Category: General News

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

Champions Crowned at Humber Classic

There was a mix of new and familiar winners at the season-opening Humber Classic staged at Hull’s Tradewell Snooker Club last weekend.

With six main tournaments staged for players with physical and learning disabilities, the event was the first of the new World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) circuit, which this season is sponsored by 360Fizz for the first time.

The weekend began with our regular open day led by WPBSA World Snooker coach Steve Rutter and welcomed several local groups and individuals who were encouraged to pick up a cue and enjoy the day. This was followed by the competitive action across the weekend, which saw some fantastic snooker and dramatic matches played to a conclusion.

Wheelchair (Groups 1-2)

India’s Aslam Abubaker claimed victory in the Groups 1-2 wheelchair classification without the loss of a frame in East Yorkshire.

Having won both of his round-robin matches against recent Belgian Open champion Tony Southern and Scotland’s Gavin Gormley, Abubaker then won a curtailed final 4-0 after opponent Southern conceded mid-way through the second frame having reported problems with his cue tip.

The win is Abubaker’s second following his previous success at the Open Disability Snooker Championship last September.

Ambulant (Groups 3-5)

There was further international success in Group 3 as Hong Kong’s Andy Lam won his maiden WDBS title following victory against former champion Nigel Coton.

Having travelled all the way from Asia especially to compete in the event for players with significant upper-limb impairments, Lam progressed with victories against Kal Mattu and John Teasdale, despite actually losing out to fellow finalist Coton in the group stage on Saturday.

There was to be swift revenge for the Hong Kong native the following day however, as he ran out a 3-1 winner in the final to claim victory.

While that victor was Lam’s first, over in Group 4 there was a record ninth title success for Daniel Blunn who overcame Scotland’s Williams Thomson 3-2 in a classic final on the 360Fizz WDBS Tour.

The latest chapter in one of the standout rivalries on the circuit which has seen wins for both players across several competitions in recent years, was written after the pair progressed through a high-quality field which for the first time included former world number 8 and two-time professional ranking event finalist Dean Reynolds.

It was Thomson who accounted for Reynolds in the semi-finals and it looked like he would go on to claim another title as he led Blunn 2-1 in the title match, but 27-year-old Blunn was not to be denied a ninth career WDBS title as he edged the final two frames to secure victory and extend a personal winning-streak dating back to last September’s Open Disability Snooker Championship.

The final tournament for players with ambulant disabilities saw a first-time winner in David Moore as the Southampton resident defeated local player Ivor Halnosky to win the Group 5 competition.

Moore, who had previously reached the finals of the 2016 Open Disability Snooker Championship and last year’s Champion of Champions, finally broke his title duck with a victory that will taste all the sweeter after his recovery from a recent accident at work shortly following the Belgian Open back in March.

Learning disabilities (Groups 6A-6B)

Mohammed Faisal Butt completed a hat-trick of WDBS titles in Group 6A after he came back from 2-0 down to defeat Mike Busst 3-2 in an entertaining final.

With an average shot time of just 15.69 seconds, Butt added to his victories at the recent Northern Classic an Southern Classic tournaments with success in East Yorkshire.

Meanwhile in Group 6B there was also a third title success for Leroy Williams, who completed a comprehensive 6-0 success against Peter Geronimo to avenge his final defeat against the same opponent a year ago and claim his second title of 2019.

In the Challenge Cup there was also victory for a Group 6B player as newcomer Kieran Richards-Witham defeated Group 5 player Phil Woodwiss to bag a gold medal on his debut.

All at WDBS would like to thank everyone who has supported the weekend, including our wonderful hosts at the Tradewell Snooker Club once again and all of the officials, players and their supporters who helped make the event possible.

The next event on the 360Fizz WDBS Tour will be the Welsh Open, to be held at Redz, Cwmbran from 2-4 August 2019. The full entry pack for the event will be released shortly.

Humber Classic 2019: Tournament Preview

The new 2019/20 360Fizz World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) season bursts into action later this week with the Humber Classic 2019 taking place at the Tradewell Snooker Club in Hull.

Throughout the campaign the WDBS circuit will visit venues across the country and beyond with several events staged for all eight disability classifications. Breaking off proceedings, a total of 44 players are scheduled to compete across six different categories (Groups 1-6) during the weekend’s curtain-raising event. Tradewell will once again host a WDBS stop, but for the first time at the venue wheelchair and ambulant players will be involved there.

Open Day

Before the competitive action gets underway at the weekend, on Friday we host our latest Open Day where all-comers with disabilities and their carers are encouraged to visit us at the venue to learn about and see what the WDBS has to offer.

Players – regardless of experience – can take part in a mix of technical coaching and fun activities that are provided by a team of WPBSA World Snooker coaches in our dedicated Coaching Zone. We look forward to welcoming both individuals and groups to the day.

Groups 1 & 2

A four-player field will assemble for the wheelchair competition in Hull, headlined by Aslam Abubaker and Tony Southern, both of whom collected their maiden WDBS titles last season at the Open Disability Championship and Belgian Open respectively. They will be joined by Scotland’s Gavin Gormley and Gary Nicholson who will be hoping to reach their first final.

Group 3

Following February’s Northern Classic in Stockport, for the second time players with severe upper body impairments or amputations will exclusively contest the Group 3 category that looks very hard to predict.

Back at the Hazel Grove a few months ago John Teasdale and Joe Hardstaff reached their maiden main event finals where Hardstaff took a 2-0 lead before Teasdale recovered to win 3-2. Both players are due to be present in East Yorkshire this weekend. 2016 Open Disability Champion Nigel Coton is the other name in this group with a major WDBS accolade, whilst fellow tour stalwart Kal Mattu also embarks on another season.

The party will welcome back Andy Lam, who will make the long journey over from Hong Kong. This will be Lam’s second appearance on the circuit after he impressed at the Barratts Club in Northampton during last Autumn’s Open Disability Snooker Championship.

Group 4

Several WDBS gold medal winners are present in a tasty looking Group 4 tournament that consists of 16 entries.

Currently the most decorated player in WDBS history, eight-time champion Daniel Blunn will be looking to add another title to his collection and prepare for his debut at the Crucible Theatre later this summer. However, Blunn will face stiff opposition as the ongoing battle for supremacy within the group is set to intensify throughout the year.

Arguably Blunn’s biggest rival is Scotland’s William Thomson who is fresh from playing at World Snooker’s Q-School in Wigan a few weeks ago. Thomson is a three-time winner on the tour himself – having defeated Blunn in all three finals – although Blunn ended that sequence at the Champion of Champions last October. Former winners on the scene David Church, Andy Johnson and David Weller are other candidates likely to be involved come the business end in Hull, while Peter Yelland made the final in Stockport during his last WDBS outing.

Group 5

A new champion is guaranteed come the conclusion of Group 5 on Sunday evening at Tradewell.

As a former main event finalist David Moore was a late replacement in the aforementioned inaugural Champion of Champions at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester, where he finished as the runner-up. Phil Woodwiss is another player knocking on the door for his maiden win, although he has previously tasted success at a Challenge Cup event earlier this year.

Moore and Woodwiss will line up alongside Maureen Rowland, Ivan Halnosky and David Langridge.

Group 6A / Group 6B

The Tradewell Snooker Club is a familiar venue for many of the circuit’s learning disabilities contingent, who will play in either group 6A (for those with an IQ under 75 and evidence of adaptive behaviour or social adaption) or group 6B (for those with an IQ over 75 and Autism Spectrum Disorder).

In 6A, Faisal Butt is going for a hat-trick of consecutive titles after completing the Northern and Southern Classic double. Before those triumphs Butt made the final of the Hull Open at this venue towards the end of last year where he lost to fellow maiden finalist Mike Busst, who is also on the eight-player entry list.

Defending champion Peter Geronimo will be aiming to retain the title he won here twelve months ago in Group 6B. In what was his first WDBS tournament, Geronimo secured the crown when he defeated Leroy Williams in the final. Williams will travel to Hull in high spirits having claimed his second gold medal during the Southern Classic at Jesters Snooker Hall in Swindon a few months ago. A victory this weekend would represent a trio of career WDBS wins for Williams, but not including Geronimo, there are four other players in this group looking to stop him.

 

Throughout the three-day event you can view images and keep up-to-date with all the stories via our social media channels. For live scores, results, upcoming matches and latest standings please visit the World Disability Snooker and Billiards profile page on snookerscores.net.

2018/19 World Disability Billiards and Snooker Season Review

Last month’s Derby Open at the Cueball Derby signalled the end of the 2018/19 World Disability Billiards and Snooker season; the biggest and busiest campaign yet.

Starting back in July, the circuit visited several venues in the UK and beyond with a record number of tournaments hosted and entries taking part. Here we look back on how the season unfolded and what the main talking points were…

Groups 1 & 2

New and familiar faces triumphed in the competitive wheelchair section, but the star performer throughout the year was Daniel Lee, who added a trio of titles to his portfolio.

Londoner Lee started off by claiming the curtain-raising 6-Red Welsh Open in Cwmbran; an event open to WDBS competitors from all classifications. At the time, by his own admission Lee’s best tournament victory in snooker, he ousted Aslam Abubaker in a thrilling all-wheelchair final that was a fine showcase for the group.

Further honours came at the inaugural staging of the Champion of Champions and when he defended the Northern Classic in the new year. Collectively, these efforts saw him named as the first WDBS Vic Hartley Player of the Year at the Winter Garden in Sheffield during this spring’s World Professional Snooker Championship.

Elsewhere in the division, Abubaker and Tony Southern both claimed maiden main event gold after being pipped in the past. Abubaker won the Open Disability Championship when he defeated Shahab Siddiqui in the final, while Southern reversed last year’s outcome after getting the better of host nation native Kurt Deklerck at the Belgian Open in Bruges.

Groups 3, 4 and 5

Due to increased numbers and re-structuring, ambulant players contested in both individual and multi-group competitions throughout the year. Despite the changes, several of the circuit’s big names continued to collect top honours.

One of the most intriguing sagas has been the ongoing rivalry between Daniel Blunn and William Thomson. At the Open Disability Championship, Thomson made it three out of three final wins against his adversary, but at the Champion of Champions a few weeks later Blunn ended that hoodoo.

Blunn bolstered his CV yet again in the new year when eliminating the challenge of new finalist Peter Yelland to win the Northern Classic at the Hazel Grove in Stockport and then defending the Belgian Open at the Trickshot after a victory over another former champion in Raja Subramanian from India. These wins mean Blunn now has a record eight WDBS main event titles.

Mickey Chambers and David Church also increased their title tally; Chambers defeated Church in the Northampton final and David Weller to retain the Northern Classic, while Church became the Group 4/5 Champion of Champions victor when he quashed late replacement David Moore’s hopes in the climax.

There was, however, a new addition to the roll of honour when John Teasdale won the Group 3 title in Stockport after prevailing over fellow first-time main event finalist Joe Hardstaff. In a keenly contested encounter, Teasdale chalked up three consecutive frames from 2-0 down to emerge successful.

Group 6

Five different players won main event gold throughout the season in the learning disabilities category.

Peter Geronimo announced himself on the scene by claiming the first Group 6 exclusive event at the Humber Classic on debut in August. The focus, though, has been on serial winner Daniel Harwood who scooped a quartet of triumphs at the Open Disability Championship, Champion of Champions and Hull Open, before the Northern Classic in the new year became his seventh career WDBS title overall.

From November’s Hull Open onwards the Group 6 division was split into two sub-categories – 6A would represent players with learning disabilities whilst 6B for those with autism spectrum disorder. Mike Busst was the first player to take advantage of this new opportunity when he defeated Faisal Butt to taste glory in East Yorkshire. Butt recovered from that setback, though, to avenge his defeat to Buust at the Northern Classic and then by seeing off David Mac in the final of the Southern Classic too.

Also, in Swindon, Leroy Williams bettered the three previous final appearances he had made earlier in the season when eventually defeating debutant Christopher Goldsworthy in an engrossing 6B final at Jesters Snooker Centre. It was Williams’ second WDBS title.

Group 7

Nick Neale was undoubtedly the star performer in the visual impairments classification as he collected four main event titles.

The Group 7 season started at the Barratts Club in Northampton where Paul Smith earned his fourth career WDBS title after overcoming maiden finalist, Ron Allen, in the final of the Open Disability Championship. Later in the campaign, though, Neale would surpass Smith’s tally to become the most decorated player in the division.

Neale’s winning streak began in Gloucester when he got the better of rival Smith in the Champion of Champions final. He backed that up with triumphs at the Hull Open (defeating David Baker in the final) and then the Southern Classic (defeating Allen in the final) to make it a high five of titles at this level. He finished his campaign on a positive, too, by defending the Derby Open (7B) against former winner Mike Gillespie in an entertaining final that went to a deciding frame. Gillespie was Neale’s fourth different final opponent in as many competitions.

Group 7 competitors were divided into two separate categories for the first time in Derby, depending on the severity of their impairment. The format yielded a new champion as Gary Gallacher defeated Bob Craft to become the inaugural 7A winner.

Group 8

Two new champions were discovered in the hearing impairments category, but the season revolved around Shabir Ahmed who made all five Group 8 finals; winning three of them.

Starting in Northampton, Ahmed denied debut finalist Nikolas De Whytell to win the Open Disability Championship. His momentum, however, was halted by Lewis Knowles at the following month’s Champion of Champions. Having suffered a trio of final disappointments at the hands of Ahmed in the past, an epic 5-4 victory over his rival in Gloucester was certainly a sweet relief for Knowles.

Ahmed bounced back from this loss when overcoming debutant Mick Chew at the Hull Open and then resuming his rivalry – and success – with Knowles at the Southern Classic in Swindon. Looking like business as usual in Derby, though, Ahmed was stunned by newcomer Nicholas Cash, who produced an upset to overhaul him in the final. Earlier in the event Cash had also eliminated Knowles and a former WDBS main event winner in Blake Munton.

His achievements on the circuit gained Ahmed cross-sport recognition as he was nominated and came third at the 2018 Deaf Sports Personality of the Year Awards. Contesting alongside Lee, Blunn and Neale, Ahmed will appear at the Crucible Theatre during this August’s ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship for a dedicated session of play that will highlight and promote disability snooker.

A New Campaign Awaits…

We don’t have to wait much longer until the new 2019/20 360Fizz World Disability Billiards and Snooker season gets underway with the Humber Classic taking place at the Tradewell Snooker Club in Hull from 28-30 June. For the first time, the popular venue will host a WDBS event that is open to players with physical disabilities (Groups 1-5), as well as welcoming back entrants with learning disabilities (Group 6).

Disability Snooker to be Showcased at Crucible Theatre

Four leading players from the 360Fizz World Disability Billiards and Snooker Tour have earned the opportunity to compete at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield this August for the first time.

To be staged as part of the 2019 ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship, the session will take place on the morning of 18 August from 10:00am and feature four highly decorated players who compete regularly on the WDBS circuit.

Among those in action will be Daniel Lee, who plays in the Group 2 wheelchair category and earlier this year was named as the Vic Hartley Player of the Season in recognition of his success during the 2018/19 campaign.

He will be joined by Daniel Blunn, who was born with cerebral palsy and competes as a Group 4 player. Blunn has been a part of the WDBS family since our first event in November 2015 and has to date claimed an incredible eight events, including three during the current campaign.

Representing sensory disabilities are Coventry’s Nick Neale, a six-time winner of competitions for players with visual impairments and deaf player Shabir Ahmed, who has established himself as the dominant player in his category with six titles and was last year recognised at the Deaf Sports Personality of the Year Awards by finishing in third place in the overall voting.

The event will be the first as part of a three-year agreement which will also see disability snooker return to Sheffield in 2020 and 2021.

Nigel Mawer, WDBS Chairman said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for our players to be able to play at the home of snooker and from speaking to them already I know just how excited they are to be able to live their dream and walk out on the same stage as their heroes.

“The event is going to be a real celebration of disability snooker and I would like to encourage all of our players to come along and support those competing and make it a day to remember!”

Tickets are already on sale at the price of just £1.47 when purchased with a full-price ticket to any other session at the ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship, so book now to avoid disappointment, by phone 0114 249 600 or online HERE.

The ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship will run across four days from 15-18 August 2019 and feature several all-time greats of the game including ‘King of the Crucible’ Stephen Hendry and 10-time ranking event winner Jimmy White.

There will also be a session on the morning of Saturday 17th August held to showcase the talent on the World Women’s Snooker Tour.

Disability Snooker Champions Decided in Derby

A trio of main event champions, each with their own intriguing stories, emerged from last weekend’s dramatic World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) Derby Open.

Supported by leading packaging company DS Smith, the event was held at the Cueball Derby, a regular tour stop featuring players with both visual (Group 7A/7B) and hearing impairments (Group 8). It was the final tournament of the 2018/19 WDBS campaign and the first to run a new system which saw Group 7 split into two competitions to reflect the classification structure run by British Blind Sport.

Group 7A – Glory for Gallacher

Gary Gallacher claimed his maiden WDBS main event title in the new Group 7A category.

Scotland’s Gallacher was already a two-time Challenge Cup winner in the past – his most recent being at the Southern Classic in Swindon during March – but this success represents his most significant accolade on the circuit so far.

The 57-year-old was supreme during the round robin phase, topping the group with a 100% record without dropping a frame. Qualifying for his first final at this level, Gallacher would face 2018 UK Open finalist Bob Craft, who finished second in the standings.

After the opening two frames of the final were shared, Gallacher fluked the final pink in frame three before sinking a terrific black to capitalise on his good fortune. He then added the fourth frame to seal his maiden crown.

During his earlier round robin win against Craft, Gallacher also made the highest break with an effort of 43.

Group 7B –  Neale defends

In the Group 7B classification, defending champion Nick Neale survived a comeback from Mike Gillespie in the final to retain the title.

Neale made light work of qualifying for the showpiece as he finished first in the round robin standings after winning all his fixtures 2-0. Following on from his heavy scoring at this same venue last year, the Birmingham cueist rattled in breaks of 82, 80, 80 and 75.

A repeat of the 2018 final in Derby materialised as 2017 champion Gillespie progressed in second; the deciding factor being a 2-0 group stage win over four-time WDBS victor Paul Smith, who missed out in third.

The final was looking like a stroll in the park for Neale as he fashioned a 2-0 advantage, but a resolute Gillespie responded by making a 72 break in frame three before forcing a decider. However, Neale was not to be denied his sixth WDBS title when he controlled and secured the fifth frame for a 3-2 victory. It meant that Neale’s imposing streak continues – this was his fourth successive WDBS competition win.

Group 8 – Nicholas cashes in

There was a major surprise in Group 8 as Nicholas Cash burst on to the WDBS scene during his first appearance to record one of the circuit’s most memorable successes.

Cash’s campaign nearly ended in the group stages, as he narrowly qualified in second place on frame difference after three players had all won two matches each. In the knockouts he defeated Daniel Booth (2-0), Champion of Champions winner Lewis Knowles (2-1) and then 2017 Hull Open champion Blake Munton (2-1). Against both Knowles and Munton, Cash recovered after losing the opening frame.

The biggest upset was still to come, though, when Cash overhauled six-time WDBS winner and defending champion Shabir Ahmed, who had imperiously reached yet another final without losing a single frame throughout.

In a see-saw encounter that went to a deciding frame, Ahmed, who trailed by 20 points, looked like repeating his heroics from this venue in last year’s final by snatching it on the colours when he deposited yellow to pink. However, after Ahmed had failed to attain ideal position on the black, Cash later seized an opportunity by impressively potting it for an emotional victory.

Challenge Cup champions

For those who did not qualify for the knockout stages, two separate Challenge Cup competitions were staged.

In the Group 7 event Ben Chappell defeated Ron Allen, 2-1, to take gold for the first time at a WDBS event following two previous silver-medal placings. Mark Forrest also claimed his first win in the Group 8 tournament following a 2-0 success over Daniel Harvest.

Simon Berrisford, WDBS Vice Chairman said: “The event has been a fantastic success – certainly one of the most remarkable and entertaining ones we’ve ever had. Splitting the Group 7 competition using British Blind Sport guidelines added a new, sharp dimension to proceedings, whilst the Group 8 division continues to thrive; testament to the record-breaking 27 players who took part.

“WDBS would like to thank Danny Cooper and all his team at Cueball for their brilliant facilities and, of course, Nigel Coton and Michael Buckley of DS Smith Featherstone who passionately supported the event.”

WDBS will return next month with the start of the new 2019/20 season.

Derby Open 2019: Tournament Preview

The final stop on this season’s World Disability Billiards and Snooker circuit takes place this weekend, as the Cueball Derby once again plays as host to the 2019 WDBS Derby Open.

Supported by leading packaging company DS Smith, the event is staged for players with visual (Group 7) and hearing (Group 8) impairments who will both compete within their own individual classification groups. Using British Blind Sport guidelines, for the first time Group 7 will be split into two sub-categories dependent on the competitor’s severity of impairment.

Open Day

Before the competitive action gets underway at the weekend, Friday will be our regular curtain-raising Open Day where individuals and groups of all disabilities are encouraged to come along and try snooker regardless of previous experience. A mix of both technical coaching and fun activities will be provided by our team of WPBSA World Snooker coaches at the Go Green Energy Coaching Zone.

Group 7A

Formation of the 7A category means we are guaranteed a new main event champion in Derby.

Potential candidates for the title include Bob Craft and Gary Gallacher. Craft came close to a maiden WDBS triumph last year when he reached the final of the UK Open, whilst Scotland’s Gallacher is a two-time Challenge Cup winner, most recently at March’s Southern Classic held in Swindon.

Another tour stalwart, Scott Swanson, will also make the trip down from across the border, seeking to go deep in the event. Recent tour addition Hassan Ali will be back in action, whilst newcomers Danny Dyche and Donna Healy-Sharpe make their debuts.

Group 7B

Group 7B contains a trio of former winners and a pair of two-time finalists, but the player to beat is the in-form Nick Neale.

Last year at this venue, Birmingham’s Neale defeated Mike Gillespie, 3-1, in the final. Neale was in irresistible form throughout that weekend, constructing several half century breaks including a top effort of 92. Since then Neale has remained the kingpin in the category scooping further titles at the Champion of Champions, Hull Open and the Southern Classic.

There are, however, players who have the tools to topple him, this includes Gillespie who won at the Cueball during its first hosting of a WDBS tournament in 2017. The player who Gillespie defeated in the final that day – Paul Smith – is a four-time gold medalist on the circuit whose latest glory was at the Open Disability Championship last autumn.

David Baker and Ronnie Allen are aiming to go one better and become a main title winner having both been close in the past with two runners-up finishes each. David Martin and Ben Chappell will also be hopeful of reaching new territory.

Group 8

Shabir Ahmed has pretty much dominated the Group 8 scene for the majority of the past two years and will go to Derby as the tournament favourite once again.

Ahmed has fond memories of the Cueball venue; it was here in 2017 where he claimed his first WDBS title, while 12 months ago he retained the title in dramatic circumstances when he came back to oust rival Lewis Knowles in an epic final that went to the final black in the deciding frame.

In total Ahmed has now won six WDBS titles, including five of the last six Group 8 events staged since the start of 2018. The only blot on that record was at November’s Champion of Champions when Knowles overcame him in a final frame to secure his elusive maiden win. Knowles has since lost to Ahmed in the Southern Classic final some eight weeks ago, but that success in Gloucester proves that he can defeat the group’s number one player.

This category continues to thrive with a record field of 27 set to participate in the coming days. Within the entry are 2016 Woking Open champion David Ingham and 2017 Hull Open champion Blake Munton. WDBS main event finalists Richard Gott and Nikolas De Whytell are also scheduled to be present.

View full tournament information, including draws and results during the event online.

2019/2020 Provisional Calendar Announced

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) is today pleased to announce its provisional calendar of events for the 2019/20 season.

As was the case during the current campaign, next season’s newly rebranded 360Fizz WDBS Tour will comprise at least eight weekend events.

The calendar includes a number of returning events, including the Parris Cues Champion of Champions which returns for a second-successive season, as well as the long-established all-classification groups Welsh Open and Open Disability Snooker Championship events.

For the first time players from Groups 1-5 will have the opportunity to compete at a regular Group 6-8 venue, the Tradewell Snooker Centre in Hull, while the Belgian Open will be expanded to include players from all-eight classification groups for the first time in 2020.

The tour will also return to Hazel Grove Snooker Club following a successful first event earlier this year, taking a new January slot in the calendar.

Further information in respect of each event will be released over the coming months, including event entry packs and classification information.

Provisional 2019/20 360Fizz WDBS Tour Calendar

28-30 June 2019
Humber Classic (G1-6) – Hull

2-4 August 2019
Welsh Open (G1-8) – Cwmbran

20-22 September 2019
Open Disability Snooker Championship (G1-8) – Northampton

19-20 October 2019
Parris Cues Champion of Champions (G1-8) – Venue TBC

15-17 November 2019
Hull Open (G7-8) – Hull

10-12 January 2020
Stockport Open (G1-6) – Hazel Grove, Stockport

6-8 March 2020
Belgian Open (G1-8) – Bruges, Belgium

May 2020
TBC (G7-8) – Venue TBC

Please note that all dates are provisional and subject to change 

Lee Crowned 2018/19 WDBS Player of the Season

Daniel Lee has been named as the inaugural winner of the Vic Hartley WDBS Player of the Season award.

Named after the late Vic Hartley, a long-time referee and friend of WDBS, the honour was bestowed upon wheelchair player Lee during this year’s Disability Snooker Day celebrations at the Sheffield Winter Garden earlier this week.

As well as the prestige of becoming the first WDBS Played of the Season, Lee was also presented with a unique cue case by Rob Reed of RR Cue Cases. The stunning case was made in WDBS colours and carries design features including the WDBS logo, the player of the season wording and most importantly, Lee’s name across its handle.

The award follows a successful season for Group 2 player Lee, who has won two titles in his group (Northern Classic and Champion of Champions), as well as the mixed classification Welsh Open event last July at which he emerged victorious from a field of 55 players with all disabilities.

Off the table Lee has also been a fantastic ambassador for disability snooker throughout the season and has been heavily involved with work at Stoke Mandevile, the home of the Paralympic Games, to provide more opportunities for disabled people to play snooker. He recently qualified as a Level 1 WPBSA World Snooker coach and provided support at the 2019 Inter-Spinal Unit Games.

We would like to thank everyone who attended the day, including Dawn and Ann who are the daughters of Vic Hartley, as well as Rob Reed for the fantastic prize donated.

Nominations by group:

Groups 1/2: Daniel Lee
Group 3: Daniel Blunn (nb: competed in this group for the majority of the season)
Groups 4/5: Mickey Chambers
Group 6A: Michael Farrell
Group 6B: Dan Harwood
Group 7: Nick Neale
Group 8: Shabir Ahmed

DS Smith to Support Derby Open

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) is today pleased to announce that the upcoming Derby Open will be supported by DS Smith.

Entries are already open for the final event of the 2018/19 season which will take place for a third time at the Cueball Derby, one of our most well-established venues.

The weekend will begin on Friday 17 May with an open day for people with all disabilities to come and try snooker, with expert coaches on hand to provide advice and support at the Go Green Energy Coaching Zone.

Over the following two days (18-19 May) both deaf and visually impaired players will then compete in tournaments, with a Challenge Cup event on the second day for players who do not progress from the group stage to ensure that everyone has plenty of snooker to enjoy throughout the weekend.

DS Smith is a European leading packaging company of customer-specific packaging with emphasis on state-of-the art packaging design and local service close to customer facilities. The company has a product portfolio that includes transit packaging, consumer packaging, displays and promotional packaging, customised protective packaging and industrial packaging.

The support provided by DS Smith comes as a result of exhibition evenings featuring Ronnie O’Sullivan and Jimmy White, held over the last year in Lincoln and organised by former WDBS champion Nigel Coton and his wife Ali. Both events were made possible with the support of DS Smith, with surplus funds from ticket sales donated to WDBS.

Michael Buckley, Managing Director of the DS Smith Featherstone business, who lives near Derby, will be in attendance over the weekend to understand how the WDBS has grown and to present prizes on the Sunday.

Learn more about DS Smith online: www.dssmith.com/uk/packaging