Category: Welsh Open

New WDBS Dates Announced For 2020/21 Season

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) is today pleased to announce four new event dates for the upcoming 360Fizz WDBS Tour 2020/21 season.

As we prepare to celebrate our fifth anniversary this summer, we have moved quickly to confirm a number of regular venues that have supported WDBS over a number of years.

In doing so, we have also taken the opportunity to carry out a full review of the previous calendar to provide a better spread of tournaments throughout the year for each classification group.

Confirmed dates

The new calendar will see players from each of the main eight classification groups guaranteed at least three UK tournaments.

The first confirmed event will be the Welsh Open, which is set to return to Redz Snooker Club in Cwmbran for a fourth staging, on the later date of 4-6 September 2020. Once again, the event will be open to players from all classification groups and be played under the 6-Red format of the game.

Also set to return for a fourth staging is the Derby Open, which will be held at the Cueball Derby in a new calendar slot of 23-25 October. Significantly, for the first time this event will be open to players from Groups 1-5 as a new venue for those with physical disabilities.

Please note that this does not affect the upcoming Groups 7-8 tournament in Derby which will be held from 15-17 May as the final event of the current season.

As has been the case since 2016, the final event of the calendar year will be the Hull Open, which will return to the Tradewell Snooker Club for a fifth time from 13-15 November and be open to players from Groups 6-8.

Finally, we can also confirm the return of the three-day UK Disability Snooker Championship, which will again be held at Barratts in Northampton and be open to players from all classification groups. However, to provide better balance to the calendar the event will move to a new slot from 26-28 March 2021.

Champion of Champions

In addition to the dates announced above, we can also confirm that the Parris Cues Champion of Champions will return next season at a new venue to be confirmed.

For the first-time, this will be staged as the season-finale in May 2021, with the best players on the tour during the previous two seasons qualifying for the prestigious event.

Overseas Events

As part of our wider ambitions to return snooker to the Paralympic Games for the first time since 1988 we are also committed to developing new opportunities for disability snooker outside of the UK.

In addition to the Belgian Open, which we also anticipate will return early in 2021, we are also currently looking at opportunities to stage further overseas events next season, with talks currently ongoing in respect of a planned event in Poland this summer.

Further information regarding additional tournaments will be released in due course.

2020/21 Provisional Dates So Far:

4-6 September 2020

Welsh Open (G1-8) – Redz Snooker Club, Cwmbran

23-25 October 2020

Derby Open (G1-5) – Cueball Derby, Derby

13-15 November 2020

Hull Open (G6-8) – Tradewell Snooker Club, Hull

26-28 March 2021

UK Disability Snooker Championship (G1-8) – Barratts, Northampton

All dates are provisional and subject to change.

WDBS and Redz Agree Long-Term Partnership

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) is today delighted to announce a new five-year agreement with Redz Snooker Club for the ongoing staging of the its popular Welsh Open event.

The tournament in Cwmbran was recently held for the third time as visually impaired champion Nick Neale emerged victorious from a field of 53 players. Open to players from all WDBS classification groups, the event has previously been won by ambulant player Daniel Blunn and wheelchair king Daniel Lee.

Since the first WDBS event at the venue in 2017, the club has been proactive in enhancing its facilities during that time, with the addition of modern lighting blocks on several tables and, more recently, an alteration to its toilet facilities to ensure these are accessible to wheelchair users.

The latter improvements commanded a significant investment from the club and in recognition of this and the new long-term partnership announced today, the WDBS board has agreed to make a contribution towards these costs.  These club facility upgrades significantly improve the tournament experience for players and also provide a long-term cost benefit due to no longer requiring the hire of accessible portaloos for the event.

Nigel Mawer, WDBS Chairman said: “The extension of one of our most long-standing and popular events is extremely positive news for WDBS and most importantly our players for whom this event has become a regular fixture on the calendar.

“As well as staging competitive tournaments for our players, equally our goal is to help to improve playing facilities for people with disabilities and this is a fantastic example of how we are able to achieve this.

“I would like to thank both Will, Jason and their team at Redz for their hospitality over the past three years and I look forward to many more successful WDBS events to come in Cwmbran.”

Will Edwards, Owner of Redz Snooker Club said: “We were motivated to making the accessibility changes in part due to hosting WDBS events, but also to help regular club members such as Craig Welsh who is a wheelchair user.

“The tournaments have opened our eyes to the needs of wheelchairs users and other players with disabilities.  We have recognised that we need to offer spaces where these players feel comfortable, as opposed to having to leave the premises.”

Jason Coughlin, Manager at Redz Snooker Club said: “We have had a good response to the new accessibility.  Even before our recent WDBS event, we held a World Billiards tournament which was attended by wheelchair user supporting the competition.  He was very impressed with the accessibility.

“It has been an enjoyable experience for us to host WDBS events.  We see smiles on the faces of the players.  It’s a family and we’re pleased to be part of that.  In our third year, it’s nice to recognise returning players and supporters and we are pleased that this will continue over the next five years.”

Read more about this season’s Welsh Open staged last month HERE.

Seventh Wonder for Neale in Cwmbran

Nick Neale was in seventh heaven as he defeated Ronnie Allen 3-0 to claim the prestigious Welsh Open 2019 title at Redz Snooker Club in Cwmbran last weekend; the second stop on the 2019/20 360Fizz World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) circuit.

Over 50 players representing several different disability groups and profiles featured in the third edition of this annual 6-Red extravaganza. Due to the unique and unpredictable nature of the competition, several intriguing stories developed throughout the weekend in South Wales.

There was no such drama for Birmingham cueist Neale early on, though, as he qualified top of his five-player group despite losing his final fixture to Tony Davies. Seeded through to the last 16 of the knockout phase, he ended the hopes of host nation debutant Nicholas Sutton, 3-0.

Relentless Neale continued his quest for title number seven by defeating David Weller and Lee Finbow, both 3-0, in the quarter and semi-finals respectively. Finbow had enjoyed a particularly impressive weekend after eliminating the all-time WDBS title record holder and 2017 Welsh Open champion Daniel Blunn in the last eight, resulting in him being the best performing deaf competitor.

Home Hero Allen

A familiar face awaited Neale in the final as he crossed cues with fellow Group 7B (visually impaired) cueist Ronnie Allen, who was proudly flying the flag in his home event.

Allen, the chairman of Welsh Snooker, overcame the odds on more than one occasion with a terrific run of results. After not dropping a single frame in his group, he upstaged Shabir Ahmed, Lewis Knowles and David Church – all former WDBS main event winners – consecutively in the knockouts.

Reaching his third career main event final on the circuit, the Welshman was poised to upset the applecart and take the opening frame as he led by 15 points with no reds left. However, Neale subsequently cleared the colours for a cool 27 clearance to snatch the frame on the black.

Again, Allen was keen in frame two, leading with just five colours remaining before Neale overtook him once more and doubled his lead on the pink. Perhaps buoyed by these close finishes, Neale sealed the third frame far more comfortably to confirm a 3-0 success.

This latest triumph, arguably one of his most significant on the WDBS scene given that the event is open to all groups, further extends Neale’s already staggering sequence of results over the past 12 months. The 46-year-old has now won the last five tournaments he has played in, and all seven of his career wins have come within the last two years. In fact, the only occasions that he didn’t take home the gold medal during that period came in the previous two stagings here where he lost in the quarter-finals both times.

With that record now set straight, Neale appears to be in fine form as he heads to the Crucible Theatre later this month as part of the special WDBS session to be held during the ROKiT World Seniors Championship on 18 August.

Following last year’s all-wheelchair final, players from seven groups made up the last 16 line-up in Cwmbran, this included Welsh newcomers Ashley Galliers and the aforementioned Sutton, who both finished top of their groups on Saturday.

Doubles Glory for Deaf Duo

As per tradition at this tournament, Sunday’s Challenge Cup – involving those who did not qualify for the knockout phase of the main – was a randomly drawn mixed classification doubles competition.

In an exciting climax, Group 8 pairing of Tony Davies and Gary Hunter ousted the team of Blake Munton and wheelchair player Chris Brown 2-1 in the final, on the last black.

Welsh Open 2019: Tournament Preview

The 2019/20 360Fizz World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) season continues this weekend with the all-groups Welsh Open event from Redz Snooker Club in Cwmbran.

Previously staged in 2017 and 2018, the Welsh Open adopts a different format to regular WDBS events with players from all eight disability classification groups drawn in a single mixed tournament. Add the fact that matches will be played under the 6-Red format of the game and impressive field of 54 players, we are set for an unpredictable weekend in Cwmbran

Despite that, the last two years have seen the tournament captured by regular winners on the WDBS circuit, firstly our now nine-time champion Daniel Blunn, before wheelchair king Daniel Lee picked up the baton last year in a remarkable tournament which saw seven of the eight classification groups represented at the quarter-final stage.

Open Day

Before the competitive action gets underway at the weekend, on Friday we host our latest Open Day where people with any disabilities are encouraged to come and try snooker. With a mixture of coaching drills and fun games on offer to suit individual needs at the WDBS Coaching Zone, we look forward to welcoming both individuals and groups to the day.

Main competition

The main tournament gets underway from 10:00am on Saturday morning with 54 players competing across 11 groups, the top two from each progressing to the knockout rounds.

As ever, it is a strong field with no fewer than 15 former main event champions set to battle it out to succeed Daniel Lee as champion. Among those who will be favoured to do so will of course include Daniel Blunn, winner of the event in 2017, as well as Group 7 king Nick Neale who has exited at the quarter-finals stage of this event during each of the past two years, but is otherwise undefeated on the Tour since May 2017.

Another serial winner looking to claim his first all-groups title will be Shabir Ahmed, who recently made a break of 114 during a practice match, while last year’s runner-up Aslam Abubaker will be looking to go one better, having already made a winning start to the season by claiming victory in Hull at last month’s Humber Classic.

As well as former champions the event will also welcome several other familiar faces, who will be joined by four players who will be competing at a WDBS event for the first time.

Throughout the three-day event you can view images and keep up-to-date with all the stories via our social media channels. For live scores, results, upcoming matches and latest standings please visit the World Disability Snooker and Billiards profile page on snookerscores.net.