Posts by: Matt Huart

Northampton Set For Fizz Open

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) heads to Barratts Snooker Club in Northampton next weekend for what is set to be its biggest disability snooker tournament yet.

The Fizz Open Disability Snooker Championship will include competitive tournaments for players from all eight WDBS classification groups encompassing physical, learning and sensory disabilities. Over 80 players have confirmed their entry, smashing the previous record of 55 entries received at the Welsh Open earlier this year. The field includes players travelling from as far as Hong Kong, Poland and India.

As well as the serious competition, there will also be a free Friday Open Day for people with any disabilities to be able to come and pick up a cue under the guidance of accredited WPBSA World Snooker coaches. Joining us on the day will be international Paralympic broadcaster and snooker Master of Ceremonies Rob Walker who became a WDBS Ambassador earlier this year, as well as local MP Michael Ellis and Mayor of Northampton Councillor Tony Ansell.

There will also be a special photo shoot held on Saturday with all WDBS players encouraged to participate at a convenient time between their matches.

The event will be sponsored once again by the fantastic FizzThinks360, following their sponsorship of the successful Welsh Open and Humber Classic events earlier this season. Supporting sponsorship will be provided by BB Scaffolding and Cashflow Express.

All of the action will take place at Barratts Snooker Club, the home of two-time ranking event winner Kyren Wilson, the second WDBS event to take place at the venue this year following February’s UK Open. A venue of substantial size, the snooker area boasts an impressive 22 snooker tables with food served all day.

Further information in respect of the playing schedule and event formats will be issued to players shortly.

Draws and results for the tournament will be updated from next Saturday at MySnookerStats.


Hull Open Finalists to Receive Bonus Prize

There will be a special bonus prize on offer for the finalists of both the Group 7 and 8 events at the WDBS Hull Open 2018 this November.

To be held at the Tradewell Snooker Club for a third successive year, the event will once again include a two-day tournament for deaf players and those with visual impairments.

Courtesy of our hosts at the club, the both the winners and runner-ups in both events will be invited to share a VIP table at an upcoming Jimmy White exhibition in Lincoln on Friday 11 January 2019. There will also be a BSL interpreter completing the table to ensure that both deaf finalists are able to enjoy the evening fully.

As an extra special incentive, the player of the four who has the highest break of the weekend at the WDBS Hull Open 2018 will also need to bring their cue as they will be selected to play a frame against Jimmy White on the evening!

Our thanks go to the owners at the Tradewell Snooker Club for generously donating this incredible prize to our players. We would also like to thank event organiser Nigel Coton who once again plans to donate surplus funds from the exhibition to World Disability Billiards and Snooker.

Further Sponsors Confirmed for Northampton

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) has today announced two further sponsors for the upcoming Fizz Open Disability Snooker Championship.

First held back in 2015, the event is one of our most prestigious titles and this year will welcome by far our largest field of competitors to date to the tournament.

The event will now be supported by BB Scaffolding and Cashflow Express, in addition to event title sponsor FizzThinks360.

BB Scaffolding is a Manchester-based company, offering a fast, reliable and safe scaffolding service to both the construction industry and private sector. Run by experienced scaffolders Bradley Wosahlo and Brett Downs, the company offers a wide-range of services and an emergency 24 hour call out service.

Cashflow Express is an independent, owner managed, specialist cash flow solution provider operating throughout the UK. The company offers services including factoring, invoice discounting, bad debt protection, asset based lending, trade finance, purchase order finance, stock finance and business recovery.

Entry for the event remains open until 21 September 2018. Please click HERE for more information and to enter online.

Learn more about BB Scaffolding and Cashflow Express at their websites:

FizzThinks360 to Sponsor Open Disability Snooker Championship

We are today excited to announce that our next tournament at Barratts Snooker Club, Northampton will be sponsored by FizzThinks360.

The event, which will now be known as the Fizz Open Disability Snooker Championship, takes place on 28-30 September 2018 and is open to players of all eight disability classification groups including physical, learning and sensory disabilities.

This will be the third consecutive World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) to be sponsored by FizzThinks360, a successful talent management and promotion agency founded by the charismatic Jonny Welch who has attended recent events in Cwmbran and Hull.

The action will begin with our regular Friday Open Day on 28 September, prior to two days of competitive action with another record-breaking field of entrants expected.

Learn more about the weekend and the extra activities that will be hosted during the event here.

Enter now – limited availability

There has been extremely high demand for this event and at the time of writing there are just 20 places remaining in the competition. These places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

If you are intending to play in the event but have not yet completed your entry, we therefore strongly recommend that you do not delay so as not to avoid potential disappointment.

You can enter online here, or download our paper application form here.

Geronimo Wins Humber Classic

Peter Geronimo defeated Leroy Williams 3-1 to win the inaugural World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) Humber Classic yesterday.

Held at the Tradewell Snooker Club in Hull, the event was the first full-weekend tournament staged exclusively for people with learning disabilities. Based upon the nature of their learning disability players were classified as either 6A or 6B, with 6A players receiving a points start when playing 6B players.

Competing in his first WDBS event, London-based Geronimo progressed from Saturday’s group stages to a last eight meeting with fellow debutant Oliver Hanson. Following a 3-0 victory he then added the scalp of Preston’s Jordan Crossey with a 3-1 success to secure his place in the final.

He came up against reigning Northern Classic champion Leroy Williams in the decisive match after the Liverpudlian had made smooth progress through the draw without the loss of a frame.

It was Williams who made the faster start to the final, making a tournament high break of 46 on his way to taking the opening frame. Geronimo however had shown impressive tactical nous throughout the event and took a lengthy second frame to draw level, before adding the third to move one away from the title.

For much of the fourth frame it appeared as though the final was destined for a decider as Williams held the advantage, but it was Geronimo who was the stronger player on the colours and eventually potted the black to clinch a comeback victory. He subsequently described the victory as the ‘best of his life’ and accepted his gold medal from fellow competitor and British television actor Liam Bairstow.

As both the tournament winner and high break prizes were won by players from classification Group 6B, there was also an additional prize for the best performing player from Group 6A which was won by semi-finalist Michael Farrell. The Group 6A high break prize was claimed by local player Michael Greenheld following a run of 19 against Farrell during their quarter-final encounter.

Challenge Cup

The Challenge Cup for competitors who did not progress to the knockout rounds of the main tournament was won by regular player Alexandra Mendham.

It was a weekend to remember for Mendham who was impressive throughout and signed off with a 2-0 victory against first-timer Paul Wilshaw to earn her first gold medal.

Open day success

The weekend began with a busy open day on Friday which welcomed groups from Sheffield, Goole, Blackburn and Hull, as well as other people with disabilities. With opportunities available to participate in fun games, receive snooker coaching from WPBSA World Snooker coaches and to practice ahead of the weekend, it was a fantastic day for everybody involved and we look forward to seeing everybody again at future events.

As with the recent Welsh Open, the event was kindly supported by FizzThinks360, with company founder Jonny ‘Fizz’ Welch in attendance during the weekend.

WDBS would like to thank everyone at the Tradewell Snooker Club for their continued support of disability snooker. Already we are looking forward to returning this November for our third Hull Open competition for our Group 6-8 players.

We would also like to thank not only all of the players, but their families and supporters who travelled to the event and without whom the event would not have been possible.

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.

Open Disability Snooker Championship 2018: Enter Now

Entries are now open for the Open Disability Snooker Championship 2018 which will be held on 28-30 September.

To be held for the first time at Barratts Snooker Club in Northampton, this year marks the fourth staging of the event by World Disability Billiards and Snooker since its first edition back in 2015.

This year however the event returns with a fresh new twist as for the first time players from ALL EIGHT classification groups will be eligible to enter the competition, with Groups 7-8 joining the competition. In a significant difference to the recent Welsh Open, players will compete within their own disability classification groups with matches to be played under the full 15-Red format of the game.

Barratts is the home of former Shanghai Masters champion Kyren Wilson and previously hosted the WDBS UK Open back in February which saw victories for Paul Smith, Shabir Ahmed and Daniel Harwood. The venue boasts an impressive 22 snooker tables with food served all day.


The weekend will begin with a Friday Open Day, at which people with all disabilities are encouraged to attend and try snooker, with free practice and coaching from accredited WPBSA World Snooker coaches available.

The open day will be attended by Paralympic broadcaster and snooker Master of Ceremonies Rob Walker, who earlier this year agreed to become an ambassador for WDBS.

In another first, there will also be an opportunity for players to receive English Billiards coaching during the Friday, with a competition to be organised subject to there being sufficient interest on the day.

The weekend will then see two days of competitive snooker, with group matches set to be played on Saturday and knockout rounds played to a conclusion on Sunday. There will once again be a Challenge Cup competition held on Sunday for players who do not progress to the knockout stages.

We also plan to hold a special photoshoot for WDBS players during the Saturday, with all players encouraged to take part. Photographs will be used for future WDBS promotional material and you will be sent your photos for your own use.

Enter online

In a change from the normal entry process you can now enter the main competition online HERE.

To enter, please complete the fields requested and click ‘Enter & Pay’, following which you will be redirected to PayPal and have the option to either log in and pay by PayPal, or to checkout as a guest and pay by credit or debit card.

Regular players are also reminded of the recent changes announced to the dress code and WDBS classification system as explained HERE.

If you are unsure, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Landmark Open Day Held in China

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) staged an Open Day at the WPBSA-CBSA World Snooker Academy in Beijing on Tuesday.

The event was attended by Nigel Mawer QPM, Chairman of the WDBS, Chris Hornby, Sports Development Manger of the WPBSA, as well as professional snooker coaches, disabled snooker fans and players.

The event was hosted by the China Administration of Sport for Persons with Disabilities (CASPD) and the WDBS. It was jointly organised by Beijing Disabled Persons’ Federation, WPBSA and CBSA, and supported by Beijing Rigour Culture & Media as well as the CBSA World Snooker Academy.

This is one of the rehabilitation fitness demonstration events organised by CASPD during the eighth Disability Fitness Week.

Officials from WDBS visited CASPD in Beijing in June to discuss potential cooperation projects, including this open day during CASPD disability week. This was supported by CBSA, who provided coaches for the day, and by Rigour Media who have allowed WDBS and CASPD to use their excellent facility in Beijing.

The theme of the day was to encourage disabled people, who may have never played the sport of snooker, to give it a try. More than 40 deaf and disabled people learned to play snooker through fun activities and exercises arranged by CBSA coaches.

One of the disabled fans said: “This is the first time I have participated in this kind of event and the experience was excellent. The environment is very good. Through the guidance of the coach, I have a deeper understanding of snooker. I hope there will be more events like this which allow more people to enjoy the unique fun of snooker.”

WDBS will work closely with CASPD and CBSA to look at longer term projects, potentially installing snooker tables at CASPD’s headquarters in the National Paralympic Training Centre in Beijing before branching replica projects out into other regions in China. It is hoped that this will generate enough competition to create National Championships for people with disabilities, who can then compete against other countries internationally. Rigour’s ball-tracking technology could even allow for long-distance competitions between British and Chinese disabled players.

WDBS has long term Paralympic ambitions and hopes to create opportunities for disabled people in China.

Media coverage

Major media outlets in Beijing gave the event significant coverage.

WDBS Player Update – August 2018

All players please see below letter from our chairman Nigel Mawer QPM regarding the latest developments at World Disability Billiards and Snooker which will affect players from all eight classification groups:


Dear Players,

As we celebrate our third ‘birthday’ as an organisation I am writing to you to thank you for your continued support and participation in World Disability Billiards and Snooker tournaments.

The growth that we have witnessed since our inaugural tournament in Gloucester back in 2015 has been incredible to be a part of and it has been a real pleasure to meet so many wonderful people during this journey.

All of us on the team have all learned so much during the past three years and we remain as committed as ever to the organisation of these events and maintaining our long-term goal of taking snooker back to the Paralympic Games for the first time since 1988.

As we look ahead I am today pleased to be able to confirm a number of changes that we have discussed as a board and with players in recent months.

These will be introduced from the start of the Open Disability Snooker Championship in Northampton at the end of September, except for the Group 6 changes will will apply from the upcoming Humber Classic.

  1. Dress code

As we continue to professionalise our events we are now keen to see players looking as smart as possible when competing at WDBS events.

We therefore now require at our full-weekend tournaments that all players are to wear a long sleeved collared shirt, trousers and smart shoes. A tie will be optional.

We would also like players to wear a waistcoat unless for any reason your disability means that this is not possible. If you have any concerns about this then please contact us to discuss this directly.

We believe that this change will be positive for the professional image of our tournaments, in particular as we move towards the live streaming of matches and greater media exposure.

Please note that this does not apply to one-day Group 6 events, at which a polo shirt and trousers will be acceptable.

There remains no dress code for our Friday open days.

  1. Groups 1-5

No specific changes are currently proposed for Groups 1-5 classification, however we are currently reviewing both wheelchair and ambulant profiles to determine whether the existing system is both as fair and easy to understand as it can be.

In particular, following player feedback we are reviewing whether due to the nature of the sport ambulant players with upper body disabilities should be grouped differently to those with lower body disabilities.

Any proposed changes will be circulated for consultation prior to any implementation at an event.

  1. Group 6 Classification

Following feedback received from players and other interested parties we will be implementing the following changes to our events for players with learning disabilities.

WDBS aims to be as inclusive as possible and so has allowed people that would not fit Paralympic/International Sports Federation for Persons with Intellectual Disability (INAS) criteria to compete in our events. We do not wish to exclude those who fall outside of these criteria, however in the interests of promoting fair competition we have taken the decision to now split Group 6 into two sections as follows:

Group 6A – open to players who meet all of the following three criteria:

  • Evidence of IQ – a full scale score of 75 or lower on a recognised and professionally administered IQ test
    • Adaptive Behaviour OR Social Adaptation – Evidence of significant limitations in adaptive behaviour – a measure of how learning disability affects both daily life and the ability to respond to life changes and environmental demands (Conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills).
    • Age of Onset Pre-18 years – must be able to show that the learning disability was evident before the person was 18 years old.

All participants in this group will be expected to have either their parent/legal guardian/carer/headteacher, or a recognised learning disability professional specialist, sign a declaration that the following will be provided upon request.

Group 6B (UPDATED 13/08/2018)

  • All players with a learning disability with IQ over 75.
    • Players with an IQ above 75 who have professionally diagnosed Autism Spectrum Disorder
    • Players with an IQ above 75 who have a developmental disorder – please contact WDBS directly to discuss your eligibility
    • Eligibility for this group does not generally include players with an IQ above 75 who solely have Dyspraxia, Dyslexia or ADHD

If there are low entries at an event, both groups may be combined into a single tournament with players group 6A receiving a points start when playing against those from 6B.

  1. Group 8

Following consultation with players both using social media and at our players meeting in Derby attended by Craig Crowley MBE who has considerable experience in deaf sport, we have decided that we must formalise our requirements for Group 8 players as set out within the WDBS classification system.

Our long-term goal is to take snooker back to the Paralympics and other multi-sport Games and only by making these changes will we continue to progress and to be taken seriously by other deaf sport organisations.


Group 8 players must now provide an audiogram showing a loss of hearing of 55 decibels in the better ear at frequencies 500Hz, 1000Hz, and 2000Hz. This is in accordance with the Audiogram Regulations set out by the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf, adopted by Deaflympics that can be accessed HERE.

This must be provided before the closing date of the event that you wish to enter, following which the information will be kept on our records for future events.

Your audiogram must be dated within the past 12 months and will be valid for a period of two seasons. For example for players entering the Open Disability Snooker Championship in Northampton, they must provide an audiogram no older than September 2017 and this will be valid until the end of the 2019/20 season.

Hearing aids

In accordance with section 6 of the Audiogram Regulations linked above, players must take off any hearing aids during the course of a match:


6.1.The individual competitor solely carries the full responsibility to ensure he/she is not wearing any hearing aid(s)/amplification or external cochlear implant parts during the warm-up and competition within the restricted zone area.

6.2.All athletes will not be allowed to wear any hearing aid(s)/amplification or external cochlear implant parts upon entering any contest or competition venues. All athletes must remove hearing aid(s)/amplification or external cochlear implant parts during the last training prior to competitions.”

Although this will be enforced at the table during a match, to assist communication players will be permitted to use hearing aids at all other times at the venue.

We understand that the removal of hearing aids during play has caused significant debate previously, however in order that we can fairly judge the impact of this change we have decided that this will be enforced until the end of the current 2018/19 season when it will be reviewed.

Hearing aids may however be worn at the Parris Cues Champion of Champions as players were permitted to during the qualification period.

Safety officer

Following feedback from players, in particular Group 8 players due to the removal of hearing aids during play, we have decided that going forward at each WDBS event there will be a safety officer appointed. This officer will ensure that the venue is safe at all times, for example that all accessways are clear and accessible.

The safety officer at each event will be clearly identifiable and named during the player’s meeting at the start of any tournament. If you have any concerns at any event players are encouraged to contact the safety officer in the first instance.


As always, we continue to welcome all constructive feedback and we will review the effect of these changes on an ongoing basis following each event.

During the Open Disability Snooker Championship in Northampton we will also be available from at least 3:00pm-4:00pm to discuss any concerns that you may have and to listen to your feedback.

Thank you all once again for your support and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Nigel Mawer QPM

WDBS Chairman

FizzThinks360 to Sponsor Humber Classic

We are today delighted to announce that next month’s Humber Classic will be sponsored by FizzThinks360.

Having recently supported the Welsh Open earlier this month, the talent management agency has pledged its support to the latest event to be run by World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS).

The Humber Classic will be our first to include a full weekend competition exclusively for people with intellectual disabilities (WDBS Group 6), including autism, Down syndrome and other disabilities.

The action will get underway on Friday 17 August at Hull’s Tradewell Snooker Centre, a 14-table venue that has seen extensive investment under new ownership during the past 12 months, with a free open day for people with all disabilities. The open day will be a fantastic opportunity to try snooker and receive free coaching from our accredited WPBSA World Snooker coaches, as well as to have fun and meet new people.

There will then be a full two-day Group 6 tournament held over the weekend itself, which will feature Bradford-based Coronation Street star Liam Bairstow among those competing.

Thanks to the sponsorship to be provided by FizzThinks360 there will once again be prize money availbale at the event. Founded by Jonny Welch (pictured above), FizzThinks360 is a successful promotion, marketing and management agency with a talent portfolio boasting both well-known celebrities and up and coming talent. Fizzthinks360 offers a ‘360’ service including promotion, strategy, web design & development, app development, email marketing, digital media and social media.

Entries for the event remain open until 10 August 2018. Please click HERE for more information and to download the full entry form in both standard and easy read format.

Learn more about FizzThinks360 online:


Disability Snooker Welcomed in China

Officials from World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) recently visited the China Administration of Sports for Persons with Disabilities (CASPD) to explore future partnership opportunities.

Nigel Mawer QPM, chairman of WDBS and WPBSA Sport Development Manager Chris Hornby met with Mr Wu Secretary of the Party Committee for CASPD and his team at the Chinese Paralympic Training Facility in Beijing. During fruitful discussions the parties discussed the significant growth of WDBS since its formation less than three years ago and how both WDBS and the CASPD can work together in the future to develop disability snooker in China.

Established in August 2003 as a non-profit organisation, the CASPD is responsible for the organisation of national level sport activities for people with disabilities including the following:

  1. Preparing the National Paralympic Team for competition
  2. To move disabled people into the community
  3. Classification of athletes for Paralympics Games
  4. Educating athletes through links with Beijing University
  5. Maintaining and managing significant facility
  6. Preparations for 2022 Winter Olympic Games/Paralympic Games
  7. Staging international disabled sport events

It was provisionally agreed that both parties are to work together with support from the China Billiards and Snooker Association (CBSA) to stage an open day at the Rigour Academy in Beijing for people with disabilities to try snooker and receive coaching from CBSA and WPBSA accredited coaches. This is to take place during ‘Disability Week’ on the 7th August 2018 and will be the first project of its kind in the region.

WDBS and CASPD will also continue work together on longer-term initiatives to include the installation of both full-size and ‘Little Star’ snooker tables at the Beijing facility to create opportunities for people with disabilities to play snooker. This project aims to engage both those playing for recreational and rehabilitation purposes, as well as creating a pathway for elite talent to progress to competition play.

Rigour technology

During their recent time in China both Nigel Mawer QPM and Chris Hornby also visited the Rigour Snooker Academy in Beijing to discuss whether Rigour’s industry-leading technology could be used to assist the global development of snooker for people with disabilities.

Positive discussions and technology demonstrations took place and both WDBS and Rigour Tech will continue their cooperation over the coming months.