Selby Mencap Welcomed at Hull Open

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World Disability Billiards and Snooker welcomed members from the Selby Gateway Leisure Mencap Society to its latest open day at this month’s Hull Open.

Led by Martin Waterhouse, who is a trustee and volunteer support worker of Selby District Mencap, the attendees were given the opportunity to practice snooker and receive coaching from WPBSA World Snooker coaches including Bob Hill, Tim Squires and Mark Parsons.

Picture of Martin Waterhouse playing snooker

Martin Waterhouse

“We did not know what to expect but it’s great to see disabled people being supported in the way that they have been in a setting like this,” said Martin. “I wish that there were more events similar so that people can get more involved in it.”

In particular, Martin was impressed by the coaching provided by Mark Parsons, who recently completed the WPBSA World Snooker Level 1 Community Coaching course and competes in WDBS events as a Group 2 wheelchair player.

“The actual coaching is fantastic,” said Martin. “The trainers and coaches are there to provide support and they are really on the ball.

“The one guy that stood out for me was Mark Parsons from Bristol. As a wheelchair user, the coaching that he provided was as good as any of the other coaches and I think that is a big positive message there.”

Photo of Selby players with Bob Hill

Team photo with WDBS coach Bob Hill

Waterhouse echoed the thoughts of WDBS director Bob Hill, who earlier this year told that he felt that snooker is an ideal sport for people with learning disabilities.

“Snooker as a sport is great for these guys because they don’t have to think a lot other than just potting balls,” added Martin. “It doesn’t really matter if they are any good at it – just potting one ball is a success. It’s a knock on effect of the better you get, the better it is. But I know from our experiences in Selby that just potting one ball in ten shots is fantastic for them so bring on the next event!”

Each of the players who attended from the group was presented with a WDBS polo shirt and visited York earlier this week for the start of the 2016 Betway UK Championship from the Barbican Centre.

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