Category: General News

Stockport Open 2020 – Tournament Review

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

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

Physical disabilities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Intellectual disabilities

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

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

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

Challenge Cup

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

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

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

Stockport Open 2020 | Tournament Preview

World Disability Billiards and Snooker will return to the Hazel Grove Snooker Club this weekend for its opening events of the new calendar year. The Stockport Open 2020 will feature a plethora of current and former champions mixing it with contenders and debut cueists from across several disability classification groups. 

Open Day 

Traditional with most WDBS events, the curtain is raised with our ‘Friday Open Day’ where we welcome individuals and groups to the venue, providing them with a relaxed atmosphere where they can learn about the organisation and receive tips from our dedicated coaches. Competitors for the weekend’s tournaments will also arrive and settle in, taking the opportunity to practise on the tables. 

Wheelchair and Ambulant Events (Groups 2-5) 

Several big-name players will contest the modified Group 2+4 event which features 19 entries. 

Multiple-time WDBS main event winner and Scottish international William Thomson is one of the fancied cueists to take the title, as too is wheelchair player Tony Southern, the reigning Belgian Open and UK Disability champion. 

Other contenders include former Manchester Classic winner Andy Johnson, last year’s runner-up Peter Yelland, two-time professional major ranking event finalist Dean Reynolds and youngster Ben Rawson. 

Twelve months ago, in the keenly contested Group 3 event, John Teasdale claimed his maiden WDBS main event title after a memorable comeback against Joe Hardstaff in the final. Both Teasdale and Hardstaff will be back, as too will former Open Disability champion Nigel Coton and tour regular Kal Mattu. 

Defending Group 5 champion Mickey Chambers will be seeking career title number five in Stockport but will face stiff opposition in rivals such as Humber Classic champion David Moore and recent main event finalists Dean Simmons and Ivor Halnosky. 2019 Challenge Cup winner Phil Woodwiss and three-time event semi-finalist Gareth Ward are also set to be present. 

Intellectual Disabilities (Groups 6A and 6B) 

In Group 6A, Faisal Butt will be looking to retain the title and pocket an incredible fifth victory inside a year. Butt has built up a rivalry with the also successful Michael Busst, who managed to overcome him in the Champion of Champions final in Gloucester last autumn. Warren Ealy and Michael Farrell – the other two qualifiers for that Champion of Champions – will be looking to secure their first gold medals. 

Leroy Williams is aiming to continue his recent dominance of Group 6B; the Liverpool based potter currently holds four main event accolades. Amongst the contenders to his title includes Christopher Goldsworthy, runner-up at the 2019 Southern Classic. 

You can keep up-to-date with all the action from Stockport throughout the weekend by visiting our social media channels on Facebook and Twitter, and all the latest draws and results via snookerscores.net here.

DSActive Workshop – February 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Belgian Open 2020 – Enter Now!

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

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

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

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

Tournament Format

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

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

Velotel Hotel exterior

Hotel Velotel

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

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

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

Travel Options

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

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

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

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

Stockport Open 2020 – Enter Now

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

Open Day / Billiards

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

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

Competition

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

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

Champions Crowned at Hull Open

This year’s final World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) event was completed last weekend as our latest champions were celebrated at the Hull Open, sponsored by the Humber Fish Co.

Returning to the popular Tradewell Snooker Club for its fourth staging, the event saw competitions held for deaf and partially sighted players across the weekend, with 26 players taking part.

The event also featured a busy Friday Open Day, which welcomed approximately 40 people attending from local disability groups who came to try snooker in a fun and friendly environment under the guidance of WPBSA World Snooker coaches.

Rees Reigns

There was a debut win for Ireland’s Dylan Rees in the Group 7 competition for people with visual disabilities as he defeated former champion Paul Smith 4-0 to make it a weekend to remember in East Yorkshire.

Competing in his first WDBS event, Rees emerged from his round robin group with a perfect record following victories against Ben Chappell, Gary Gallacher and David Baker, before edging 2017 runner-up Mike Gillespie 3-2 to progress to the title match.

There he would face four-time WDBS winner and 2016 Hull champion Paul Smith, who had himself topped his group with three wins against Gillespie, Ronnie Allen and Bob Craft, before ending the hopes of local player Ben Chappell, who was competing in the knockout rounds for the first time, with a 3-1 success.

The final would prove to be one-way traffic however as Rees, who also made the weekend-high break of 64, raced to a 4-0 victory to secure his first gold medal.

Shabir Equals Blunn Record

In Group 8 there was a landmark victory for Blackburn’s Shabir Ahmed, who edged out first-time finalist Gary Taylor 4-3 to claim a record-equalling tenth WDBS victory on Sunday.

In the latest tournament held for deaf players, regular winner Ahmed came through a four-player group with victories against Daniel Booth, Richard Gott and Mark Johnson, joining a strong field including former WDBS champions Lewis Knowles and Nicholas Cash in the last eight.

There Ahmed would face Nicholas Wiltshire, before victory saw him through to a semi-final clash with Nicholas Cash, a repeat of their dramatic final in Derby won by Cash on the final black. This time however it would be Ahmed who would progress to yet another title match as he potted the final four colours to win a deciding-frame.

Awaiting him would be Gary Taylor, a man competing in only his second event having lost out to Ahmed in the last four at this year’s UK Disability Championship in Northampton. Having progressed from his round robin group, Taylor defeated Nikolas de Whytell and Lewis Knowles – the latter in a dramatic match which saw all three frames decided on the black – to reach his first final.

The decisive battle looked like going according to the script as Ahmed raced into a 2-0 lead, but Taylor responded in fine style by taking the following three to turn the match on its head and stand just one frame from taking his first title.

Ahmed however has not enjoyed the success he has on the WDBS circuit without being able to respond to a challenge and he recovered to take the final two frames and with it a tenth WDBS title, equalling the record set by Group 4 player Daniel Blunn at September’s UK Championship in Northampton.

The Challenge Cup tournament for players who did not qualify for the knockout rounds was won by David Baker, who repeated his 2016 success at the same venue with a 2-1 victory against Ronnie Allen in the final.

The next WDBS event will be the Stockport Open which will run from 10-12 January 2020 at the Hazel Grove Snooker Club.

View full tournament results and information here.

View the updated WDBS Roll of Honour here.

Belgian Open 2020 – Expressions of Interest

We are looking forward to returning to Bruges, Belgium from 6-8 March 2020 for what is set to be the biggest edition of the WDBS Belgian Open to date.
Previously the event has been held as a Groups 1-5 competition, however next year our intention is to include players from all eight classification groups as we look to grow the tournament further.

Entry numbers

Our WDBS policy is that each tournament must receive at least four entries to be able to run as a standalone tournament. If a lower number of entries is received, the tournament for that group will either be cancelled, or where possible merged with another group.
We do appreciate that this means it is difficult for players and their supporters to make firm travel and hotel arrangements at an early stage, particularly in groups that have not been included in this event before or have previously received a low number of entries.
To encourage early commitment, there will be an earlier entry deadline for this competition than normal. We will keep you posted on the progress of entries.

UK Bus Service

In order to help UK-based players travel to the event, last season we successfully ran a coach service from London to Bruges, returning to the UK on the Monday following the event.
This service however did incur significant cost to WDBS, particularly as a number of players who had initially expressed an interest in using the coach did not end up using the service.
As a result, before we commit to running a similar service in 2020 and to know the size of a bus we would potentially require, we are asking for a firm commitment from players who would intend to use this service should it run again. At the point of entry for the event, we will be requiring a non-refundable deposit from players who wish to use it.

Expressions of interest

Please therefore respond below as soon as possible to the following two questions:
1) Do you intend to compete in this season’s WDBS Belgian Open?
2) Do you plan to use our coach service, as detailed above?
Many thanks
WDBS Team

Northampton 2020 – Format Consultation

Dear players,

As you are aware this year’s UK Disability Snooker Championship in Northampton was held over three days for the first time in order to address the scheduling issues that we experienced in 2018.

This proved to be successful as Friday’s additional session allowed us to conclude at a sensible time early in the evening on each day, in contrast to the previous year which saw play continue past midnight and players faced with long periods of waiting.

We also understand however that playing matches on Friday does cause additional expense for players and may be difficult for those who do not wish to take time off work, which ultimately led to a lower amount of entries for this year’s event.

In the circumstances we are interested to hear from players which of the following you would prefer for next season’s event.

  1. Three-day event, with a high limit on entry numbers (80+)

A similar format to this year with at least two sessions to be completed on Friday. This would allow us to accept a very high number of entries and finish each day at a reasonable time.

  1. Two-day event, with a lower limit on entry numbers (approx. 60)

To return to a two-day event, but with a significantly lower amount of players allowed to enter and a strict limit imposed on a first-come, first-served basis. Reduced numbers compared to 2018 and 2019 would allow us to maintain a reasonable schedule.

We look forward to receiving your feedback.

WDBS Team.

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.