Category: General News

Southern Classic Open for Entry

Entries are now being accepted for the all-new Southern Classic which will be held at Jesters Snooker Hall in Swindon from 22-24 March 2019.

The event will be the first of 2019 for people with visual and hearing disabilities (Groups 7-8) and will also incorporate a two-day tournament for players with learning disabilities (Group 6).

Once again the weekend will begin with a day of coaching and practice at which people with all disabilities are encouraged to get involved and participate in snooker. The day will be supported by our team of official WPBSA World Snooker coaches who will be on hand at the Go Green Energy Coaching Zone to help people enjoy the day.

The deadline for entries is Friday 15 March 2019.

Hazel Grove Hosts Successful Disability Snooker Event

The first World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) event of 2019 was staged at the Hazel Grove Snooker Club last weekend.

The Northern Classic, sponsored by BB Scaffolding, welcomed players with a variety of physical and learning disabilities to contest six individual competitions across the weekend.

Physical disabilities

There was a familiar winner in the latest Groups 1-2 wheelchair competition as Daniel Lee completed the successful defence of his Northern Classic title with a 3-0 victory against Aslam Abubaker of India.

Winner of the mixed-classification Welsh Open and Champion of Champions competitions already this season, Lee progressed from his three-player round robin group with victories against Tony Southern (3-2) and Shahab Siddiqui (3-1), while Abubaker comfortably saw off Scotland’s Gavin Gormley and Glyn Lloyd without the loss of a frame.

Following a first close frame won by Lee however, the next two would be more one-sided as the 39-year-old secured his first silverware of the new year.

In Group 3 there was a comeback victory for John Teasdale after the Lancaster potter recovered from 2-0 down to defeat Joe Hardstaff 3-2 in the final.

Competing in a newly-revised classification group exclusively open to players with absent or significant upper limb impairments, both came through a four-player round robin group, with Teasdale claiming his first WDBS title since the Challenge Cup back at the 2016 Manchester Classic.

With a number of players having switched from Group 3 to Group 4 for this event, there was a bumper 21-player field with previous winners from both groups to contest the title.

Ultimately however it was 27-year-old Daniel Blunn who emerged victorious to secure a record eighth WDBS win following a 3-0 victory against Peter Yelland.

Competing as a Group 4 player for the first time, Blunn came through his group with a perfect 6-0 record before defeating John Fenwick and David Church in a close semi-final to reach an unprecedented 11th final.

His opponent Peter Yelland meanwhile had a marathon final day in Stockport, initially coming through a three-way play-off match to secure his place in the knockout rounds, before defeating Andy Johnson, Danielle Findlay and defending champion William Thomson to reach the final.

It would though be Blunn who would prevail with a whitewash victory in the showpiece match to extend his unique record of having won a title during each year since the formation of WDBS in 2015.

The highest break of the weekend was made in this competition by Scotland’s William Thomson with a run of 64 during the group stage.

The final competition for players with physical disabilities was won by Preston’s Mickey Chambers, who completed the successful defence of his Group 5 Northern Classic title with a 3-1 success against David Weller.

Chambers, who has previously played for England’s amputee football team, had won his previous two WDBS events and maintained his flawless run for the loss of just two frames during the weekend.

Learning disabilities

The Group 6A competition for people with learning disabilities saw a repeat final from the previous event in Hull, but a different result as Mohammed Faisal Butt defeated Mike Busst 3-1 to claim his maiden WDBS title.

There was however a further repeat winner in the Group 6B tournament as Daniel Harwood claimed his seventh title with a 4-0 final victory against Leroy Williams.

It was their second meeting of the weekend after the pair had earlier met in a five-player group stage, which proved to be far closer with Harwood edging their initial contest 3-2, before the two faced each other again in a one-sided final.

Challenge Cup

The Challenge Cup competition for players not qualified for the knockout rounds was contested between Phil Woodwiss and Wayne Grew, with Skipton’s Woodwiss coming through a 2-0 winner to win his first WDBS medal.

Woodwiss competed in his first competition at the Welsh Open last summer and has been a regular face at events since competing in Group 5.

Open day

Once again the event began with a special open day, which welcomed both regular faces and a number of local organisations to come and try snooker and receive coaching and advice at the Go Green Energy Coaching Zone.

Among those to attend were students from two local students, as well as members of the Stockport Cerebral Palsy Society. They were joined by Councillor Walter Brett, Mayor of Stockport for 2018/19 and Coronation Street actor Liam Bairstow, who plays Alex Warner in the ITV soap.

DSActive

The event was also supported by DSActive as part of the new partnership between the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association and the Down’s Syndrome Association, with the aim of providing more opportunities for people with Down’s syndrome to play snooker.

Prior to the event a special workshop was run by DSActive for individuals associated with WDBS including the board of directors, referees and coaches. This provided important information about terminology, communication and awareness to enhance the way in which WDBS events are run to give players with Down’s syndrome the best possible experience.

The workshop will also lead to the first snooker club-based sessions led by coaches who attended the session accredited by DSActive, based at clubs affiliated the English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards.

WDBS would like to thank our title sponsors BB Scaffolding, represented by owner Bradley Wosahlo and his business partner Brett Downs, as well as club owner Dino Georgiou and his team for their wonderful hospitality over the course of the weekend.

View full tournament results from the main competition via MySnookerStats here.

View event photos at our Facebook page here.

View the updated WDBS Roll of Honour here.

 

Northern Classic 2019: Tournament Preview

The opening World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) event of the new year takes place this weekend at the renowned Hazel Grove Snooker Club in Stockport, which will be hosting WDBS competition for the first time.

Consisting of five separate tournaments, the 2019 Northern Classic features players with a range of physical and learning disabilities who will contest their respective classification groups and will be sponsored by BB Scaffolding.

DSActive Day

Ahead of the competitive action the weekend will begin with a special open day which will be supported by the Down syndrome initiative DSActive.

People with all disabilities, including Down syndrome are welcomed to the club to try snooker regardless of experience and receive coaching from our team of WPBSA World Snooker coaches at the Go Green Energy Coaching Zone.

Groups 1-2

The wheelchair category continues to be one of the most exciting and competitive sections on the WDBS scene, although Daniel Lee is currently the player to beat.

Lee enjoyed a terrific 2018 campaign that saw him secure a trio of titles; the multi-classification Welsh Open, the Champion of Champions and he heads to Stockport as the defending Northern Classic champion.

He faces a difficult task holding onto his crown, though. Reigning Open Disability champion Aslam Abubaker broke his WDBS duck in Northampton last September and now he has a taste for more success.

There will also be no lack of motivation for fellow entrants Tony Southern, Glyn Lloyd and Shahab Siddiqui – all previous finalists on the circuit who are hoping to go all the way this time around.

Group 3

Following feedback received from players Group 3 will consist solely of ambulant players with one or more upper limbs either absent or severely impaired.

This means that a number of previous Group 3 winners with either full use, or moderately impaired upper limbs will be re-classified either as Group 4 or Group 5 players.

Of those who are set to contest the Group 3 tournament however is Nigel Coton, a former winner back in 2016 at the Open Disability Snooker Championship.

He will be joined by the likes of John Teasdale, Joe Hardstaff and Kal Mattu, all experienced competitors on the WDBS circuit.

Groups 4-5*

Several familiar names appear in the line-up for the Group 4/5 tournament that boasts a healthy number of entries, boosted further by those previously classified as Group 3 competitors.

Headline players include reigning champion Mickey Chambers and recent Champion of Champions winner David Church, who will resume their ongoing struggle for supremacy in the division – they have shared the last four titles between themselves.

Within the field of cueists who are seeking to break up this recent dominance are former Manchester Classic champions Andy Johnson and David Weller. They will also be joined by multiple WDBS champions Daniel Blunn and William Thomson, who met in the Group 3 final of this event a year ago.

In form David Moore will also be another player to watch. Moore benefited from being a late replacement for Gloucester a few months ago where he topped the round robin before losing to Church in the final.

A quarter-finalist on debut at Barratts in the Autumn, Marcin Kubalski will once again make the trip across from Poland to pit his wits on the WDBS tour.

Female players Danielle Findlay and Maureen Rowland also form part of a diverse jigsaw.

*Note that subject to entries, there may be individual competitions for Groups 4 and 5.

Groups 6A / 6B

For only the second time players with intellectual disabilities will have the opportunity to compete in Group 6 events across the full weekend.

Twelve months ago, in Preston, it was third time lucky for Leroy Williams in a WDBS final as he recorded his first triumph on the circuit. The defending champion is back aiming to retain his title in the 6B autistic section but faces stiff opposition from several quarters.

This includes fellow Liverpool based star Daniel Harwood, who is looking to continue his impressive streak on tour. Already a record equaling six-time WDBS winner, Harwood claimed the prestigious Champion of Champions and Hull Open titles towards the back end of 2018.

Reigning Humber Classic champion Peter Geronimo will also be making the trip up from London.

In the Group 6A learning disabilities discipline, Mike Busst will try to build on his maiden victory in Hull last November.  Among others, he will be joined by Hull finalist Faisal Butt and Alexandra Mendham, who was a semi-finalist in this event last year.

The Northern Classic runs from 8-10 February 2019 at the Hazel Grove Snooker Centre in Stockport and you can follow updates online here and at our social media pages.

Preview by Matt Huart and Michael Day.

BB Scaffolding to Sponsor Northern Classic

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) is pleased to announce that this weekend’s Northern Classic will be sponsored by BB Scaffolding Services.

The tournament will be the first WDBS event of 2019 and moves to a new venue, the Hazel Grove Snooker Club in Stockport, England.

The weekend will begin on Friday 8 February with an open day for people with all disabilities to come and try snooker, with expert coaches on hand to provide advice and support. For the first time the open day will be supported by DSActive, part of national Down syndrome charity the Down Syndrome Association.

Over the following two days people with a range of physical disabilities will then compete in tournaments, with players classified according to the WDBS classification system.

BB Scaffolding is a Cheshire-based company which provides a fast, reliable and safe scaffolding service in Greater Manchester and the surrounding areas. It is the second time that the company has sponsored a WDBS event, having previously supported the Welsh Open tournament last summer.

Bradley Wosahlo and Brett Downs of BB Scaffolding said: “I am delighted that BB Scaffolding is able to support such an inspiring event as the WDBS Northern Classic. I became aware of WDBS following a meeting with Group 6 player Simeon Lucas and his father Keith and I knew immediately it was something that I wanted to be a part of.

“Snooker is an inclusive sport and it is important events such as this are sponsored to help encourage as many people as possible to take part. We are only too happy to support this event and wish all of the competitors the best of luck!”

Learn more about BB Scaffolding online: http://www.bbscaffolding.co.uk/

Disability Champions Head to Dubai

Six disability snooker champions will compete alongside the world’s top amateur snooker players at this year’s WSF Championships in Dubai this March with the support of 360Fizz.

Last October saw the most successful players at World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) events held over the past three years come together for the inaugural WDBS Champion of Champions at Gloucester’s South West Snooker Academy. From the 24 players who were invited to the tournament, six emerged victorious from their respective disability classification groups:

  • Daniel Lee (Groups 1/2 winner)
  • Daniel Blunn (Group 3 winner)
  • David Church (Groups 4/5 winner)
  • Daniel Harwood (Group 6 winner)
  • Nick Neale (Group 7 winner)
  • Lewis Knowles (Group 8 winner)

As part of a ground-breaking initiative between WDBS and the World Snooker Federation (WSF), each of the players have been invited to compete at the 2019 WSF Championships, snooker’s premier international competition for amateur players.

Following a successful first staging of the event in Malta last March, this year’s Championships will take place from 28 March – 7 April. The event will include the World Women’s Snooker Championship and WSF Seniors Championship, alongside the mixed gender competition which was won last year by China’s Luo Honghao, who has since taken his place on the professional World Snooker Tour.

360Fizz Support

As well as the prize of a free entry into this prestigious event, it has also been confirmed that the travel and accommodation costs of each of the six players will be generously sponsored by 360Fizz to ensure that each of the players can take advantage of this incredible opportunity.

Through its irrepressible owner Jonny Welch, 360Fizz has already provided significant support for WDBS in 2018 with the title sponsorship of three events, including the record-breaking Fizz Open Disability Snooker Championship which saw an incredible 79 players compete across two days.

What the players said:

Among those who will be making the trip to Dubai is Daniel Lee, who competes from a wheelchair and won three WDBS tournaments in 2018, including the mixed classification Welsh Open event from a field of 55 players from all eight disability classification groups.

“I am very happy,” said Lee after he defeated Tony Southern 4-2 to win his category at the Champion of Champions. “The prize on offer [a place in Dubai] was definitely in the background and it was a very tight, tough match in the final. Tony has been around a long time and it became a bit of a battle, but I am just happy to get through it.

“It [a place at the WSF Championships] has given me motivation to practice for sure. To be able to go out there and represent WDBS and show what people in a wheelchair can do, I will give myself every chance and practice hard. Realistically it is going to be tough for me but I’m going to enjoy the experience and I’m grateful to be there. I just want to go over and promote this brand [WDBS] and what we are all about. We will conduct ourselves in the right way, enjoy it and give it our best shot.”

Another to book his place in Dubai was Daniel Blunn from Sutton Coldfield, who has cerebral palsy and is a serial champion at WDBS events, including at the WDBS Belgian Open on what was his first ever trip outside of the UK. He is now looking forward to competing in his second snooker tournament outside of the UK in Dubai and showing what people with disabilities can do:

“I will have to bring some sun tan lotion, it’s quite hot so I hear!” added Blunn. “It will be very tough but there are six pockets, we have all got tips on the end of our cues, let’s have a go and see what we can do. I don’t see why we shouldn’t be there. There’s no reason why we can’t compete among able-bodied people, everyone can play snooker.”

Similarly, Group 4/5 champion David Church will also be travelling further than he has before and is looking to make the most of the experience, win or lose in Dubai:

“Dubai will be the furthest that I have ever travelled, it’s amazing whether I win a match or not. I am not going to go there expecting to win, I am just going to play and if I win a game I will be happy and if not it’s a great experience.”

“A significant milestone”

WDBS Chairman Nigel Mawer said: “I am thrilled for the six players who will be heading to Dubai to compete at the WSF Championships this year. Since our formation in 2015 we have been committed to providing opportunities for people with disabilities to play snooker competitively, not only against each other but also in major able-bodied tournaments and through our membership of the WSF we are able to do just that.

“Already at this year’s WSF Championships in Malta we met players from Iceland and Israel who were competing with disabilities and for us to be able to reward our current champions in this way represents a significant milestone in our growth.

“I would particularly like to thank our sponsors 360Fizz who have been such strong supporters of disability snooker so far this season and we look forward to working with even more closely in the future.”

Jonny Welch of 360Fizz added: “I am proud to be able to play a part in helping these incredible players be able to compete at such an important international tournament as the WSF Championships. It has been a pleasure both for me personally and for 360Fizz to support WDBS so far this season and I would like to wish all of the players competing in Dubai

Learn more about the WSF Championships: www.worldsnookerfederation.org/u-a-e-to-host-wsf-championships-2019

Entry Open for Belgian Open 2019

Entries are now being accepted for this year’s Belgian Open which returns to The Trickshot, Bruges following a successful first staging of the event last March.

The event will run from 8-10 March and begin with a practice day for people with any disabilities to come and try snooker, prior to a two-day tournament for people with physical disabilities (ambulant and wheelchair groups 1-5).

The venue is fully accessible and based in the centre of the historic city of Bruges. We would once again like to extend our thanks to owner Olivier Vandenbohede and his team for their hospitality and support with the event.

Velotel Hotel exterior

Hotel Velotel

As was the case in 2018 we have agreed a special rate with the Hotel Velotel Bruges for people who will be competing in the event as follows:

  • Single room incl. breakfast €65.00 (+ €2.12 city tax per night)
  • Double room incl. breakfast €75.00 (+ €2.12 city tax per night)
  • Upgrade to superior room: + €25.00 Free pa

The rate will be available from 07/03/2019 – 11/03/2019 and to reserve a room players should contact George Edwards and confirm:

  1. Which nights are required
  2. Whether a double or twin room is required
  3. If an accessible room is required

Please note that rooms are limited, so interested players are urged to contact George as soon as possible to avoid missing out.

Learn more about the hotel at their website.

Northern Classic 2019: Enter Now!

Entries are now open for the Northern Classic 2019 which will be held for the first time at the Hazel Grove Snooker Club from 8-10 February.

The event is the first World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) event of the New Year and will include full two-day tournaments for people with physical and learning disabilities, with Group 6 to join players from Groups 1-5.

The weekend will begin with our regular Friday Open Day, to include the Go Green Energy Coaching Zone at which people of any level of experience are encouraged to participate in snooker.

Belgian Open 2019 – Travel Options

Following our successful first WDBS event in Belgium earlier this year we are delighted to be returning The Trickshot, Bruges from 8-10 March 2019 for the Belgian Open (G1-5) competition.

To assist as many people as possible from the UK to travel for the event we are considering running a coach service from the UK to Bruges and back. This will be part-funded by money kindly donated to WDBS, including by Nigel Coton and Irwin Mitchell Solicitors.

For us to determine whether this would be possible and to choose the best service available, we would be grateful to receive expressions of interest from players by completing and returning the linked form to us by 18th January 2019

Download the form in pdf or .docx format.

Details:

  • The coach would leave the UK on the morning of Friday 8 March 2019.
  • The return trip would leave Belgium on Monday 11 March 2019.
  • The trip would be part-funded by WDBS with a contribution of a proposed maximum of £60.00 from each player
  • Subject to space availability, there may be an option for each player to bring one guest on the coach. The guest would pay for their place in full with a proposed maximum cost of: £120.00
  • We expect that there would be a maximum capacity of 30-35 people on the coach.
  • To help us decide whether the coach should leave the UK from please indicate your preferred location.

Group 8 Announcement

Following consultation with players and other interested parties the decision was taken earlier this year to introduce a restriction on the wearing of hearing aids and cochlear implants during Group 8 tournaments at World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) events.

This rule was implemented on a trial basis of three events (Open Disability Snooker Championship, Champion of Champions and the Hull Open) in order to evaluate its impact upon players and WDBS tournaments.

Following the end of that trial period and after careful consideration, taking into account feedback from players, we have now taken the decision to remove the restriction on the use of hearing aids and cochlear implants during play. This is to be effective immediately, with players again able to wear their aids at the next Group 8 event which will be the Southern Classic next March.

We do, however, remain supportive of the Deaflympics programme and have the aspiration to see snooker take its place at the Deaflympics in the future. Should we move closer to achieving this goal we would look to stage tournaments without hearing aids for elite players who wish to play in Deaflympics competitions, at which their use would remain strictly prohibited.

We understand that this issue has been a serious matter for our deaf players in recent months and we would again like to thank you for your patience and understanding.

We look forward to seeing you all again in the New Year.

Northern Classic to be Staged at Hazel Grove

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) has today announced that the first event of 2019 will be the Northern Classic, to be held at the Hazel Grove Snooker Club in Stockport from 8-10 February.

The event is to include competitions for players with physical and learning disabilities, with all tournaments to be staged across two days (Saturday and Sunday).

It will be the first time that a WDBS event has been staged at Hazel Grove, which boasts an impressive 26 snooker tables and is a gold member of The 147 Club, the official club affiliation scheme of the English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards.

Open Day

In addition to two days of tournament snooker the weekend will begin with a Friday open day which will provide opportunities for people with disabilities to come and pick up a cue.

Open to people of all levels of experience, those attending will be encouraged to get involved with activities at the Go Green Energy Coaching Zone, with activities to be coordinated by WPBSA World Snooker coach Steve Rutter.

There will also be opportunities for existing players to be able to practice ahead of the weekend’s tournaments.

Further information, including details of online entry and proposed changes to the WDBS disability classification system will be released shortly.