Category: General News

Photo of Phillip Murphy playing snooker

Phillip Murphy Q&A

The recent Paul Hunter Disability Classic at the Cueball Derby saw its strongest field yet for players with visual and hearing disabilities, including Pontypridd’s Phillip Murphy who was competing at a WDBS event for the first time.

With our next tournament set to be held in Cwmbran, Wales later this month, we caught up with Phillip to reflect upon his WDBS debut and what he would say to anybody thinking about entering future events…

Phillip, we recently met you for the first time at the Paul Hunter Disability Classic in Derby, how did you find your first WDBS event experience?

I found my first WDBS experience a little nerve-racking, but at the same time I was excited as this was my first time and I was unsure what to expect on the way up from Wales!

How impressed were you by the standard of the players that you saw during the weekend?

I was absolutely impressed by the standards of the classification groups and I saw some fantastic snooker matches while I was in Derby.

It was great to learn more about some of the disabilities that some of the players have and to see that they could play equally as well as able-bodied players, both those with visual and hearing disabilities. It is unbelievable.

How did you become a snooker fan, how long have you been playing?

My first love is football but snooker is not far behind!

I used to play a lot of pool and once at the club while I was waiting for my match to start I had a game of snooker and was instantly hooked. I joined my local club and started to play in a league with my team.

That was four years ago now and I have been playing snooker ever since.

Tell us about your disability, how does this affect your snooker?

The condition I have is called retinitis pigmentosa (usher syndrome) night blindness, which is a slow degenerative condition which affects my peripheral vision and the ability to see in dark areas.

The biggest issue I have with it affecting my game is that when I am concentrating on the cue ball I get black ‘floaters’ on the cue ball. This means that I need to get back up from the shot and wait for a minute, before I can go back down and then I am usually ok.

Also if the lightning on a table isn’t good I can’t play on that table at all, which has happened a few times with my local league team where light has been poor and I have been unable to play.

Plus I tend to look around prior to every shot being taken to make sure no one is behind me so I don’t hit anyone or anything.

Next up we head to Cwmbran for what will be your home tournament, the WDBS Welsh Open. What have you learned from your first event and how much are you looking forward to it?

Yes I am looking forward to the Welsh Open at Cwmbran Redz which is practically on my doorstep!

I have learned from my first event not to be so nervous. I did find that I put a lot of pressure on myself throughout the whole tournament in Derby and that is a massive lesson I’ve learned. It won’t be happening this time around.

It’s ok to be nervous though, I will probably still be. Even the professionals get nervous before an event.

I am also looking forward to meeting and playing other players as this event is open to all classification groups. It will be fascinating to see and play against these players.

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

My message to others who are thinking of entering a WDBS event is to enter and come along and enjoy the free coaching which helped me massively in my game at my first event. I have taken that advice on board since and this has helped me to play better at my local club.

It’s ok to be nervous as I explained previously even I was nervous. You’ll be looked after by everyone involved in the WDBS events so come and enjoy a game of snooker and make friends.

It’s that simple: Enter, play snooker and make friends!

The entry deadline for the WDBS Welsh Open is 23 June 2017, download the entry form now and join Phillip and the rest of the field in Cwmbran.

Photo of Andrew Highfield coaching

Top Coach Backs WDBS

Leading professional snooker coach Andrew Highfield will be among those supporting the WDBS Open Disability Snooker Championship 2017 in Wolverhampton this September.

Highfield, a renowned WPBSA World Snooker coach who has coached players at all levels for nearly 20 years, has pledged £250 to the overall prize fund at the event which will be held at his home club, the Golden Cue in Bilston.

The event will be open to players from Groups 1-5, including both ambulant and wheelchair players with physical disabilities and marks the third staging of the tournament since in inaugural WDBS competition in Gloucester in November 2015.

Andrew Highfield said: “I am really pleased to be supporting the WDBS and looking forward to helping with the coaching on the Friday of the tournament at the Golden Cue in September. The WDBS are doing a great job and everyone at our club is really looking forward to welcoming everyone for a great event”

Learn more about Andrew by checking out his profile page at WPBSA.com

Further information, including the full entry pack will be released in due course. Prize money will once again be available at the event, subject to sponsorship.

Nick Neale plays snooker shot

New Champions Crowned at Paul Hunter Disability Classic

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) held its largest snooker event to date for people with hearing and visual impairments last weekend at the Cueball in Derby.

Following previous competitions in Woking and Hull, the Paul Hunter Disability Classic saw a significant increase in entries from Group 7-8 classifications, with new players from across the country joining previous champions and loyal supporters.

Group 7 winner Mike Gillespie

There was a debut winner in the Group 7 competition as Mike Gillespie defeated Paul Smith 3-1 in the final. Gillespie, who discovered the WDBS following the previous event in Hull, progressed through his group in second place, before stunning Gary Gallacher 3-0 in the semi-finals to set up a clash with two-time WDBS champion Smith.

After dropping the opening frame, Gillespie won the next three to clinch victory. Smith however, can at least take some consolation from having made the overall high break during the weekend.

In Group 8, WDBS newcomer Shabir Ahmed claimed victory in the deaf classification for the loss of just one frame across the weekend. Having come through his group in top spot, he then whitewashed Darrel Carter, Blake Munton and finally Lewis Knowles to seal the win.

The Challenge Cup, an event held for players who did not progress through the group stages of the main competitions, was won by Group 8 player Alan Crane, who defeated Christof Niklaus in the final.

Group 8 winner Shabir Ahmed

Finally, as at the previous WDBS event in Manchester, there was also a competition held on Friday for people with learning disabilities (Group 6), alongside an open day for all players with disabilities. The event was won by Ben Rodgers, who defeated David Mac 2-1 in the final to make it a clean sweep for debutants in Derby.

As ever, the event was supported by a team of WPBSA World Snooker coaches, including venue owner Danny Cooper, the Cueball having proved another popular addition to the WDBS calendar.

WPBSA World Snooker coach Simon Berrisford said: “On behalf of the Paul Hunter Foundation and supporting sponsor J&S Trading I would like to thank the WDBS players and staff for this weekend’s event at the Cueball Derby. The level of play was exceptional and the commitment of the players involved was incredible. The WDBS playing community are an inspirational and rapidly growing part of the future of snooker, both in the UK and worldwide.”

The next WDBS tournament will be the inaugural 2017 WDBS Welsh Open on 30 June – 2 July 2017 at Redz Snooker Club, Cwmbran. For the first time, the event will be open to players from all eight disability classification groups, with matches to be played under a six-red format. The entry pack is available to download now from wdbs.info

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

Final results are available via the following links to MySnookerStats:

Derby Welcomes WDBS

World Disability Billiards and Snooker will stage its second event of 2017 this weekend at the Cueball Derby, England.

The WDBS Paul Hunter Disability Classic is set to see a record number of entrants in both its Group 7 (visual impairments) and Group 8 (hearing impairments), building upon the successful Hull Open held for those classification groups in November last year.

As at the recent Manchester Classic, there will also be a Learning Disability Snooker Day held for Group 6 players on the Friday, alongside the tournament’s regular open day at which players with any disability

The event will be supported by the Paul Hunter Foundation, who as title sponsors have made a significant contribution towards the total prize fund. The Foundation was established in 2006 in memory of three-time Masters champion Paul Hunter with the specific aim of giving disadvantaged, able bodied and disabled youngsters an opportunity to play snooker. Over the past decade, the Foundation has raised over £550,000, delivering over 580 live roadshows to over 10,000 children across 160 different communities within the UK. It has also donated over 2,750 cased cues, installed 12 full-size snooker tables into the community and repaired over 100 tables.

Also supporting the event are J&S Trading, title sponsors of our previous WDBS event in Manchester back in March.

Updates will follow throughout the weekend at our social media platforms (Twitter and Facebook), while you will also be able to follow the latest scores and group standings from the Group 7 and Group 8 competitions via MySnookerStats once the draws have been made.

Money Raised For WDBS

Over £1,000 was raised for World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) last Friday an exhibition event held in Lincoln by Snooker Legends.

Featuring five-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan and BBC commentator John Virgo, the event was organised by former WDBS event winner Nigel Coton and saw the Rocket in top form as he made seven century breaks from nine frames, including a maximum 147 during the evening.

As had been agreed prior to the event, surplus funds raised will be donated to the WDBS. The money, totalling £1,147 will be incorporated into the overall prize fund for the inaugural WDBS Welsh Open, to be held at Redz Snooker Club on 30 June – 2 July 2017.

On hand to receive the donation on behalf of the WDBS were regular players Daniel Blunn and Joe Hardstaff, both of whom had the opportunity to meet and have photographs with O’Sullivan.

WDBS Welsh Open

The entry pack for the WDBS Welsh Open is now available to download here. The competition will be the first open to players from ALL eight disability classification groups and will be played using a Six Red format.

As at previous events, the weekend will begin with a Friday open day, at which players with all disabilities are encouraged to attend and try snooker, ahead of a two-day competitive tournament.

If you require more information about the event or how you can get involved with the WDBS please us our contact form.

WDBS Statement: Jonathan Adams

Jonathan Adams, who has served as a founding director and ambassador for World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) since its formation in 2015, has stepped down from his role as a director.

Jonathan is a successful athlete who competed for Great Britain at the 2012 Paralympics in the shot put and also has a long-standing interest in snooker from his childhood. Having been involved with a disability snooker tournament in 2013, he was inspired to play a key role in the development of WDBS and the creation of new opportunities for people with disabilities to play snooker.

WDBS would like to thank Jonathan for his valuable contribution to disability snooker and the insight that he has provided over the past two years. We wish him all the best for the future and his future competitions.

WDBS Statement: Tim Squires

Tim Squires, who has served as a founding director and coach for World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) since its formation in July 2015, has left the board.

Tim is the founder of TJS-Snookerbility an organisation where he coaches people with special needs in Suffolk. He is now a specialist snooker coach for people with special needs & disabilities and more recently he has played a role in the development of WDBS and the creation of new opportunities for people with disabilities to play snooker.

WDBS would like to thank Tim for his contribution to disability snooker and the hard work that he has put in to support the organisation over the past two years and wish him all the best for the future.

Welsh Open to be Held in Cwmbran

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) will stage its first event in Wales this summer in Cwmbran.

The WDBS Welsh Open will be held at Redz Snooker Club from 30 June – 2 July 2017 and for the first time will be open to players from ALL eight disability classification groups and will be played using a Six Red format.

As at previous events, the weekend will begin with a Friday open day, at which players with all disabilities are encouraged to attend and try snooker, with free practice and coaching from accredited WPBSA World Snooker coaches available. Prize money will be available at the event subject to sponsorship.

“We are excited to announce this landmark new event in Cwmbran,” said WDBS Chairman Nigel Mawer. “For the first time will see players from all disability groups compete together under a new Six Red format. The innovative event will also be our first tournament to be held in Wales and we are looking forward to welcoming new local players, as well as familiar faces from around the globe.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to invite support from local companies who would like to partner with us for the event, to help us provide a healthy prize fund for players competing in the event. All contributions are gratefully received and will all be directed back to the overall prize fund.”

Further information, including the full entry pack and tournament format will be announced shortly.

Snooker Legends Auction Raises Money for WDBS

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

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

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

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

World Disability Day Returns Thursday

World Disability Day returns to Sheffield this Thursday (20th April) at the ‘Cue Zone’ as part of this year’s Betfred World Snooker Championship.

As during previous years, the Cue Zone is situated at the Winter Garden, close to the Crucible Theatre. World Disability Snooker Day, hosted by World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS), in conjunction with the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA), looks to encourage people with disabilities to participate in snooker.

Since its formation in 2015, the WDBS has now hosted several world disability events across the UK, most recently in Manchester and continues to grow and attract new players and supporters. The long-term goal for the WDBS is to see snooker return to the Paralympics, at which snooker was one of its founding sports and was held most recently in 1988.

Leonard Cheshire Disability

For a second successive year, World Disability Snooker Day will be supported by WDBS charity partner Leonard Cheshire Disability. During the day residents from their Derbyshire and Cheltenham groups will be on site at the Cue Zone to try snooker under the guidance of WPBSA World Snooker coaches, including regular players Steve Packer and Mark Parsons.

Members of the public will have the opportunity to compete in doubles matches against WDBS players and the day will also see a group from Sheffield Mencap in attendance to experience snooker.

#Cue4All

Together with Ladies Day, to be held next week on 26th April 2017, World Disability Snooker Day forms part of the new #Cue4All initiative from the WPBSA, aimed at promoting the inclusive nature of snooker and billiards

Even if you cannot make it to the Crucible, be part of the celebrations by hosting open days at your club, offering free taster sessions, running snooker challenges, promoting your community snooker sessions and sharing stories on social media about the groups or individuals who access your snooker facilities.

Remember to tag in the hashtag #Cue4All so that you can promote your inclusive activities during the Betfred World Championship 2017.

If you would like support to raise the profile of your club or facility, such as poster templates, links to local disability sector groups or community organisations, or advice on making your club more inclusive, please contact the WPBSA using the contact form or call 0117 317 8200.

For more information about the WDBS please visit www.wdbs.info

You can also read more about Leonard Cheshire Disability at their official website www.leonardcheshire.org