Category: Welsh Open

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.