History Made at WDBS British Open

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The British Open witnessed a moment of history as Ireland’s Colvin O’Brien became the first player to compile a century break on the World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) Tour at the Woking Snooker Centre.

The break was the standout moment from the second staging of the British Open which saw an impressive 79 entries received from eight classification groups. Seven ranking event tournaments were staged, in addition to a Challenge Cup for players who did not qualify for the final stages.

The event also included a Friday Open Day supported by WPBSA Snooker Coaches Steve Rutter and Colin Matty, while the event was also notably attended by WPBSA Group Chairman Jason Ferguson, who met with players and officials on Saturday.

Smiling man in wheelchair

Groups 1-2

Shahab Siddiqui emerged from the largest field in over three years (2019 UK Championship) to claim his third WDBS title in the Groups 1-2 competition.

From Ruislip, the reigning Champion of Champions Siddiqui overcame Mahomed Abubaker 3-1 in a closely fought title match to earn his second ranking event title and climb to second position in the latest rankings.

The pair each progressed from Group B – with Abubaker winning their round robin match with a top break of 41 – to earn semi-final matches against Dave Beaumont and top ranked Tony Southern respectively.

Both last four clashes would require all five frames, ahead of what would prove to be a dramatic final which saw each of the first three frames decided on the last black, before Siddiqui claimed a more comfortable fourth to earn the gold medal.

The highest break prize of the group was 41, shared by both Abubaker and Beaumont.

Man holding up five fingers

Group 3

There was a comeback victory for Nigel Coton in Group 3 who defeated top ranked Kal Mattu 3-0 to earn a fifth career WDBS title dating back to his debut back in 2016.

The 61-year-old was making his return to the tour for the first time since May 2023 following an injury enforced layoff and topped the round robin group stage before earning a 3-0 whitewash against Joe Hardstaff to secure his place in the final.

Awaiting him was Kal Mattu, who himself had triumphed against Kit Kennedy in the last four, but Coton was not to be denied as he secured an emotional title, given that just months earlier he was unsure whether he would play snooker again due to injury.

The result will see Coton climb two places to third in the updated rankings.

Two men smiling

Group 4

England’s Carl Gibson defeated David Church 3-0 to claim his third career WDBS ranking title and first at the British Open in Woking.

From Hull, Gibson progressed from a closely contested round robin stage with two wins from three matches played, but from there would not drop another frame as he dispatched Daniel Johnson, Andy Johnson and finally Church in a repeat of their final at the recent World Abilitysport Games, to claim another gold medal on Tour.

Gibson also compiled the highest break of the tournament with a run of 73 during the group stages.

Two men smiling shaking hands

Group 5

Dave Bolton maintained his unbeaten start on the WDBS Tour as he saw off Gerdy Dupont 3-1 to win his third consecutive ranking event.

Previously a winner in Northampton and Germany, Bolton again progressed from his round robin group before he ended the run of first-time semi-finalist Robert Marriott at the semi-final stages.

Up against Dupont of Belgium in the final, it was to prove a high-quality final which included the top three breaks of the tournament. Despite an impressive break of 58 from reigning Hull Open champion Dupont in the second frame, it was to be Bolton who would go one better with runs of 59, 38 and 32 on his way to securing a third Group 5 triumph.

Two men smiling shaking hands

Group 6

Scotland’s Alan Reynolds maintained his stranglehold over Group 6A following a hard fought 3-2 victory against main rival Mohamed Faisal Butt in the British Open final.

Despite a round robin defeat to England’s Mike Busst, Reynolds survived to progress to the knockout rounds where he saw off Alan Archer, before earning revenge against Busst in the semi-finals to earn his place in the title match.

Awaiting him was Butt, who did not drop a frame on his way to the final and was looking to repeat his victory against Reynolds in the final of the same event 12 months ago.

This time it was to be Reynolds who would come out on top, however, emerging from a final frame decider to claim a record-equalling seventh Group 6A title, an honour now shared with Butt.

The highest break of the group was a run of 39 made by Butt at the quarter-finals stage.

Two men hugging
In Group 6B there was to be a new winner crowned as seven years on from his WDBS debut, James Hart toppled top ranked Leroy Williams 3-1 in the final to claim his maiden WDBS title.

Having topped his round robin group, Hart defeated Peter Geronimo and then debutant Ryan Pinnington – coming back from 0-2 down to win 3-2 – to book his place in the British Open final for a second successive year.

Up against friend and rival Leroy Williams in the title match, the opening frames were to be shared with Williams notably compiling a break of 78 – the highest ever by a Group 6B player on the circuit – to draw level at 1-1.

Ultimately it was to be Hart’s day, however, as he edged back in front by taking frame three, before emerging from a dramatic final frame which saw Williams come back from needing three snookers to win at one stage, before Hart eventually got over the line.

Two men smiling

Group 7-8

Lewis Knowles completed the successful defence of his Group 8 title at the British Open following a 3-1 victory against Belgium’s Kristof De Bruyn in Woking.

The 45-year-old progressed to the final without the loss of a frame following victories against Richard Gott and Daniel Booth, before he recovered from dropping the opener against two-time WDBS champion De Bruyn to complete his title defence.

The victory represents not only a fourth ranking title for Knowles – as well as his two wins at the Champion of Champions – but will now also see him climb to places to number 1 in Group 8 for the first time in his career, overtaking Gary L Taylor following the event.

The highest break made was a sensational century of 100 by Ireland’s Colvin O’Brien – who is blind in his left eye – during the group stages, the first-ever ton to be compiled at a WDBS event.

Blake Munton and Stuart Barker smile holding certificate

Challenge Cup

In the Challenge Cup event for players who did not qualify for the knockout rounds, it was Blake Munton who defeated Matthew Haslam 2-0 to earn his second Challenge title following his win at the Hull Open back in 2022.

The WDBS Tour will return with the Belgian Open from 15-17 March 2024, with entry for the event now open via WPBSA SnookerScores.