBS crown and confirm his status as the most successful deaf player so far.

“There have been so many players and I have had to be really focused and determined,” said Ahmed. “The final was really difficult, it was a battle, but in the end, I won and I am very happy and pleased with myself. I just want to carry on and keep winning!”

Side-events

The mixed classification Challenge Cup for competitors who did not progress to the knockout rounds of the main tournament was won by Richard Gott and Richard Bradburn, who defeated David Grant and Danny Luton in the final.

It is a second doubles victory for Gott of 2018 after his previous triumph back in Cwmbran this summer.

There was also a win for John Fenwick in our first-ever WDBS billiards competition held on Friday after he defeated Daniel Blunn in a close final to secure victory.

Open day success

Once again, the weekend began with a successful Friday open day which saw visitors including international Paralympic broadcaster Rob Walker, professional stars Kyren Wilson and Harvey Chandler, as well as local MP Michael Ellis and Mayor of Northampton Cllr Tony Ansell stop by to support the event.

The event was also generously supported by FizzThinks360, with company founder Jonny ‘Fizz’ Welch and his team in attendance during the weekend.

WDBS Vice-Chairman Simon Berrisford said: “It has been a fantastic weekend with so many entries. It has been extremely busy but everyone seems happy, we have seen some really high-quality snooker and some good finals on the way.

“It has been great to see so many players travel from overseas and this is what we want to see moving forwards, more nationalities getting involved. The support from Belgium has been fantastic, we were there in March and now they are coming to our events. We’ve had Andy Lam from Hong Kong and the guys from Poland have really enjoyed their first event too.”

We would finally like to thank everybody at Barratts Snooker Club, for their support during the weekend once again. We are also delighted that during the weekend the venue became the latest venue to sign up to the 147 Club, the official club affiliation scheme of the English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards.

View full tournament results from the main competition via MySnookerStats here.

View event photos at our Facebook page here.

View the updated WDBS Roll of Honour here.