The recent Paul Hunter Disability Classic at the Cueball Derby saw its strongest field yet for players with visual and hearing disabilities, including Pontypridd’s Phillip Murphy who was competing at a WDBS event for the first time.
With our next tournament set to be held in Cwmbran, Wales later this month, we caught up with Phillip to reflect upon his WDBS debut and what he would say to anybody thinking about entering future events…
Phillip, we recently met you for the first time at the Paul Hunter Disability Classic in Derby, how did you find your first WDBS event experience?
I found my first WDBS experience a little nerve-racking, but at the same time I was excited as this was my first time and I was unsure what to expect on the way up from Wales!
How impressed were you by the standard of the players that you saw during the weekend?
I was absolutely impressed by the standards of the classification groups and I saw some fantastic snooker matches while I was in Derby.
It was great to learn more about some of the disabilities that some of the players have and to see that they could play equally as well as able-bodied players, both those with visual and hearing disabilities. It is unbelievable.
How did you become a snooker fan, how long have you been playing?
My first love is football but snooker is not far behind!
I used to play a lot of pool and once at the club while I was waiting for my match to start I had a game of snooker and was instantly hooked. I joined my local club and started to play in a league with my team.
That was four years ago now and I have been playing snooker ever since.
Tell us about your disability, how does this affect your snooker?
The condition I have is called retinitis pigmentosa (usher syndrome) night blindness, which is a slow degenerative condition which affects my peripheral vision and the ability to see in dark areas.
The biggest issue I have with it affecting my game is that when I am concentrating on the cue ball I get black ‘floaters’ on the cue ball. This means that I need to get back up from the shot and wait for a minute, before I can go back down and then I am usually ok.
Also if the lightning on a table isn’t good I can’t play on that table at all, which has happened a few times with my local league team where light has been poor and I have been unable to play.
Plus I tend to look around prior to every shot being taken to make sure no one is behind me so I don’t hit anyone or anything.
Next up we head to Cwmbran for what will be your home tournament, the WDBS Welsh Open. What have you learned from your first event and how much are you looking forward to it?
Yes I am looking forward to the Welsh Open at Cwmbran Redz which is practically on my doorstep!
I have learned from my first event not to be so nervous. I did find that I put a lot of pressure on myself throughout the whole tournament in Derby and that is a massive lesson I’ve learned. It won’t be happening this time around.
It’s ok to be nervous though, I will probably still be. Even the professionals get nervous before an event.
I am also looking forward to meeting and playing other players as this event is open to all classification groups. It will be fascinating to see and play against these players.
What message would you have for anyone out there considering entering a WDBS event for the first time?
My message to others who are thinking of entering a WDBS event is to enter and come along and enjoy the free coaching which helped me massively in my game at my first event. I have taken that advice on board since and this has helped me to play better at my local club.
It’s ok to be nervous as I explained previously even I was nervous. You’ll be looked after by everyone involved in the WDBS events so come and enjoy a game of snooker and make friends.
It’s that simple: Enter, play snooker and make friends!
The entry deadline for the WDBS Welsh Open is 23 June 2017, download the entry form now and join Phillip and the rest of the field in Cwmbran.