Category: General News

Selby Mencap Welcomed at Hull Open

World Disability Billiards and Snooker welcomed members from the Selby Gateway Leisure Mencap Society to its latest open day at this month’s Hull Open.

Led by Martin Waterhouse, who is a trustee and volunteer support worker of Selby District Mencap, the attendees were given the opportunity to practice snooker and receive coaching from WPBSA World Snooker coaches including Bob Hill, Tim Squires and Mark Parsons.

Picture of Martin Waterhouse playing snooker

Martin Waterhouse

“We did not know what to expect but it’s great to see disabled people being supported in the way that they have been in a setting like this,” said Martin. “I wish that there were more events similar so that people can get more involved in it.”

In particular, Martin was impressed by the coaching provided by Mark Parsons, who recently completed the WPBSA World Snooker Level 1 Community Coaching course and competes in WDBS events as a Group 2 wheelchair player.

“The actual coaching is fantastic,” said Martin. “The trainers and coaches are there to provide support and they are really on the ball.

“The one guy that stood out for me was Mark Parsons from Bristol. As a wheelchair user, the coaching that he provided was as good as any of the other coaches and I think that is a big positive message there.”

Photo of Selby players with Bob Hill

Team photo with WDBS coach Bob Hill

Waterhouse echoed the thoughts of WDBS director Bob Hill, who earlier this year told WDBS.info that he felt that snooker is an ideal sport for people with learning disabilities.

“Snooker as a sport is great for these guys because they don’t have to think a lot other than just potting balls,” added Martin. “It doesn’t really matter if they are any good at it – just potting one ball is a success. It’s a knock on effect of the better you get, the better it is. But I know from our experiences in Selby that just potting one ball in ten shots is fantastic for them so bring on the next event!”

Each of the players who attended from the group was presented with a WDBS polo shirt and visited York earlier this week for the start of the 2016 Betway UK Championship from the Barbican Centre.

Learn more about Mencap and support their work via social media using the hashtag #HereIAm

Hull Stages World Disability Snooker Event

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) held its second event for players with sensory disabilities last weekend at the Tradewell Snooker Centre in Kingston upon Hull.

The inaugural Hull Open welcomed players from classification Groups 7-8, including players who have either hearing or visual disabilities and saw entries more than double from the previous event for the same categories in Woking earlier this year.

The event was supported by prize fund sponsors Hudgell Solicitors, Think Telecom and the Hull Deaf Centre, who all contributed to a prize fund of £600 across both competitions.

Paul Smith shakes hand of Allan Morley of Think Telecom

Paul Smith and Allen Morley of sponsor Think Telecom

As in Woking, the Group 7 competition for players with visual impairments was won by Paul Smith from Stevenage, who defeated WDBS debutant Nick Neale 4-1 in the event final.

Having lost 3-0 to Neale in the group stages on Saturday, Smith, who lost one eye in a shooting accident when he was 10 and previously competed on the main tour during the 1990s, turned the tables in the final to become the third player so far to win multiple WDBS titles.

There was some consolation for Neale however as in addition to making it through to the final, he also took home the Group 7 high break prize for his opening day run of 40.

Andy Burton and WDBS Chairman Nigel Mawer

Andy Burton and WDBS Chairman Nigel Mawer

The Group 8 final was contested by two WDBS debutants, Warrington’s Andy Burton securing his first gold medal with a 3-0 victory against Hull’s Richard Gott.

A particularly competitive tournament, having received entries from players including a number of local players, as well as four members of the Warrington Deaf Snooker League who travelled together, it was Burton who dropped just two frames during the weekend to take the title. The high break prize was won by Mike Bryan who hit 39 during the group stage.

As at previous events, there was also a Challenge Cup event held, which was won by Group 7 semi-finalist David Baker, who defeated Hull’s Kevin Bentley over a single frame to add to his silver medal from Woking.

The event was preceded by a Friday open day, which as well as the players involved in the weekend tournament, welcomed players from Selby Gateway Leisure Mencap and NHS Humber CTLD.

The weekend was supported by WPBSA World Snooker coaches Bob Hill and Tim Squires, as well as former professional Ian Glover and our team of referees and coaches including those who play at Group 1-5 events.

WDBS director Clive Brown said: “It has been another fantastic weekend and it seems to be have been thoroughly enjoyed by everyone that has taken part as a competitor, as an official or as a helper. It is great to see that the visually impaired and the deaf are increasing in numbers at these events and let’s hope that we can continue to grow them further.”

The next WDBS tournament will be the 2017 Manchester Classic on 10-12 March 2017 at Q’s Sports and Entertainment Bar, Manchester. As in 2016, the event will be open to players with physical disabilities (Groups 1-5) and further information including the entry pack will be made available soon.

View event photos on the WDBS Facebook page at each of the following links:

Final results are available via the following links to MySnookerStats:

Hull to Host WDBS Event

This weekend World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) heads to East Yorkshire for its final event of 2016, the WDBS Hull Open at the Tradewell Snooker Centre on 11-13 November.

The WDBS has seen sustained growth following its first event held just under a year ago in Gloucester and its visit to the UK City of Culture for 2017 marks the first world disability snooker event to be staged in Yorkshire.

The weekend will be supported by Hull-based national legal services provider Hudgell Solicitors and telecommunications company Think Telecom, as well as the Hull Deaf Centre. With their support, the event will carry a record prize fund of £600, to be distributed across two competitions including players who fall under Groups 7-8 of the WDBS classification system.

The event will be the second open to players with sensory disabilities, specifically visual and hearing disabilities, and will see entries more than double since May’s Woking Open.

Among those to have entered are players from the Hull Deaf Centre, including Lee Douglas, Kevin Suddaby and Lewis Richardson who all competed in Woking. Both former professional Paul Smith and David Baker also return to the field, having contested the Group 7 final back in May.

As at previous WDBS events, the competition will be preceded by an open day on 11 November, at which people with any disabilities are encouraged to come and try snooker. This will run from 10:30am until 7:00pm and be supported by WPBSA World Snooker coaches including former professional Ian Glover.

Full coverage and updates throughout the weekend will be available at wdbs.info, in addition to our social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook. The latest results and group standings will be updated regularly via the MySnookerStats service.

WDBS Welcomes Leonard Cheshire

The WDBS was delighted to welcome residents from Leonard Cheshire Disability to the recent Open Disability Snooker Championship at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester.

Residents Visited Sheffield in April

Residents Visited Sheffield in April

A major charity supporting disabled people in the UK and around the world, Leonard Cheshire Disability helps provide the opportunity and support to live independently. Earlier this year, they were selected as the official charity partner for World Disability Snooker Day, which was held at the World Championship event in Sheffield.

Sue Kent, who acts as a physiotherapy assistant at Leonard Cheshire Disability was among those who made the trip to South Yorkshire earlier in the year and six months on in Gloucester, explained that the Sheffield visit had proven to be a real spark for interest in snooker among their residents:

“The trip to Sheffield was a real catalyst for snooker with our residents,” said Kent. “People think ‘oh snooker, I could do that’ and the interest has developed from there.

“We will soon have a table installed and although we are a very busy and very active home, people have kept asking us when the table is coming and are really looking forward to it. One of our residents Joe is really keen to join the club at the South West Snooker Academy and become a regular member, while 18 of the 36 residents have expressed an interest in wanting to play.”

One player who travelled to Sheffield in April was Nicholas Haworth, who also was in attendance at the South West Snooker Academy earlier this month. As well as being able to watch other players in action, he was also able to receive coaching from Mark Parsons, who is a regular player himself and one of seven WDBS players to have completed the WPBSA World Snooker Level 1 course in 2016.

“Everything has been absolutely fantastic,” said Haworth. “This has been so good for us in Gloucester and having one to one coaching as I have had was amazing. Now that we will have our own table I feel that it will really help us along.”

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Tim Squires coaches Joe Davis in Gloucester

Kent said that for players like Haworth and others supported by Leonard Cheshire, snooker is an inclusive sport and that support has been easy to access with the support of the WDBS and WPBSA this year:

“The support received from the WDBS has been very good,” continued Kent. “It is a brilliant sport. It is all-encompassing and anyone can play snooker with the correct aids and coaching.

“Most of our residents have a physical disability and snooker is brilliant as it allows them to sit up and use their arms. Anything they see on television as well, they recognise it and that’s something that they want to be a part of.”

The next WDBS event will be the upcoming WDBS Hull Open, which will run from 11-13 November 2016 at the Tradewell Snooker Centre, Hull. For more information on how to take part, please click here.

For more information about Leonard Cheshire disability visit their website: www.leonardcheshire.org

 

 

WDBS Classification Guide: Group Eight

In the final part of our series of articles examining the WDBS classification system, today we look at the second of the sensory groups, Group 8, which includes players who have a hearing impairment.

Check out our group explanations so far:

WDBS Disability Classification

The WDBS classification system comprises 36 individual profiles, which have then been allocated to eight groups, used to categorise events.

The system has been taken from the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) profile toolkit and revised to suit snooker and billiards.

Group 8 (profile 38)

Profile 38: Players who are deaf or have a hearing impairment

As with Group 7, there is just one profile included within Group 8, which includes players who are deaf, or otherwise have a hearing impairment.

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Player view

Perhaps the most notable deaf snooker to have played the game is Northern Ireland’s Joe Swail, who is partially deaf in both ears and more recently has developed related conditions such as vertigo and tinnitus. The two-time World Championship semi-finalist spoke to us recently about  his own experiences and his disability has affected his career to date.

The first WDBS tournament open to Group 8 players was the Woking Open back in May, which was won by David Ingham with a 3-2 victory against Hull’s Lee Douglas in the final.

“I started playing snooker at Mary Hare Grammar School in Newbury in the 1970s,” said Ingham. “At that time I was a pretty average player, never going very far in the school’s annual tournament. I then continued to play at my first employer, which had two snooker tables until the site was sadly demolished in 1995.

“From that time I did not play again until I visited Woking Snooker Centre a couple of years ago. My interest in the game was rekindled and I usually play there every Friday between September and April as I am a keen golfer in the summer months.

“Playing snooker there brought my friends together and we spend quality time having a good game, plenty of laughs followed by a few beers in the bar!”hullbannerpartners2

As well as emerging as the winner, Ingham said that he found the Woking event to be a positive experience and is looking forward to playing in future WDBS events.

“I thought the Woking event was a great success,” added Ingham. “My game improved during the event, as the games against the players from Hull were very keenly contested. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.”

Hull Open

Our next event for Group 8 players will be the WDBS Hull Open, which runs from 11-13 November 2016 at the Tradewell Snooker Centre in Hull.

There is still time for players with either visual, or hearing impairments to enter the event, with more information available: https://www.wdbs.info/event/wdbs-hull-open-2016/

WDBS Classification Guide: Group Seven

Today we reach the penultimate part of our guide through the World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) classification system, used to determine which players are eligible to play in WDBS events.

We now turn to the first of our two sensory groups, Group 7, which includes players who have a visual disability.

Check out our group explanations so far:

WDBS Disability Classification

The WDBS classification system comprises 36 individual profiles, which have then been allocated to eight groups, used to categorise events.

The system has been taken from the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) profile toolkit and revised to suit snooker and billiards.

Group 7 (profile 37)

Profile 37: Players with partial sight

As the description above would suggest, Group 7 includes players who are partially sighted as defined under profile 37 of the classification system.

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At our previous events this has included players who have lost the use of one eye entirely, or others who have conditions such as diplopia, which causes constant double vision.

The profile does not however include colour blindness, a condition shared by the likes of former world champions Mark Williams and Peter Ebdon.

Player view

The first event staged by the WDBS for Group 7 players was the Woking Open back in May this year, which was won by former professional Paul Smith, who lost one eye in a shooting accident when he was 10.

In the final he defeated Blackburn’s David Baker, who spoke to us recently on World Sight Day about how important snooker has been for him following the loss of his right eye when he was 19 and more recently since he was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

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“I can honestly say that snooker has given me strength to cope in any situation, determination and taught me to never give up,” said Baker. “It helps with concentration, patience and to give you a form of exercise without really knowing it.

“Above all I have been able to meet some fantastic, like-minded people, so overall I can say that snooker has definitely helped me through life and given me some very close friends.”

Hull Open

Our next event for Group 7 players will be the WDBS Hull Open, which gets underway in a fortnight at the Tradewell Snooker Centre in Hull.

There is still time for players with either visual, or hearing impairments to enter the event, with more information available: https://www.wdbs.info/event/wdbs-hull-open-2016/

WDBS Classification Guide: Group Six

Today we resume our journey through the World Disability Billiards and Snooker classification system, used to determine which players are eligible to play in each of our events.

This week we look at the Group 6 profile, which includes players who have a learning disability.

Check out our group explanations so far:

WDBS Disability Classification

The WDBS classification system comprises 36 individual profiles, which have then been allocated to eight groups, used to categorise events.

The system has been taken from the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) profile toolkit and revised to suit snooker and billiards.

Group 6 (profile 39)

Profile 39: Intellectual impairment

Group 6 includes players with an intellectual impairment as defined under profile 39 of the classification system.

Under this profile, a learning disability is defined as a Global IQ 75 or someone who may need assistance with some activities of daily living (ADL).

p39At a National level, disability does not usually include specific learning difficulties such as Dyslexia and some forms of Autism. During the early stages of development WDBS has provided competition that is inclusive of Autism and severe Dyslexia alongside those fitting the criteria above. However, it may be necessary to reflect the distinction between learning disabilties and difficulties in future events in order to align group 6 with the usual definition under profile 39 of the classification system. Participants also need to be aware that should they enter external competitions either endorsed or nominated by WDBS they will have to match criteria set by those governing that event.

Player view

To date the WDBS has held two Group 6 events, firstly at the Woking Open in May 2016 where David Barrett defeated Richard Yendle to claim the inaugural title. It would be second time lucky for Yendle however, as he took the gold medal at the Open Disability Snooker Championship in Gloucester with a win against David Mac earlier this month.

During the event, he told us how he first became involved with snooker and how he uses the coaching that he has received from WDBS director Bob Hill not only to improve his own game, but also that of one of his friends:

“I got into snooker by playing with my dad on a Thursday,” said Yendle. “I began playing at the Keynsham Snooker Centre, before moving to Snooker City in Bristol. I find it really enjoyable to play with my dad.

“Bob [Hill] is a good coach and he teaches us all of the skills and techniques that we need to play snooker. Whenever Bob teaches us on a Friday, I meet with my friend afterwards at Snooker City and I try to help him to become better at snooker by practising what I have learned through Bob’s coaching.”14711105_1293975630626834_2948426342146300713_o

Earlier this year we spoke to Hill as part of Learning Disability Week 2016 and he told us that snooker is an ideal sport for players with learning disabilities.

“It involves an intuitive set of ideas, such as potting balls and taking it in turns,” said Hill. “It’s interactive, giving players the chance to socialise while taking part; and it requires focus while not being over-complicated.

“Coaching players with learning disabilities is the best part of the coaching I do because the players involved gain the most rewards from it. It’s not only about improving skill, but about players gaining confidence and social skills. One player in my group barely spoke during his first three sessions, but he has gradually made friends. He recently competed in the Woking Open tournament and thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Later this week we will take a look at the final two WDBS classification groups, including players with visual and hearing disabilities.

Record Event for WDBS

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) staged its biggest event to date last weekend at the South West Snooker Centre, Gloucester.

The second Open Disability Snooker Championship following last year’s inaugural event saw entries almost double in number across five disability classification groups (groups 1-5) from a year ago. As in 2015, three main competitions were contested, together with a Challenge Cup event for players not qualifying for the knockout stages.

First the first time at a WDBS event, prize money was offered to the finalists of each category, as well as the overall high break with the support of Renishaw plc and the Paul Hunter Foundation.

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Graham Bonnell successfully defended his title

The Group 1/2 event for wheelchair players saw Oxted’s Graham Bonnell complete a successful defence of the title that he won almost a year ago with a 2-0 victory against Glyn Lloyd in the final.

Bonnell, who earlier this year visited the Alexandra Palace and received a backstage tour at the Masters following his win last year, won all three of his group matches for the loss of just two frames, before defeating Mark Parsons and Lloyd for victory.

Group 3 saw a new winner crowned as Nigel ‘Bandit’ Coton from Goulceby, Lincolnshire came through to claim his first WDBS title.

The 54-year-old, who plays with one arm following nerve damage as a result of a motorbike accident at the age of 17, first defeated 2015 winner Daniel Blunn 2-1 in a dramatic semi-final, before repeating the feat against last year’s runner-up Andrew Harper in the decisive match.

For defeated semi-finalist Blunn however, there was some consolation as he claimed the overall high break prize of £100 provided by the Paul Hunter Foundation, with his opening day run of 49.

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Nigel Coton won his first WDBS competition

The Group 4/5 competition saw a second player defend their Gloucester title from last year as India’s Raja Subramanian saw off newcomer David Moore to take victory.

With six breaks over 30 during the weekend, he survived a close match against Cwmbran’s Adam Leighton in the quarter-finals, before defeating countryman Vishal Malhotra in the semi-finals and Moore for the title.

Subramanian will next be in action at the 2016 World Billiards Championship, which runs until 26th October in Leeds.

Finally, the Challenge Cup was won by Daniel Lee, who edged out Birmingham’s Russell Broomhall in a one-frame final.

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Raja Subramanian a winner again in Gloucester

For the first time the WDBS also held a Learning Disability Snooker Festival with the support of Special Olympics Gloucestershire. The event included a formal six-red tournament, which saw Rich Yendle defeat David Mac to claim the title. Residents from Leonard Cheshire, who had previously visited the World Championship in Sheffield earlier this year, also visited during the festival and enjoyed opportunities to both watch and play snooker.

As at previous events, the tournament was supported throughout by WPBSA World Snooker coaches Tim Squires, Bob Hill and Danielle Findlay.

WDBS Chairman Nigel Mawer said: “As the Chairman of the WDBS I am really pleased by how we are progressing. We have moved from fewer than 20 entries last year here in Gloucester, to 34 this year and had some long, but rewarding days.

“What I really like about this sport is that you have got players from one category acting as helpers for players in other categories. It is absolutely amazing the camaraderie that is coming out.

“I am very pleased as to where we are, but there is still a long way to go and a lot of work to do.”

Rich Yendle took the G6 title

Rich Yendle took the G6 title

WDBS director Jonathan Adams added: “I think that we have shown fantastic development over the last 12 months and I think that our players who have been with us since the start have been pleasantly surprised as to how we have grown, both on and off the table.

“The pathways that we are putting in place behind the scenes to develop the sport will only enhance players opportunities in the future. We have new talent coming in, both from abroad and within the UK, which is strengthening the classes and can only raise our profile as we grow as a governing body.

“When we have got players helping each other along the way, it gives the feeling of a family and ultimately snooker is accessible for so many people and that is the beautiful thing that I think we display better than anybody else.”

The next WDBS tournament will be the Hull Open which is set to run on 11-13 November 2016 at the Tradewell Snooker Centre, Hull. The event will be the second WDBS event open to players with visual or hearing disabilities (Groups 7-8) and will be supported by prize fund sponsors Hudgell Solicitors and Think Telecom.

As at all WDBS events, players with all disabilities are encouraged to attend the Friday open day and receive free practice and coaching.

You can view photos from the event on our Facebook page at each of the following links:

Gloucester Draws Available

The draws have been made for the 2016 WDBS Open Disability Snooker Championship – with the Group 1-5 tournaments set to get underway on Saturday 15 October at 10am.

Group 1/2 draw: https://www.mysnookerstats.com/tournament/trn482/

Group 3 draw: https://www.mysnookerstats.com/tournament/trn483/

Group 4/5 draw: https://www.mysnookerstats.com/tournament/trn484/

Scores will be updated throughout the competition and so players are encouraged to share the links with friends and family who can follow their progress. If you do not have a photograph and wish to have one, please see Matt Huart before the start of play tomorrow.

World Sight Day 2016

The WDBS is today pleased to support World Sight Day 2016, a key date highlighting the impact of eye health in people’s lives.

Focusing on the theme of ‘Stronger Together’ the day is a reminder of the respective roles of different groups, from key decision makers and government officials, to patients and the wider health community, are all crucial and that the more groups that can be brought together, the stronger the eye health community can become.

Earlier this year the WDBS held its first competitive tournament open to group 7 players, ie those with visual disabilities, the Woking Open won by former professional Paul Smith.

In the final he edged out Blackburn’s David Baker, who is partially sighted following the loss of his right eye when he was 19. As he told us recently however, he has not let his disability get in the way of his long-held passion for snooker:

“I first began to play snooker when I was 16,” said Baker. “Not one to give up, following my accident I continued to learn and adjust myself to continue playing snooker. Looking back, I think it’s fair to say that my standard never dropped, it may well have improved due to the fact I now have a single tunnel vision.”wsd-logo-2016_blue_2

The challenge for Baker has not ended with the loss of his eye however as more recently he has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a medical condition characterised by chronic widespread pain and a heightened pain response to pressure.

“My fibromyalgia poses all sorts of problems and limits me considerably to how much I can play the game. In 2007 I was told that due to this I would never be able to play snooker again and I was totally devastated at the time as I could barely walk. But stubborn is my middle name and slowly I regained some of my strength back, as well as learning how best to cope with this challenge.”

Nearly ten years on from his diagnosis, Baker is back on the baize and considers snooker as something that is more than a hobby to him. As well as the physical benefits, he also considers the sport to have important mental and social benefits that anybody involved with the game can benefit from:

“I can honestly say that snooker has given me strength to cope in any situation, determination and taught me to never give up,” said the 50-year-old. “It helps with concentration, patience and to give you a form of exercise without really knowing it.

“Above all I have been able to meet some fantastic, like-minded people, so overall I can say that snooker has definitely helped me through life and given me some very close friends.”

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Baker began his snooker journey playing for the Burnley Road Bowling Club in Accrington over 30 years ago and in 2014 was thrilled to be able to play at a Snooker Legends event alongside 1985 world champion Dennis Taylor and the ever-popular Jimmy White (watch here).

More recently, he heard of the WDBS prior to this year’s Manchester Classic and attended the open day at that event, prior to competing in Woking.

“Someone had mentioned the WDBS on one of the facebook snooker forums that I had joined that day and I got in touch with Chris Hornby (WPBSA Sport Development Manager), who invited me to the event at Manchester to see how it worked and to join in with some of the other disabled people from different categories on the Friday session.

“I enjoyed the experience and this subsequently led to me playing in Woking, which was a fantastic event and gave people the chance to get involved on more equal terms than playing able bodied players.

“It was great to be able to make new friends and to get the feeling that I was part of something special.”

David will be back in action at the WDBS Hull Open, which runs from 11-13 November 2016 at the Tradewell Snooker Centre, Hull. The event is supported by prize fund sponsors Hudgell Solicitors and Think Telecom and you can find out more information, including how to enter here.