Disability Snooker Champions Crowned at Barratts

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The 2023 UK Disability Snooker Championship, sponsored by The Cube Disability, was successfully held at Barratts, Northampton last weekend with eight ranking event winners honoured.

The long-standing event saw a strong field of 80 players return to the popular venue – home to leading professional player Kyren Wilson – to contest eight main classification tournaments, in addition to a Challenge Cup tournament for players who did not qualify for the final stages.

As always, the tournament also included a Friday Open Day session with support provided by WPBSA Snooker Coach Steve Rutter, which notably welcomed a group from the MND Association, organised by Group 4 player Nigel Brasier.

Aslam Abubaker and Gary Swith with medals smiling

Groups 1-2

The Group 1-2 competition for wheelchair users saw its largest entry for four years as India’s Mahomed Abubaker defeated England’s Gary Swift to claim his first title since his triumph at the 2019 Champion of Champions.

The pair each progressed from their four player round robin groups in second place, before Abubaker edged out Toru newcomer Dave Beaumont 2-1 and Swift downed top ranked Tony Southern 2-0 in their semi-finals to reach the title match.

The final would prove to be a high-quality match – with Abubaker notably recording a tournament high break of 42 in the opening frame – that would go the distance following a series of close frames.

Ultimately it would be Abubaker who would prevail 66-42 to claim his fourth career WDBS title and deny Swift his second.

Adam Wilk and Stuart Barker smiling with medal

Group 3

Poland’s Adam Wilk completed the successful defence of his UK title following a 3-1 victory against Daniel Kelly of Ireland in the Group 3 final for players with upper body disabilities.

The pair finished as the top two players in their group stage before seeing off top two ranked players Kal Mattu and Joe Hardstaff respectively to reach the final.

Wilk, champion at Barratts in 2022, looked set for a comfortable victory as he led 2-0 with his opponent requiring a snooker, only for Kelly to force the error and claim the third frame to keep himself in the match. It would, however, be Wilk who would claim a tense fourth frame to seal an emotional victory and his second career WDBS title.

Daniel Blunn with officials Zoe Rodkoff and Josh Tunnicliffe

Group 4

England’s Daniel Blunn claimed a dramatic late night 3-2 victory against compatriot David Church in the Group 4 final to claim a record-extending 16th WDBS title in Northampton.

Having topped his round robin group, Blunn saw off Nigel Brasier and former professional world number eight Dean Reynolds without the loss of a frame to reach his latest ranking final.

Awaiting him would be David Church, who avenged his Hull Open loss to Steve Cartwright in the last 16 before getting the better of friend and rival William Thomson in the semi-finals to set up the title match.

Church, looking to win his first title since the 2018 Champion of Champions, recovered from the loss of the opening frame to stand on the brink of victory at 2-1 up, but it would be Blunn who would win the final two frames to earn his third UK title and maintain his unbeaten run in the event since 2019.

The highest break of the group was a run of 40 made by top ranked William Thomson.

Dave Bolton plays snooker shot

Group 5

There was a debut win for England’s Dave Bolton in Group 5, after he ended the winning run of Dalton Lawrence with a 3-1 victory in the group final.

The duo both emerged from Group A before securing victories against reigning Champion of Champions Dean Simmons and Hull Open winner Gerdy Dupont respectively to set up an intriguing medal match.

Having shared the opening frames, it would be Bolton – who also made the group high break of 34 during the group phase – who would secure the final two frames needed for victory as he became the fifth different winner of a Group 5 tournament in 2023.

Alan Reynolds and Stuart Barker with certificate

Group 6

Group 6A saw a dramatic 3-2 victory for top ranked Alan Reynolds against Irish prodigy Oscar Ellison Gibons which was decided on the final black at Barratts.

Ellison-Gibbons, who at just 13-years-old claimed his first ranking title on home soil in July, came back from 2-0 down to force a nerve-wracking deciding frame, but it was Scotland’s Reynolds who would pot pink and black to secure an impressive sixth title from eight appearances since his debut in 2021 and his first UK crown.

Leroy Williams with wife and baby

In Group 6B meanwhile, it was Leroy Williams who would secure an 11th WDBS title after he also survived a deciding-frame against friend James Hart to cement his position at the top of the rankings.

Williams scored wins against Daniel Tennant and Peter Geronimo (who compiled the highest break of the competition with a run of 42) to reach the group final, before coming back from 2-1 down to claim his second UK victory.

Dylan Rees and Nigel Mawer

Group 7

Ireland’s Dylan Rees won the UK Disability Championship for a second time following a comeback 3-2 success against compatriot Colvin O’Brien in Northampton.

A repeat of their recent encounter at the Irish Open back in July, the finale would have the same result as Rees extended his unbeaten streak in WDBS ranking events to six, with his only defeat having come in the 6-Red mixed classification Welsh Open in 2022.

O’Brien did, however, compile the highest break of the group following a run of 67 during the semi-finals.

Group of players

Group 8

In Group 8 it was Belgium’s Kristof De Bruyn who would defeat Dainton Barrass 3-2 to win his second WDBS title and first on UK soil.

The 47-year-old defeated Gary Taylor and top ranked Shabir Ahmed to reach the title match, while Welsh youngster Barrass overcame Tony Davies and Lewis Knowles to reach his first ranking event final.

Having claimed a 3-1 lead, it was Barrass who looked set to break his title duck in Northampton, only for former Belgian Open champion De Bruyn to turn the tables and win the last two frames to take the gold medal.

The highest break of the group was set by England’s Lewis Knowles, who made 76, the highest break of the weekend across all eight groups.

Stuart Barker with David Grant

Challenge Cup

In the Challenge Cup event for players who did not qualify for the knockout rounds, it was Scotland’s David Grant who would claim his second Challenge title of 2023 following a 2-0 success against fellow Group 8 player Blake Munton.

The WDBS Tour will return with the German Open from 27-29 October 2023, with entry for the event now open via WPBSA SnookerScores.