Category: General News

Think Telecom to Support Hull Open

The WDBS is today delighted to announce that Think Telecom Ltd will support next month’s Hull Open event.

Based in Maidstone, Think Telecom are a telecoms wholesaler on the open reach network, specialising in offering bespoke telecommunications solutions including line rental, calls, broadband and merchant services to businesses within the UK.

Think Telecom join the already announced Hudgell Solicitors in backing the tournament, meaning that we can now confirm a minimum prize fund of £550 across the event.

As previously announced, there will be two classification groups eligible to compete in the main competition from 12-13 November 2016, including players with both visual (group 7) and hearing (group 8) disabilities.

There will also be a free open day on Friday 11th November 2016 at which people with any disabilities or level of experience, are encouraged to come and try snooker.

The event will take place at the Tradewell Snooker Centre, Hull, which has 14 full-size tables including one Star table fitted to professional templates.

We are still accepting entries for the 2016 Hull Open, with the entry deadline set to fall on Friday 4th November 2016. Further information is available in the entry pack, however please do not hesitate to contact us via our website or social media should you require further information.

WDBS Medal Winners

Gloucester Geared for WDBS

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) is set to stage its fourth ever event this weekend with the 2016 Open Disability Snooker Championship in Gloucester.

The WDBS will return to the South West Snooker Academy, the venue which hosted the very first WDBS event last November. As in 2015, the action will begin with a Friday open day of coaching and practice, together with a learning disability snooker festival for players with learning disabilities (group six), supported by Special Olympics Gloucestershire.

This will be followed by a two-day tournament for groups 1-5 players which will see a record 33 players participate across three competitions. As at previous events, all players not qualifying for their knock-out stages of their classification will be eligible to enter a Challenge Cup event on the second day.

Players returning include all of our event finalists from 2015, including India’s Raja Subramanian, Daniel Blunn from Sutton Coldfield and Oxted’s Graham Bonnell.

While there will be many familiar elements to the event for returning players, there will also be new aspects to the event, which will be the first to have updated scoring and tables throughout the weekend via the MySnookerStats service. The event will also be the first to carry prize money, following support received from global engineering company Renishaw plc.

In view of the high number of entries, players are advised that they will be required to attend for a prompt start at 10:00am on Saturday.

Full coverage and updates throughout the weekend will be available at wdbs.info in addition to our social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook.

Hudgell Backing for Hull Open

The 2016 WDBS Hull Open will be supported by Hudgell Solicitors, a Hull-based legal services provider, operating nationally with further offices in London, Leeds and Bristol.

Hudgell Solicitors specialise in advising on personal injury and medical negligence compensation claims. Their managing director Neil Hudgell founded the company in 1997 and himself is no stranger to competitive sport as he also acts as Chairman of rugby league team Hull Kingston Rovers.

The Hull Open will be the event staged by World Disability Billiards and Snooker in Yorkshire and will be held at the Tradewell Snooker Centre, which boasts 14 tables, including one Star table fitted to professional templates. The event will be the second open to players with visual and hearing impairments, following the WDBS Woking Open back in May.

People with any disabilities are encouraged to attend to try snooker for free and to receive coaching during our open day on Friday 11th November 2016.

With the support provided by Hudgell Solicitors the WDBS are pleased to confirm that as with our upcoming event in Gloucester, prize money will now also be available at the Hull Open. A further announcement will be made as soon as possible as to how this will be distributed.

We are still accepting entries for the 2016 Hull Open, with the entry deadline set to fall on Friday 4th November 2016. Further information is available in the entry pack, however please do not hesitate to contact us via our website or social media should you require further information.

World Cerebral Palsy Day 2016

World Cerebral Palsy Day is a movement of people with cerebral palsy and their families in more than 50 countries, which this year takes place today on Wednesday 5th October 2016.

Held since 2012, originally as the ‘Change My World in 1 Minute’ campaign, the day is held on the first Wednesday of each October and is coordinated by the World Cerebral Palsy Initiative, a group of non-profit cerebral palsy (CP) organisations with a global vision to create real change for people living with CP.

Jonathan Adams, World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) director and ambassador, was born with CP which affects all four of his limbs, particularly on his left-hand side. He has not let this stop him from pursuing his dreams however, competing at the London 2012 Paralympics for Great Britain, as well as playing a key part in the development of the WDBS during the past 12 months.

On the playing side, we have too seen a number of players with CP take part, including Gloucester winner Daniel Blunn, who we recently featured during our classification guide for Group 3 players. Peter Hull from Uxbridge first joined us for the WDBS Manchester Classic, as well as Andy Johnson who took victory in the Group 4/5 event back in March.cpday1

A player who will be returning for the upcoming 2016 Open Disability Snooker Championship is Andy Harper from St Helens. Known as ‘snookerfanatic’ on social media, he first fell in love with the sport back in 2001, watching the late Paul Hunter famously come back to win the first of his three Masters titles at Wembley.

He recently told us of the challenges of playing the game for somebody with CP, but how he has overcome these and the sense of achievement that he has gained as a result.

“I feel that for someone with CP, snooker is not one of the easiest sports to get into but is definitely one of the most rewarding,” said Harper. “The fundamentals of snooker are a strong bridge and a comfortable stance. These are difficult with CP and to achieve them requires a great deal of work off the table focusing on hand strength and inner core. The bridge especially took a lot of work and needless to say I became quite proficient with the spider.

“I now compete in the first division of the St Helens snooker league with able bodied players and to post the good results that I do has given me tremendous social confidence and satisfaction.”

harper

The 25-year-old is now looking forward to returning to Gloucester in less than a fortnight and reflected on his WDBS debut at last year’s edition of the event.

“It was great to be able to play on a level playing field and to see everybody enjoying themselves as much as they were,” said Harper. “There was a good atmosphere going and overall I would say that the event was top drawer. Everyone was really nice to each other, chatting and sharing a joke, but when we were at the table it was time to get the game going.”

The 2016 Open Disability Snooker Championship takes place from 14-16 October 2016 at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester.

You can learn more about World Cerebral Palsy Day at https://worldcpday.org/

Renishaw to Support Open Disability Snooker Championship

Next month’s 2016 WDBS Open Disability Snooker Championship will be supported by Gloucester-based Renishaw plc, one of the world’s leading engineering and scientific technology companies.

As in 2015, the event will be held at the South West Snooker Academy and it promises to be the biggest staged by the WDBS to date, with a record amount of entries already received prior to this Friday’s deadline. The tournament will be the fourth to be staged by the WDBS, following events in Gloucester, Manchester and Woking during the last 12 months.

With the support of Renishaw, the WDBS are further pleased to announce that for the first time at one of its events, prize money will be offered for each of the three competitions (Groups 1-2, Group 3 and Groups 4-5), to be played during the weekend. Provisionally, this will be set at £75.00 for each group winner, with the runner-up to receive £25.00.

The entry deadline for the 2016 Open Disability Snooker Championship is Friday 30th September 2016, meaning that you have just four days to enter and be part of the action in Gloucester. For more information please download the entry pack.

Swail Supports WDBS

Two-time World Championship semi-finalist Joe Swail has offered his support to World Disability Billiards and Snooker and encouraged players to take part in upcoming events in Gloucester and Hull.

The Northern Irishman, who reached a career-high world ranking of number 10 during the 2001/02 season, was born partially deaf in both ears and says that his results are proof that a disability doesn’t have to hold people back.

“I would definitely encourage players to take part in WDBS events,” said Swail. “The most important thing for players is to enjoy it and if they have got a talent then they should have the chance to progress.

“I’m a firm believer that a disability shouldn’t hinder what you are going to achieve in life. I’ve been a professional for over 25 years now and my disability has never held me back.”

In fact, Swail is philosophical about the effects of his disability and the other related conditions that have developed in recent years, including tinnitus and vertigo.

“I have been partially deaf since birth and it is just one of those things that has deteriorated over the years. It has been a progression and there are connected conditions that have affected me in different ways, but I have learned to deal with it. It is a disability but it is the same as with a lot of other people who have other sensory impairments or physical impairments, you just learn to deal with what you have got, to reflect on the good days, appreciate it’s not the be all and end all, and move on with life which is what I’ve done.”

Photo of Joe Swail playing snooker

Rather than hinder his snooker career, for Swail his disability was one of the reason why he first took up the sport when he was approximately 12-years-old. His older brother Liam is fully deaf in both ears and himself was a talented snooker player, having hit 300 century breaks prior to his 16th birthday. Sadly he was not able to join Joe on the professional circuit following a serious road accident, but their shared passion for the sport was something that helped drive Joe to his achievements so far during his professional career.

“I got involved with snooker because I knew early on that I wouldn’t be able to do a ‘9 to 5’ job which would have required good hearing and patience. With snooker however the silent surroundings and requirement of concentration suited me. My mates were moving on with different things, moving to college and I knew I wouldn’t be capable or have the confidence to do that. But it was snooker that gave me a new lease of life.

“My brother was a fantastic snooker player and we competed against each other as kids. He would want to beat me and I would want to beat him. Unfortunately I lost a lot of games on the 6 foot table, but we spurred each other on and made sure that our disabilities weren’t going to stop us doing what we wanted to do.”

From both his own personal experience and that of his brother, the player nicknamed ‘the Outlaw’ believes that snooker is an ideal sport for people with hearing impairments:

“You are just playing a game that you both enjoy, you know how to play it, you know what you want to try and do and you don’t actually have to try and talk to people. It’s definitely a great hobby for deaf people to get involved with because they are playing the game that they love and they are having a bit of craic as well without having to engage in communication by speaking to one another because you are limited that way.”

The next WDBS event open to players with hearing impairments (group 8 players), will be the WDBS Hull Open from 11-13 November 2016. Read more and learn how you can enter now.

WDBS Classification Guide: Group Five

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

This week our attention turns to the group five profile, the final group of the three encompassing ambulant players who have a physical disability.

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 5 (profiles 16, 22-25, 29-30)

Profile 16: One upper limb is severely impaired.

Profile 22: Both arms slightly impaired or amputated below the elbow.

Profile 23: One leg has slight impairment.

Profile 24: One arm slightly impaired or amputated below the elbow.

Profile 25: Very short stature (at least 12 inches (30.5cm) shorter than average.

Profile 29: Severe to moderate weakness in both shoulders.

Profile 30: Severe to moderate weakness in trunk.

Together with groups three and four already covered in previous weeks, group five also applies to ambulant players (ie players who can walk) and is made up of six disability profiles (22-25, 29-30), plus the ‘either/or’ profile 16. Players falling under profile 16 with orthosis/appliances will also be classified as group five players.

At WDBS events held to date, group five players have competed together with group four players in competitions. Of the three ambulant groups, players who fall under group five are the least affected by their disability when playing across all groups

profile24

Among the group five players to have taken part in WDBS events so far is Zena ‘Zee’ Latcham, a former three-time British Disability Snooker champion, who was involved in a car accident in 1985 that resulted in the amputation of her lower left arm.

Following this, she looked locally for disabled sports and in 1990 began to play snooker for the first time. More recently, she learned about the WDBS through social media and competed at her first event in Manchester earlier this year.

Open Disability Snooker Championship 2016

We have looked at five groups (1-5), with players from all now eligible to play at the 2016 Open Disability Snooker Championship in Gloucester next month. You can read more information about the event, including how to enter here.

Next week we turn to our group six classification which includes players with intellectual disabilities.

WDBS Partners With Special Olympics Network

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) is today delighted to announce a new partnership with Special Olympics Gloucestershire.

Photograph of group 6 players at South West Snooker AcademySpecial Olympics is an international organisation providing year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. WDBS is a subsidiary body of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) and was created in July 2015 to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to play snooker.

The agreement will see the WDBS work closely with Special Olympics Gloucestershire on innovative new projects in the local area which will provide opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to play snooker. This will also include the support of the upcoming Learning Disability Snooker Festival at the WDBS Open Disability Snooker Championship at the South West Snooker Academy on 14th October 2016.

The new partnership underlines the commitment of the WDBS to provide opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to access high-quality sports coaching and competition programmes.

Chris Hornby, Sport Development Manager for the WPBSA said: “WDBS is committed to offering opportunities for all and as we started out in Gloucestershire at the South West Snooker Academy it is an ideal location for us to grow connections with other organisations.

Photo of the WDBS team“Active Gloucestershire has been very supportive of WDBS and especially looking at opportunities for us to offer snooker to people with learning disabilities. Hopefully this link with Special Olympics Gloucestershire can be the starting point for people with learning disabilities not only in Gloucestershire, but nationally to try, enjoy, compete and benefit from what the sport of snooker can offer.”

Jenny Rutter from Active Gloucestershire and regional Special Olympics Development Officer for Gloucestershire added: “We are delighted the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association is now part of the Special Olympics Gloucestershire network. Their ethos to provide inclusive activity and disability specific competition routes encompasses our aims.

“At the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles, California, 115 athletes represented Great Britain earning 179 medals. None of the athletes who competed were from Gloucestershire.

“Special Olympics Gloucestershire is working to change this by creating partnerships between national governing bodies of sports, local organisations, community groups and sports clubs. We are forming a countywide network bound by one common goal: to create more opportunities for individuals with a learning disability to be active within their local community and compete in sport to the level they desire.”

To learn more about the Special Olympics visit their official website: http://www.specialolympics.org/

Hull to Stage WDBS Event

World Disability Billiards and Snooker will stage an event in Kingston-upon-Hull for the first time this November.

Click HERE to download the entry pack for the WDBS Hull Open

Tradewell

The Tradewell Snooker Club

The WDBS Hull Open will be open to players of classification groups 7-8 and will be played at the Tradewell Snooker Club, located in the East Yorkshire city which has been named as the UK City of Culture for 2017.

The main two-day competition will be held on 12-13 November 2016 and will be the second WDBS event open to players with either visual or hearing impairments, following the Woking Open in May. At that event, Hull’s Lee Douglas finished as runner-up in the group eight tournament and was one of three players from the city to take part.

As at previous events, there will also be an open day held on Friday 11 November, at which people with any disability are encouraged to try snooker and receive free coaching from accredited WPBSA World Snooker coaches.

Entries for the event close on 4 November 2016.

Tradewell Snooker Centre features 14 full-size snooker tables (including one Star table), in addition to pool and darts facilities, with hot food served throughout the day.

Read about the WDBS Woking Open, our previous event held for groups 7-8 players.

WDBS Classification Guide: Group Four

Today we continue to explore 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 four profiles, the second of three groups relating to ambulant players who have a physical disability.

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 4 (profiles 14-15, 17-21, 27-28)

Profile 14: Able to walk, but one side of the body is of little use; usually can only balance unaided on the good leg.

Profile 15: Able to walk, but only one side of body is non-affected.

Profile 17: Able to walk, but both legs are severely impaired.

Profile 18: Able to walk, but one leg severely impaired.

Profile 19: Able to walk, one leg severely impaired, other leg less impaired.

Profile 20: Able to walk but both legs impaired slightly.

Profile 21: Both arms are severely impaired or amputated

Profile 27: Opposite arm and leg severely impaired.

Profile 28: Both hips impaired causing walking difficulty.

Group four is the second of three groups for ambulant players (i.e. players who can walk) and is made up of eight disability profiles (15, 17-21 & 27-28), plus the ‘either/or’ profile 14. Players falling under profile 14 with orthosis/appliances will also be classified as group four players.

At WDBS events held to date, group four players have competed together with group five players in competitions. Of the three ambulant groups, players who fall under group four are less affected by their disability than group three players when playing across all groups

Player view

As was the case with group three featured last week, we have already seen a large number of group four players compete in the WDBS events held to date. Winners of the group 4/5 events include World Billiards player Raja Subramanian and the experienced Andy Johnson, while world wheelchair darts champion Ricky Chilton was also involved in Manchester.

Another who made his debut in our second event was Joe Hardstaff, an IT teacher from Boston, Lincolnshire. Born with phocomelia, a rare disability that causes the bones of the arms, and in some cases other appendages, to be extremely shortened and even absent, Hardstaff falls under profile 21 of the WDBS classification system.

Although he has less competitive experience than some of the other players mentioned (the Manchester Classic was his first taste of competition snooker), Hardstaff is no stranger to cuesports having first been introduced when he was approximately 13-years-old:

“My brother and I would go to the snooker club once a week and play snooker and pool,” said Hardstaff. “I then started to play in our local pool league at the age of 16 and have since won many local town competitions. Snooker has been a game that I have played alongside this as a cue practice mechanism as I never classed myself as good enough to join the local snooker league.”

wdbsprofile21

A former football coach whose son now plays for a local academy, Hardstaff learned of the WDBS earlier this year following an enquiry to the WPBSA as to competitive opportunities for people with disabilities. Following his debut in Manchester he is now relishing the prospect of gaining match experience in future tournaments.

“Snooker for me is a love – hate game,” said Hardstaff. “Fortunately I love it more than I hate it! It’s one of those games that when you are playing well it is extremely rewarding and enjoyable to play.

“I would consider myself as an experienced player but with a lot to learn as my competitive side of snooker is a bit lacking. Having played most of my games in a non-competitive, friendly way with family and friends, it’s certainly something that needs a bit of work.

“I can compete with players of a similar skill level but importantly my disability makes very little difference, although you would not perhaps think that when you see me. There are certain barriers that my disability creates such as bridging over balls that are close together, long reaching shots and power shots however this is compensated somewhat in different approaches to shot selection.”

JoeH

Hardstaff describes his involvement in the Manchester Classic as a real ‘eye-opener’, while he was also one of the players who attended World Disability Snooker Day at the 2016 World Championship.

“I went into the competition with an open mind and I was amazed by the standard of play,” continued Hardstaff. “I met some very nice people who I met again at the World Championship in Sheffield where I attended the disability day to show people what we can do. This I thoroughly enjoyed, particularly the Crucible tour and watching the professionals of course.

“I think the WDBS has a fantastic energy about it. The people who make the organisation operational are very enthusiastic and driven which I really like. They are also very friendly and welcoming. With that kind of focus and vision who knows what’s possible in years to come. Hopefully there will be some sort of Olympics representation of the sports and a wider community of players and playing opportunities.

“I am very pleased to be a part of it and can see myself continuing to compete wherever I can.”

Next week we continue our look at the WDBS classification system as we turn to our group five classification, the third and final ambulant profile.