World Disability Billiards and Snooker crowned its first champions in over 18 months as the body enjoyed a successful return to competition at the Hazel Grove Snooker Club in Stockport last weekend.
The first event staged since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the Stockport Open saw six tournaments held in all, alongside a Friday Open day at which people from local disability organisations and other guests enjoyed coaching from WPBSA Snooker Coaches.
In the combined Groups 2+3 tournament there was a fourth career WDBS victory for Tony Southern, who defeated 2019 champion John Teasdale 3-0 in a deceptively close final to clinch gold.
Previously a winner of the Belgian Open and UK Championship, Southern did not drop a frame during his five matches over the weekend as he made it back to back titles on the circuit for the first time following success in Bruges last March.
There were also familiar winners in the Group 4 and 5 competitions as Daniel Blunn and Mickey Chambers claimed gold respectively.
For Blunn, a record-extending 12th WDBS success and his second in Hazel Grove, as he defeated David Church 3-1 to win the Group 4 tournament. He lost just two frames during the tournament, while opponent Church had the consolation of having equalled his personal highest WDBS break of 52, previously made three years ago in Northampton.
Chambers meanwhile maintained his incredible unbeaten run in Group 5 by claiming his seventh WDBS title following a 3-0 success over Dean Simmons. Since his 2018 debut at his home tournament in Preston, Chambers is yet to taste defeat on the regular WDBS circuit, losing only to Blunn at the invitational Tour Championship at the Crucible Theatre in 2019.
Among the weekend’s repeat winners, there was a new champion crowned in Group 6A as Scotland’s Alan Reynolds claimed gold on debut following a 3-1 win over defending champion Mohammed Faisal Butt.
Paired within the same round robin group, it was Butt who in fact won their initial meeting on Saturday as both progressed to the semi-finals, but Dunfermline’s Reynolds would gain swift revenge the following day on his way to the title.
In Group 6B there was a special victory for Leroy Williams who defeated first-time finalist Matthew Haslam 3-1 to claim his seventh title and his first since becoming a father just five months ago.
Williams, who was also defending his title first won in 2020, made the highest overall break of the weekend with a run of 61 – his new personal best on the WDBS Tour to date.
Finally, there was victory for Peter Geronimo in the Challenge Cup tournament for players who had not made it through the Sunday’s knockout rounds, as he defeated Steve Cartwright 2-1 to claim his third WDBS gold medal.
Everyone at WDBS would like to extend its thanks to everyone who helped to make the weekend a success and in particular acknowledge the gratitude of Dino Georgiou and his team at the wonderful Hazel Grove Snooker Club, without whom the event would not have been possible.
The next WDBS competition will take place next month as the Hull Open (Groups 7-8) returns to the Tradewell Snooker Club in Hull from 12-14 November – enter now!