The new 2019/20 360Fizz World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) season bursts into action later this week with the Humber Classic 2019 taking place at the Tradewell Snooker Club in Hull.
Throughout the campaign the WDBS circuit will visit venues across the country and beyond with several events staged for all eight disability classifications. Breaking off proceedings, a total of 44 players are scheduled to compete across six different categories (Groups 1-6) during the weekend’s curtain-raising event. Tradewell will once again host a WDBS stop, but for the first time at the venue wheelchair and ambulant players will be involved there.
Before the competitive action gets underway at the weekend, on Friday we host our latest Open Day where all-comers with disabilities and their carers are encouraged to visit us at the venue to learn about and see what the WDBS has to offer.
Players – regardless of experience – can take part in a mix of technical coaching and fun activities that are provided by a team of WPBSA World Snooker coaches in our dedicated Coaching Zone. We look forward to welcoming both individuals and groups to the day.
Groups 1 & 2
A four-player field will assemble for the wheelchair competition in Hull, headlined by Aslam Abubaker and Tony Southern, both of whom collected their maiden WDBS titles last season at the Open Disability Championship and Belgian Open respectively. They will be joined by Scotland’s Gavin Gormley and Gary Nicholson who will be hoping to reach their first final.
Following February’s Northern Classic in Stockport, for the second time players with severe upper body impairments or amputations will exclusively contest the Group 3 category that looks very hard to predict.
Back at the Hazel Grove a few months ago John Teasdale and Joe Hardstaff reached their maiden main event finals where Hardstaff took a 2-0 lead before Teasdale recovered to win 3-2. Both players are due to be present in East Yorkshire this weekend. 2016 Open Disability Champion Nigel Coton is the other name in this group with a major WDBS accolade, whilst fellow tour stalwart Kal Mattu also embarks on another season.
The party will welcome back Andy Lam, who will make the long journey over from Hong Kong. This will be Lam’s second appearance on the circuit after he impressed at the Barratts Club in Northampton during last Autumn’s Open Disability Snooker Championship.
Several WDBS gold medal winners are present in a tasty looking Group 4 tournament that consists of 16 entries.
Currently the most decorated player in WDBS history, eight-time champion Daniel Blunn will be looking to add another title to his collection and prepare for his debut at the Crucible Theatre later this summer. However, Blunn will face stiff opposition as the ongoing battle for supremacy within the group is set to intensify throughout the year.
Arguably Blunn’s biggest rival is Scotland’s William Thomson who is fresh from playing at World Snooker’s Q-School in Wigan a few weeks ago. Thomson is a three-time winner on the tour himself – having defeated Blunn in all three finals – although Blunn ended that sequence at the Champion of Champions last October. Former winners on the scene David Church, Andy Johnson and David Weller are other candidates likely to be involved come the business end in Hull, while Peter Yelland made the final in Stockport during his last WDBS outing.
A new champion is guaranteed come the conclusion of Group 5 on Sunday evening at Tradewell.
As a former main event finalist David Moore was a late replacement in the aforementioned inaugural Champion of Champions at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester, where he finished as the runner-up. Phil Woodwiss is another player knocking on the door for his maiden win, although he has previously tasted success at a Challenge Cup event earlier this year.
Moore and Woodwiss will line up alongside Maureen Rowland, Ivan Halnosky and David Langridge.
Group 6A / Group 6B
The Tradewell Snooker Club is a familiar venue for many of the circuit’s learning disabilities contingent, who will play in either group 6A (for those with an IQ under 75 and evidence of adaptive behaviour or social adaption) or group 6B (for those with an IQ over 75 and Autism Spectrum Disorder).
In 6A, Faisal Butt is going for a hat-trick of consecutive titles after completing the Northern and Southern Classic double. Before those triumphs Butt made the final of the Hull Open at this venue towards the end of last year where he lost to fellow maiden finalist Mike Busst, who is also on the eight-player entry list.
Defending champion Peter Geronimo will be aiming to retain the title he won here twelve months ago in Group 6B. In what was his first WDBS tournament, Geronimo secured the crown when he defeated Leroy Williams in the final. Williams will travel to Hull in high spirits having claimed his second gold medal during the Southern Classic at Jesters Snooker Hall in Swindon a few months ago. A victory this weekend would represent a trio of career WDBS wins for Williams, but not including Geronimo, there are four other players in this group looking to stop him.
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.