Category: General News

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.

WDBS Returns to Manchester

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) will return to Manchester in 2017 for the second WDBS Manchester Classic.

litetask-logoThe event will be staged from 10-12 March 2017 and as was the case earlier this year, will be held at Q’s Sports and Entertainment Bar, Manchester. The main two-day competition will again be open to players from WDBS classification groups 1-5 and will be supported by LITEtask, the UK’s largest independent commercial lighting designers and distributors. Prize money will be available at the event, with further information to be announced in due course.

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.

The Manchester Classic will be the first tournament staged by the WDBS in 2017 and the sixth overall since its formation in July 2015. There are two remaining events in 2016 with the Open Disability Snooker Championship to take place this coming weekend in Gloucester, before the second group 7-8 event, the Hull Open next month.

WDBS director and ambassador Jonathan Adams said: “Our return to Manchester will provide a fantastic opportunity off the back of a successful 2016 to provide a world class event in such a vibrant city. This year’s event was a real success story and so it will again be a welcome stop on the WDBS calendar.”

Further information, including the full entry pack and tournament format will be announced in due course.

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.”

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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/