The inaugural edition of the WDBS German Open saw six winners honoured at the 1. SC Breakers Rüsselsheim venue in Germany last weekend.
The landmark event saw an impressive 28 players travel to compete in the mainland Europe across five main classification tournaments, as well as a Challenge Cup tournament for players who did not qualify for the final stages.
Prior to the start of the competitive action, the event also included a Friday Open Day session with support provided by WPBSA Snooker Coaches Steve Rutter and Diana Schuler.
There was a new champion in Group 3 as Germany’s Hannes Hermsdorff captured his maiden WDBS title on home soil following a 3-0 success against top ranked Kal Mattu.
The pair were joined by Joe Hardstaff and Kit Kennedy in coming through a five-player round robin group stage, with only German debutant Cezar Pereira Vaz failing to reach the semi-finals.
It would prove to be a dominant weekend for Hermsdorff who defeated Kennedy 3-0 in the semi-finals, before dispatching Mattu in the title match to complete a clean sweep of 14 consecutive frames won during the tournament.
The 30-year-old top scored with a break of 33 in the final, eclipising the run of 30 by Mattu to claim the group high break prize.
England’s David Church defeated William Thomson 3-1 to claim a long-awaited second ranking event victory in the Group 4 competition.
The pair were contesting their fourth final in total – with Scotland’s Thomson having won each of their three previous medal encounters since 2022 – but this time it was to be Church’s day after he recovered from losing his first two matches of the weekend against Andy Johnson and Thomson, to reverse both defeats in the knockout rounds and take home the gold medal.
The success for Church also ends a run of eight consecutive defeats in finals, as he adds to victories at the 2017 Open Disability Snooker Championship and 2018 Champion of Champions tournaments.
There was some consolation for Thomson, however, as he claimed the group high break with a run of 54 in his deciding-frame semi-final victory against Nigel Brasier.
Dave Bolton made it two wins from two in Group 5 after he repeated his UK Championship victory against Dalton Lawrence with a 4-1 success in Germany.
Having seen off Gerdy Dupont and Dean Simmons from their four-player group – a result that ensured that long-term number one Mickey Chambers will retain the top ranking through to the end of the year – the pair would clash in a best of seven final.
It was Lawrence who claimed the opener as he looked to complete a European hat-trick in 2023 following titles in Belgium and Ireland, but Bolton would hit back to win four frames on the spin – including a high break of 35 – to claim back-to-back titles following his success in Northampton last month.
Rising star Matthew Haslam defeated Peter Geronimo 3-1 to win his third WDBS title of 2023 and close the gap to top ranked Leroy Williams in the Group 6B rankings.
With Groups 6A and 6B merged for the weekend due to entry numbers, the pair progressed through a five-player round robin group, before seeing off Mohamed Faisal Butt and Oliver Hanson respectively to reach the group final.
Celebrating his 19th birthday on final day, it was Haslam who saved his best snooker for when it mattered as he scored breaks of 77 – equalling the all-time Group 7 high break set by Dan Harwood five years ago – and a match-clinching 47 to slay Geronimo and earn his first title outside of the UK.
The final competition saw both sensory classification groups merged due to entry numbers as the top stars of Groups 7 and 8 collided in Germany.
Following a dramatic weekend of action it would be Group 8 star Lewis Knowles who would claim the title, after he came back from 0-2 down to overcome Group 7 number one Mike Gillespie 3-2 in the final.
With top ranked Shabir Ahmed and two-time WDBS champion Gary L Taylor falling at the quarter-final stage on Saturday evening, it was Knowles who held his nerve with final day wins against Blake Munton and Gillespie to claim his third career ranking title and sixth WDBS triumph in all.
The highest break of the group was a run of 40 by Ahmed in the group stages.
In the Challenge Cup event for players who did not qualify for the knockout rounds, it was Gary L Taylor who saw off Daniel Johnson, Dean Simmons and Gerdy Dupont to claim the final medal of the weekend.
WDBS would like to thank everyone who supported this first ranking event in Germany, in particular Michael Heeger from 1. SC Breakers Rüsselsheim, as well as the players, referees and officials without whom the weekend would not have been possible.
The WDBS Tour will return with the British Open from 12-14 January 2024, with entry for the event now open via WPBSA SnookerScores.