Category: Features

David Moore Q&A

Last month’s season opening Humber Classic competition saw six players walk away with main event honours across a range of physical and intellectual disability tournaments.

Perhaps the most remarkable success however was that enjoyed by Southampton’s David Moore, who claimed his maiden WDBS Group 5 victory, just months after a serious accident at work that left him with serious injuries including a fractured skull.

We caught up with David recently to look back on his success and his love of snooker…

David, you have made the perfect start to the new 360Fizz WDBS Tour season with your victory in Hull. How satisfying was it to finally break your duck on the circuit and claim your first title, particularly having missed out in two previous finals?

It was an extremely satisfying weekend for me to get the win, particularly after a long journey up to Hull from Southampton via train, underground and taxi. I felt very relaxed the whole weekend, the club [Tradewell Snooker Club] and its staff were very nice and welcoming.

It didn’t cross my mind as I got the final that it would be my third chance to try and finally win a tournament. But hopefully now I will kick on and win a few more!

Your success was of course all the more remarkable as it came off the back of a difficult few months for you after the accident that you suffered at work shortly after competing in Bruges. Tell us about the accident and the impact that had upon you.

The accident was an extremely difficult time, more so for my family as I don’t remember much of it at all. I had two ambulances, a fire engine and a helicopter out to me.

The first few days I had no idea who my own family were. I fractured my skull and broke my collarbone and shoulder. I am a lucky man and if I am honest the thing that is now affecting me the most is not being able to drive for six months.

At least when I got home from the hospital, I had a lot of snooker on the TV [during the Betfred World Championship] to keep me sane!

Was there a time that you thought you might not be able to play snooker again?

There was a lot of talk at hospital about whether I would be able to ever play again. My wife Lisa and my mum we’re very concerned because they know how much snooker means to me.

I never worried that I would try to play no matter what. When I got out of hospital I tried to play with my arm in extreme pain and hardly able to move. I didn’t pot anything, but I knew I’d get back to it.

How did you first become interested in snooker and why you still enjoy it today?

 I’ve loved snooker from as long as I can remember. My dad was a massive fan and a good player. He had so many trophies and whenever it was on TV, he would have it on, so I quickly caught the bug from him.

He taught me how the play snooker on a pool table at first. He always beat me and said it was the best way to learn. I still have a lot of his ways even now, not only the good habits as he hit the cue ball hard and played a lot side which is something that I do!

Unfortunately, he died when he was 41 and that’s why I still play, I think. He played for the team that I now captain, I think he’d be proud, our team has gone all the way to the top league in Southampton and won many cups.

How did you come across WDBS and how does your disability affect your snooker?

I first saw WDBS on TV at the World Championship in Sheffield. I was rained off at work as a window cleaner and I thought that it was something I would like to try. Seeing how players play the game with their disabilities was inspiring.

I have a disability called Poland syndrome which means from birth I have one hand a lot smaller than the other. This affects grip and carrying things. I also have no pectoral muscle in the same side of the body and that stops me from doing a lot of things. For example, I struggle with strength so sometimes I under hit shots and sometimes over hit which can be annoying!

Due to bullying when I was eight, I also lost the vision in my right eye so could probably play in another group but to me the Poland syndrome affects my snooker more.

It has been nearly three years since you made your debut at the 2016 Open Disability Snooker Championship in Gloucester. What have been the biggest changes that you have seen to tour since?

WDBS is getting bigger and bigger. The tour is now going to other countries and there are more and more opportunities to play.

It feels so professionally run. There are very good referees on the tour, a tournament director and the online coverage it gets is so good now. But most of all the players are getting better and more and more people coming to the events.

What is your favourite part of playing in WDBS events?

I love the fact that me and my wife have made new friends from this. I love playing snooker but the whole weekend is amazing.

In the morning I am having battles with people on the table and in the evening with the same people we’re out enjoying different restaurants and having a laugh.

Do you have any particular targets for the rest of the season?

I just want to improve. I’m a lucky man to still be able to play after the accident so I won’t beat myself up if this is my only win, but I will try my very best to win again.

After getting to the final of the Champion of Champions last year that’s definitely going to be a aim for me every season.

What would you say to people with disabilities who might be considering entering a WDBS event?

I would urge anyone considering it to just do it. The events are so much more than snooker, providing an opportunity to meet an amazing bunch of people.

The organisers are so friendly and will help in every way they can. Don’t get me wrong it’s competitive but winning isn’t everything and it is suitable for people of any ability.

The next WDBS event will be next month’s Welsh Open which is open to players from all WDBS classification groups. Enter now online: www.wdbs.info/tournament-entry/welsh-open-2019

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

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.

Audiogram

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:

RESPONSIBILITY OF INDIVIDUAL COMPETITORS

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.

Consultation

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: www.fizzthinks360.com

 

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.

Simon Berridford and Liam Bairstow smiling

Corrie’s Bairstow to play at Humber Classic

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) is delighted to confirm that British soap star Liam Bairstow will be among the players competing at next month’s Humber Classic tournament in Hull.

Liam is best known for his role as Alex Warner in ITV’s Coronation Street, after he famously became the first actor with Down’s Syndrome to be cast in the world’s longest running soap opera just over three years ago.

Away from the studios Liam is also a keen snooker fan and first met the WDBS team last May when he visited the World Championship to watch Mark Selby take on John Higgins on final day. Having kept in touch ever since, we are now looking forward to welcoming Liam to what will be our first-ever weekend competition exclusively for players with learning disabilities.

“I am really looking forward to this event,” said the Bradford-based actor. “I have been a fan of snooker since I have been watching Ronnie O’Sullivan who is my favourite.

“It was amazing to visit the Crucible last year because so many people were there. It was really exciting to meet legends like Stephen Hendry and John Parrott who I remember watching play.

“It was also a lot of fun as we had a challenge in the Cue Zone where if a boy beat me he would get a tour of Coronation Street and he did, so I was able to take him round the set.”

As well as being able to pick up a cue for himself, Liam is looking forward to being able to meet new people during the event which will be held at Hull’s Tradewell Snooker Centre from 17-19 August.

“I love socialising and meeting new people,” added Bairstow. “It’s so nice to be able to talk to different people and then keep in touch through social media. I love Facebook and Twitter to be able to let my friends know when I will be on TV.”

Of his fellow cast members at Corrie, Liam identifies Charlie de Melo, who plays lawyer Imran Habeeb in the soap as a talented snooker player on a set which has welcomed the ‘Weatherfield Snooker Hall’ as a recent addition to the iconic street.

As for his own hopes in Hull, Liam is keeping his cards close to his chest but says that it would give him ‘a very warm feeling’ if he is able to take home a medal from the event.

Entries for the Humber Classic remain open with players with all disabilities welcomed to our free Friday Open Day, ahead of the two-day tournament for our Group 6 players.

Download the entry form now: https://www.wdbs.info/event/humber-classic-2018-group-6/

Image of snooker balls

Watch: New WDBS Video

Watch our new video as we hear from some of our World Disability Billiards and Snooker players about their stories and their experiences at WDBS events.

The video features Mickey Chambers, Robert Craft, Kal Mattu, Niteshk Chavda, Lee Finbow, Lewis Knowles, Christof Niklaus, William Thomson and interpreter Yvonne Thomas.

Thank you to Jamie Hyde for his hard work both filming and producing this video for us.

Watch below or via the WPBSA YouTube channel HERE.

Tony Southern playing snooker shot using rest

Tony Southern Q&A

A name who will be familiar to most with an interest in disability cue sports, Tony Southern will be among those in action at next month’s J&S Trading Northern Classic, to be held at Preston’s Elite Snooker Club for the first time.

We caught up with Tony recently to preview the tournament and look back at his time in the sport…

Hi Tony, we begin 2018 with the J&S Trading Northern Classic in Preston. How much are looking forward to the competition?

Yes, I am really looking forward to the first event of the year. I played a few pro-ams at the Elite Snooker Club back in the early 1990’s when I was at university in Preston, so it will be good to see how the club has changed.

Tony Southern shakes hands with Craig Welsh

Tony reached the final of the 2017 Manchester Classic, narrowly losing out to Craig Welsh

You entered your first WDBS competitions in 2017, notably coming so close to winning in Manchester, losing on a re-spotted black. Can you go one better this year?

Hopefully! After a break from snooker due to injury and other priorities it was good to be back, and Craig Welsh played really well in the event and to beat me in the final.

Of course you are no stranger to snooker having competed in events for nearly 35 years – how do you reflect on your time in the sport?

I’ve achieved a lot since my first national win in 1985 at age 16! I’ve won 24 national disabled championships under the old BSAD/DSE framework (four of which were classed as World Opens when World Snooker was previously involved in the 1990’s), I still hold the highest event break of 87 and had a decent amateur career against able bodied players. But all of that was as a standing player and since I’ve comeback I’m playing from a chair, as that what I’ve done in my other cue sports to good effect.

Tony Southern plays snooker shot against Glyn Lloyd watched by Vic Hartley

Tony plays a shot as opponent Glyn Lloyd and referee Vic Hartley look on

What has competing in snooker events done for your life in general, what positive effects has this had physically and mentally? 

I have made lots of new friends, and it is always nice to see some old faces, and in some cases very old (Glyn Lloyd and referee Vic Hartley) still involved! I have got to know a lot of the top pros as well and travelled the length and breadth of the country. It will be good to play my first international snooker event in Belgium, after playing American pool around the world the last 10 years.

Tell us about your disability, how does this affect your snooker? Has this changed over your career and what challenges has this given you?

I have cerebral palsy which affects my legs, as mentioned above most of my snooker career was spent playing standing up, but as you get older, muscles get weaker and I started using a chair for my other cue sports in 2006. It made sense to do this for snooker too, as I was getting too fatigued walking around table.

Tony Southern places cue ball

Tony in WDBS action at the 2017 Open Disability Snooker Championship in Wolverhampton

You had spoken of retirement in 2017, but posted recently that your health has improved and you are looking forward to continuing to play for the foreseeable future. What are your goals for 2018 and beyond?

I was diagnosed with two prolapsed discs in my back in 2016, which meant I was having real issues with bending to play any shots, even from a chair. It cost me matches and several titles in my other cue sports, so was getting really down about my future prospects, as I always want to be competitive.

However, a series of treatments on my back in 2017 and a recent knee operation have really helped, and I’m now the president of the British Pool Federation, looking after the interests of the American Pool players in the UK, both at a professional and amateur level. So if I have to be at events in an administrative role, why not play as well!

Tony Southern and Andy Johnson point at balls arranged to look like Belgian flag

Tony will be competing at the inaugural Belgian Open in March (pictured with Andy Johnson)

How important is the social aspect of WDBS events, both catching up with old friends and meeting new people?

It is really important, I’m one of the few left from the mid 1980’s still competing and it’s nice to see the older players and referees still going. It is also good to see younger players grow and improve, I recall seeing Daniel Blunn as a young teenager many years ago and telling his father that he was very good and would win lots of titles, which of course he has done!

What message would you have for anyone out there considering entering a WDBS event for the first time?

Basically, come and give it a go, no matter what your standard of play. It is almost guaranteed that your level will improve just being around the WDBS scene and utilising the coaching days, and competing against players on a level playing field in terms of disability. Three days of fun, coaching and events is a great experience for all involved.

There is still time to join Tony and enter the J&S Trading Northern Classic from 2-4 February 2018. Click HERE to learn more and download the full entry form.

Snooker Legends Auction Raises Money for WDBS

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) will benefit from a Snooker Legends exhibition featuring Ronnie O’Sullivan to take place in Lincoln on Friday 5th May 2017.

Thanks to local player Nigel Coton, who won his category at last year’s Open Disability Snooker Championship and has helped to organise the event, it has been agreed that any surplus funds from the exhibition will be donated to the WDBS.

The event is already a sell out, but we have two extra premium tickets available by auction format to the event, which would normally retail for a face value of £80.00. The winning bidder will not only be able to watch all of the action up close, but also have access to the buffet, to meet Ronnie and to buy exclusive merchandise to be personally signed.

To make your bid please contact ronnieoinlincoln5may2017@aol.com – closing date Sunday 30th April at 8:00pm.

Group 6 Event Added to Manchester Classic

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) has announced that the upcoming 2017 Manchester Classic has been expanded to include a Learning Disability Snooker Day for Group 6 players.

In addition to the previously announced two-day competition for players from Groups 1-5, the Learning Disability Snooker Day will run alongside the regular open day on Friday 10 March 2017 at Q’ Sports and Entertainment Bar, Manchester.

Activities will include opportunities for practice and coaching for people of all levels of experience, as well as an optional 6 Red competition. Following external support that the WDBS has received for the event, for the first time both finalists of the Group 6 tournament will receive a prize, with the winner to receive snooker equipment and/or coaching to the value of £100 and the runner-up equipment or coaching worth £50.

Previous WDBS Group 6 events were held in Woking and Gloucester respectively during 2016, with David Barrett and Richard Yendle winning the tournaments respectively.

There is still time for players from all groups to enter the Manchester Classic, which will carry a total prize fund of £1,000 across four competitions. The tournament is supported by prize money sponsors LITEtask and the PHMG Foundation, with further sponsorship opportunities still available.

View more information about the event and download the entry form for the Group 1-5 event.