Category: Champion of Champions

Disability Snooker Champions Crowned in Gloucester

The Parris Cues Champion of Champions returned to Gloucester’s South West Snooker Academy last weekend as six titles were contested between the strongest players on the 360Fizz World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) circuit over the past two seasons.

Following last season’s spectacular event at the same venue, the 2019 competition once again brought together up to four players each from six regular disability classification groups, including physical, sensory and learning disabilities.

Once again players fought to secure the spectacular Nick Oliver Trophy (learn more about Nick and his story here), with five of this year’s six tournaments won by new players compared to 2018.

Physical disabilities

India’s Aslam Abubaker claimed victory in the Groups 1-2 wheelchair competition for the first time at the Champion of Champions with a 9-4 victory against Shahab Siddiqui.

Following the late withdrawals of defending champion Daniel Lee and Daniel Luton, the remaining twosome were able to play a three-session final across the weekend to determine this year’s winner.

The pair could not be separated after their first session as they finished locked at 2-2, before Abubaker edged the second to secure an overnight 5-3 advantage. Although Siddiqui fought hard to the end, it was Abubaker who was able to add the four frames that he needed on day two to secure his second WDBS title of the season and third in total.

In the Group 4-5 competition for players with ambulant disabilities there was also a new champion crowned as Preston’s Mickey Chambers defeated William Thomson 4-1 to secure his first title of the season.

The pair came through a fiercely contested group which saw 10-time WDBS champion Daniel Blunn and defending champion David Church both fail to progress to the final, before Chambers added a second victory of the weekend against Scotland’s Thomson to seal glory.

Learning disabilities

For the first time at the Champion of Champions Group 6 was split into separate competitions for players with learning disabilities (6A) and autism (6B), in keeping with other events on the WDBS calendar.

In Group 6A it was Mike Busst who emerged victorious following a 4-2 victory against Mohammed Faisal Butt to win his first WDBS title since last year’s Hull Open.

The pair, who have dominated their group having between them claimed each of the last six 6A titles, once again progressed to the title match having eliminated Michael Farrell and Warren Ealy at the round robin stages.

Their final was close throughout as the first four frames were shared, but it was Busst who crucially claimed the last two to secure the biggest title of his WDBS career to date.

Meanwhile in Group 6B there was a fifth success for Leroy Williams who maintained his strong form on the circuit with an 8-4 success against Peter Geronimo.

Both players came through a three-player group with wins against Christopher Goldsworthy to set up an extended best of 15 frame final to be played during the final day of the tournament.

After Williams secured an early 4-1 advantage, former Humber Classic champion Geronimo claimed back-to-back frames to reduce his arrears and keep in the match.

From there however it was Williams who would dominate, taking the final four frames to secure his third title of the season and reinforce his status as the player to beat in his group.

Sensory disabilities

Coventry’s Nick Neale became the only player to successfully defend his Champion of Champions title following a comprehensive 5-0 whitewash of Ronnie Allen in the Group 7 final.

Having come through the group stages against Mike Gillespie and event debutant Gary Gallacher, the pair met in a repeat of several recent finals including the UK Disability Championship and Welsh Open tournaments held during the past two months.

Ultimately it would be Neale who would prevail once again to secure his ninth WDBS title, moving him to within one of all-time record holder Daniel Blunn. Neale also secured the week-high break with a run of 61 during the group stages, also against Allen.

Finally, the Group 8 competition for deaf players was won by Shabir Ahmed, who avenged his defeat last season to Lewis Knowles with a hard-fought 8-5 success in this year’s final.

Having defeated Derby Open winner Nick Cash and former Hull Open champion Blake Munton to progress, the most successful two Group 8 players in the four-year history of the WDBS would contest an entertaining final which swung one way and then the other.

Ahmed, who came into the final as an eight-time champion, raced into leads of 5-1 and 6-2 before his opponent hit back with three in a row to close the gap to just one frame. It was Blackburn’s Ahmed however who would hold his nerve, claiming the final two frames to win the title for the first time.

As in 2018, this year’s event was generously sponsored Parris Cues and each player received their own keepsake trophy in recognition of their achievement, as well as being presented with the perpetual Nick Oliver Trophy, which will have the names of each of this year’s winners engraved on its base following this event.

The 360Fizz WDBS circuit continues with the Hull Open which includes Group 7-8 tournaments from 15-17 November, the final event of the calendar year. Entries for the event are being accepted online HERE.

Field Set for Parris Cues Champion of Champions 2019

There is less than one week to go until the second staging of the Parris Cues Champion of Champions by World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) and we can today confirm the 23-player field who will compete at the event this year.

As in 2018, six tournaments will be held at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester from 12-13 October, with the most successful players from the previous two years invited to compete.

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

Aslam Abubaker, Shahab Siddiqui, Danny Luton

Groups 4-5

Daniel Blunn, William Thomson, Mickey Chambers, David Church

Group 6A

Faisal Butt, Mike Busst, Michael Farrell, Warren Ealy

Group 6B

Leroy Williams, Peter Geronimo, Christopher Goldsworthy*

Group 7

Gary Gallacher, Nick Neale, Ronnie Allen, Mike Gillespie

Group 8

Shabir Ahmed, Lewis Knowles, Blake Munton, Nicholas Cash

*only three players will contest Group 6B due to the non-entry of the remaining eligible players

As previously stated, this year’s event will not include tournaments for Groups 3 and 7A due to only one counting event having been played for each category following the changes to the WDBS Classification system made this year. Results from tournaments already played will however be carried forward to next year’s Champion of Champions event.

In addition to becoming champion of their respective groups, this year’s winners will each be presented with the perpetual Nick Oliver Trophy and will receive a keepsake trophy to take home and keep.

Further tournament information, including the prize money schedule and match schedule will be published in due course.

Champion of Champions to Return to Gloucester

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) is today pleased to confirm that this season’s Parris Cues Champion of Champions event will return to the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester following its successful first staging last year.

In a change to the previously announced dates – the prestigious event will run from 12-13 October 2019, a week earlier than originally advertised.

This year’s competition will see the most decorated players on the WDBS circuit from the past two seasons invited to compete across six individual competitions, with the winners set to see their names inscribed on the stunning Nick Oliver Trophy.

The players who will be invited to compete in this year’s event are:

Groups 1-2

Daniel Lee, Aslam Abubaker, Kurt Deklerck, Shahab Siddiqui*

*Tony Southern has already indicated that he will not be available to compete

Groups 4-5

Daniel Blunn, Mickey Chambers, William Thomson, David Church.

Group 6A

Faisal Butt, Mike Busst, David Mac, Michael Farrell.

Group 6B

Daniel Harwood, Leroy Williams, Peter Geronimo, Andrew Galley.

Group 7

Nick Neale, Paul Smith, Ronnie Allen, Mike Gillespie.

Group 8

Shabir Ahmed, Blake Munton, Nicholas Cash, Lewis Knowles.

WDBS can confirm that this year’s event will not include tournaments for Groups 3 and 7A due to only one counting event having been played for each category following the changes to the WDBS Classification system made this year. Results from tournaments already played will however be carried forward to next year’s Champion of Champions event.

Each of the players listed above will be contacted to confirm their entry to the event in due course. Should any player not be available their place will be taken by the next player on the qualification list from that group.

Read our report of last season’s Champion of Champions HERE.

Disability Champions Head to Dubai

Six disability snooker champions will compete alongside the world’s top amateur snooker players at this year’s WSF Championships in Dubai this March with the support of 360Fizz.

Last October saw the most successful players at World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) events held over the past three years come together for the inaugural WDBS Champion of Champions at Gloucester’s South West Snooker Academy. From the 24 players who were invited to the tournament, six emerged victorious from their respective disability classification groups:

  • Daniel Lee (Groups 1/2 winner)
  • Daniel Blunn (Group 3 winner)
  • David Church (Groups 4/5 winner)
  • Daniel Harwood (Group 6 winner)
  • Nick Neale (Group 7 winner)
  • Lewis Knowles (Group 8 winner)

As part of a ground-breaking initiative between WDBS and the World Snooker Federation (WSF), each of the players have been invited to compete at the 2019 WSF Championships, snooker’s premier international competition for amateur players.

Following a successful first staging of the event in Malta last March, this year’s Championships will take place from 28 March – 7 April. The event will include the World Women’s Snooker Championship and WSF Seniors Championship, alongside the mixed gender competition which was won last year by China’s Luo Honghao, who has since taken his place on the professional World Snooker Tour.

360Fizz Support

As well as the prize of a free entry into this prestigious event, it has also been confirmed that the travel and accommodation costs of each of the six players will be generously sponsored by 360Fizz to ensure that each of the players can take advantage of this incredible opportunity.

Through its irrepressible owner Jonny Welch, 360Fizz has already provided significant support for WDBS in 2018 with the title sponsorship of three events, including the record-breaking Fizz Open Disability Snooker Championship which saw an incredible 79 players compete across two days.

What the players said:

Among those who will be making the trip to Dubai is Daniel Lee, who competes from a wheelchair and won three WDBS tournaments in 2018, including the mixed classification Welsh Open event from a field of 55 players from all eight disability classification groups.

“I am very happy,” said Lee after he defeated Tony Southern 4-2 to win his category at the Champion of Champions. “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.”

Another to book his place in Dubai was Daniel Blunn from Sutton Coldfield, who has cerebral palsy and is a serial champion at WDBS events, including at the WDBS Belgian Open on what was his first ever trip outside of the UK. He is now looking forward to competing in his second snooker tournament outside of the UK in Dubai and showing what people with disabilities can do:

“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.”

Similarly, Group 4/5 champion David Church will also be travelling further than he has before and is looking to make the most of the experience, win or lose in Dubai:

“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.”

“A significant milestone”

WDBS Chairman Nigel Mawer said: “I am thrilled for the six players who will be heading to Dubai to compete at the WSF Championships this year. 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 for us to be able to reward our current champions in this way represents a significant milestone in our growth.

“I would particularly 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 even more 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 Dubai

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

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.