The latest World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) champions were crowned last weekend at the 360Fizz UK Disability Snooker Championship in Northampton.
Held at Barratts Snooker Club, the fifth staging of the event previously known as the Open Disability Snooker Championship received entries from almost 70 players as the competition was held over three days for the first time. Eight separate tournaments were held across a range of disability classification profiles, as well as a Challenge Cup for players who did not progress to the final day.
The weekend also featured a special open day which features support by the Motor Neurone Disease Association and sessions led by WPBSA World Snooker coach Steve Rutter to introduce newcomers with disabilities to the sport.
Wheelchair (Groups 1-2)
Tony Southern earned his second WDBS title this weekend in the Groups 1-2 wheelchair classification following a 3-0 victory against Shahab Siddiqui in the final.
It was Siddiqui who won the group stage clash with Southern as the pair both progressed to semi-finals against Danny Luton and Aslam Abubaker respectively.
Having come through a tight semi-final with Abubaker decided on the colours however, it was Liverpool’s Southern who turned the tables in the title match to claim his first silverware since the Belgian Open back in March.
Ambulant (Groups 3-5)
There was also a second WDBS title earned by Nigel Coton in Group 3 as he resisted a brave fightback by John Teasdale to win 4-3 on Sunday.
Coton, whose previous WDBS title came three years ago at this event, made the stronger start to the final as he took three of the first four frames to lead 3-1, before Teasdale responded by taking the match to a decider.
It would though be Coton who would prevail, to make it three different winners in the classification group since its restructure earlier this year.
In Group 4 there was a record tenth title for Daniel Blunn after the 28-year-old defeated Andy Johnson 3-0 to maintain his dominance in the category.
Having progressed from his group for the loss of just a single frame, Blunn then saw off Nigel Brasier and David Church to reach the final, while Johnson defeated Ben Rawson and former professional star Dean Reynolds to join him there.
Despite a close second frame, it would be Blunn who would run out a comfortable 3-0 winner in what was a repeat of the 2018 Welsh Open final to make it a perfect 10 on tour.
There was an all-new final in Group 5 as David Langridge defeated debutant Dean Simmons 3-1 to win his maiden WDBS title.
Langridge, who himself made his debut at this event 12 months ago, enjoyed a strong weekend overall as he progressed from the group stage without the loss of a frame, before again overcoming Simmons in the final to claim victory.
Learning disabilities (Groups 6A-6B)
Mohammed Faisal Butt made it four victories in a row in Group 6A after he defeated Mike Busst 3-1 in the final.
The pair, who have now met in four of the past five WDBS finals in this category, progressed to the semi-finals and defeated Warren Ealy and Liam Crook respectively to set up another title match.
The opening frame was won convincingly by Busst, before Butt rebounded by taking the next three to claim another title in the category.
There was also a fourth WDBS title in Group 6B for Leroy Williams after he defeated Peter Geronimo 4-1 in the final.
The pair saw off Kieran Richards-Witham and Matthew Haslam in the semi-finals, before Williams came out on top to secure his third title of the calendar year.
Sensory disabilities (Groups 7-8)
There were familiar winners in the two sensory competitions in Northampton after Nick Neale and Shabir Ahmed added further titles to their respective honours lists.
In Group 7 it was Neale who defeated Ronnie Allen 4-1 in a repeat of last month’s Welsh Open final to claim his eighth WDBS title for players with visual impairments.
Ahmed meanwhile saw off a familiar final opponent in the shape of Lewis Knowles with a 3-1 win to also claim his eighth Group 8 crown and second in the space of a month following his success at the Disability Tour Championship held at the Crucible Theatre in August.
In the Challenge Cup there was a maiden WDBS victory for Steve Cartwright, who edged out Blake Munton in a single-frame final.
The next event on the 360Fizz WDBS Tour will be the Parris Cues Champion of Champions, to be held at the South West Snooker Academy from 12-13 October 2019.