Tag: Andy Johnson

Northern Classic 2019: Tournament Preview

The opening World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) event of the new year takes place this weekend at the renowned Hazel Grove Snooker Club in Stockport, which will be hosting WDBS competition for the first time.

Consisting of five separate tournaments, the 2019 Northern Classic features players with a range of physical and learning disabilities who will contest their respective classification groups and will be sponsored by BB Scaffolding.

DSActive Day

Ahead of the competitive action the weekend will begin with a special open day which will be supported by the Down syndrome initiative DSActive.

People with all disabilities, including Down syndrome are welcomed to the club to try snooker regardless of experience and receive coaching from our team of WPBSA World Snooker coaches at the Go Green Energy Coaching Zone.

Groups 1-2

The wheelchair category continues to be one of the most exciting and competitive sections on the WDBS scene, although Daniel Lee is currently the player to beat.

Lee enjoyed a terrific 2018 campaign that saw him secure a trio of titles; the multi-classification Welsh Open, the Champion of Champions and he heads to Stockport as the defending Northern Classic champion.

He faces a difficult task holding onto his crown, though. Reigning Open Disability champion Aslam Abubaker broke his WDBS duck in Northampton last September and now he has a taste for more success.

There will also be no lack of motivation for fellow entrants Tony Southern, Glyn Lloyd and Shahab Siddiqui – all previous finalists on the circuit who are hoping to go all the way this time around.

Group 3

Following feedback received from players Group 3 will consist solely of ambulant players with one or more upper limbs either absent or severely impaired.

This means that a number of previous Group 3 winners with either full use, or moderately impaired upper limbs will be re-classified either as Group 4 or Group 5 players.

Of those who are set to contest the Group 3 tournament however is Nigel Coton, a former winner back in 2016 at the Open Disability Snooker Championship.

He will be joined by the likes of John Teasdale, Joe Hardstaff and Kal Mattu, all experienced competitors on the WDBS circuit.

Groups 4-5*

Several familiar names appear in the line-up for the Group 4/5 tournament that boasts a healthy number of entries, boosted further by those previously classified as Group 3 competitors.

Headline players include reigning champion Mickey Chambers and recent Champion of Champions winner David Church, who will resume their ongoing struggle for supremacy in the division – they have shared the last four titles between themselves.

Within the field of cueists who are seeking to break up this recent dominance are former Manchester Classic champions Andy Johnson and David Weller. They will also be joined by multiple WDBS champions Daniel Blunn and William Thomson, who met in the Group 3 final of this event a year ago.

In form David Moore will also be another player to watch. Moore benefited from being a late replacement for Gloucester a few months ago where he topped the round robin before losing to Church in the final.

A quarter-finalist on debut at Barratts in the Autumn, Marcin Kubalski will once again make the trip across from Poland to pit his wits on the WDBS tour.

Female players Danielle Findlay and Maureen Rowland also form part of a diverse jigsaw.

*Note that subject to entries, there may be individual competitions for Groups 4 and 5.

Groups 6A / 6B

For only the second time players with intellectual disabilities will have the opportunity to compete in Group 6 events across the full weekend.

Twelve months ago, in Preston, it was third time lucky for Leroy Williams in a WDBS final as he recorded his first triumph on the circuit. The defending champion is back aiming to retain his title in the 6B autistic section but faces stiff opposition from several quarters.

This includes fellow Liverpool based star Daniel Harwood, who is looking to continue his impressive streak on tour. Already a record equaling six-time WDBS winner, Harwood claimed the prestigious Champion of Champions and Hull Open titles towards the back end of 2018.

Reigning Humber Classic champion Peter Geronimo will also be making the trip up from London.

In the Group 6A learning disabilities discipline, Mike Busst will try to build on his maiden victory in Hull last November.  Among others, he will be joined by Hull finalist Faisal Butt and Alexandra Mendham, who was a semi-finalist in this event last year.

The Northern Classic runs from 8-10 February 2019 at the Hazel Grove Snooker Centre in Stockport and you can follow updates online here and at our social media pages.

Preview by Matt Huart and Michael Day.

Parris Cues Champion of Champions 2018: Tournament Information

The full match schedule for the Parris Cues Champion of Champions 2018 is now available.

As always, the latest results and group standings will be published throughout the weekend at MySnookerStats via the following links:

As previously announced, the winners of each group competition will also be invited to play at the 2019 WSF Championships in Dubai.

Read more about the event here.

Field Confirmed for Parris Cues Champion of Champions

Later this month World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) will host the Parris Cues Champion of Champions for the first time and we can today reveal the 24 players who will be competing in the event.

To be held at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester on the weekend of 20-21 October 2018, the event will comprise six tournaments with the most successful four players from each of the regular WDBS classification groups between November 2015 – May 2018 invited to participate.

Each of the tournaments will begin with a round-robin group stage, with the top two players at the end of the group to contest a title match to decide the Champion of Champions for each classification.

The players who will be competing are:

Groups 1-2

Graham Bonnell, Craig Welsh, Daniel Lee, Tony Southern

Group 3

Daniel Blunn, Nigel Coton, William Thomson, Andrew Harper

Groups 4-5

Raja Subramanian, Andy Johnson, David Church, David Weller

Group 6

Daniel Harwood, Leroy Williams, Rich Yendle, Andrew Galley

Group 7

Paul Smith, Nick Neale, Mike Gillespie, David Baker

Group 8

Shabir Ahmed, Blake Munton, Lewis Knowles, Richard Gott

As previously announced, each of the six winners will receive an invitation to compete at next year’s WSF Championships in Dubai, with the costs of their travel and hotel to be sponsored by 360Fizz.

The winners will also receive the first prize and be presented with the Nick Oliver Trophy by John Parris, of the event sponsor Parris Cues. Each group winner will also receive their own trophy to take home and keep.

The Parris Cues Champion of Champions will become an annual event on the calendar, with the top performing players from each group over a two-year period qualifying for the event.

Spectators are encouraged to attend and support the players competing in the event.

WDBS Success at Northern Classic

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) held the J&S Trading Northern Classic, its first event of 2018 in Preston, England last weekend.

Open to players from six disability groups covering a range of physical and learning disabilities, the event ran for three days at the Elite Snooker Club, owned and run by former professional players Chris Norbury and Shokat Ali.

Daniel Lee made it back-to-back titles in the Group 2 wheelchair competition with a 3-1 victory against Tony Southern in Sunday’s final. Lee, who was born with spina bifida, previously won the Open Disability Snooker Championship in Wolverhampton and avenged defeat against Southern in the round robin stages to take the gold medal home to Buckinghamshire.

In Group 3 there was also a second title for Scotland’s William Thomson, who edged out four-time winner Daniel Blunn 3-2 following a dramatic final. Thomson, who previously won the 2016 Manchester Classic, was in fine form all weekend and sealed the title with a break of 41 (his seventh over 40 during the weekend), in the deciding frame.

Coached by former world champion Graeme Dott, Thomson has also been nominated by his national federation to compete in the EBSA European Championships this week in Bulgaria and will be looking to carry his form over into that event.

There was another new winner in the Group 4-5 tournament as local debutant Michael ‘Mickey’ Chambers defeated another former WDBS champion Andy Johnson 3-0 to claim the title. Chambers, whose left foot was amputated when he was younger following treatment for meningitis, dropped just one frame throughout the competition and impressed with a break of 51 during his semi-final victory against Gareth Ward.

Friday’s Group 6 competition saw Leroy Jay Williams claim his first WDBS title with a 2-0 win against Ryan Riding. Williams, who was previously runner-up at events in Wolverhampton and Hull, ensured that it would be third time lucky by coming through the field to take victory.

Finally, the Challenge Cup event, for players who did not qualify for Sunday’s knockout rounds, was won by WDBS stalwart Kal Mattu, who edged out Craig Welsh in a best of three frames final.

Simon Berrisford, WDBS director and owner of event title sponsor J&S Trading said: “As always it has been fantastic to be see a mix of new and returning people coming together to provide an action-packed weekend of snooker in Preston. It is particularly exciting to see how competitive these events are becoming as the standard of play continues to rise, but without losing any of their magic and the special atmosphere that WDBS tournaments have.

“On behalf of WDBS I would also like to extend my thanks to Chris, Shokat and the rest of the team at the Elite Snooker Centre, who could not have been more accommodating to us all weekend. With further plans in place to improve what is already a fine example of a modern, safe snooker club, we are already looking forward to returning in the future.”

WDBS will next head to Northampton for the first Groups 6-8 event of 2018, the Parris Cues UK Open to be held at Barratts Snooker Club from 16-18 February. Open to players with learning, hearing and visual disabilities, entries remain open with more information available at www.wdbs.info.

View draws and results at MySnookerStats.

Wolverhampton winners

Wolverhampton On Cue For WDBS

The 2017 Open Disability Snooker Championship was successfully hosted last weekend in Wolverhampton by World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS).

Held at the Golden Cue Snooker Club, the event saw players with a range of physical and learning disabilities battle it out to become champions in their respective categories throughout the three-day competition.

There was a new winner in the Group 1-2 wheelchair competition as Daniel Lee defeated WDBS newcomer Aslam Abubaker 3-1 in the event final. Having come through the group stage with four wins for the loss of just a single frame, Lee then whitewashed Danny Luton 3-0 in their semi-final before coming out on top against Abubaker.

Daniel and Andrew Blunn with medal

In Group 3 Daniel Blunn defeated Clive Brunton in the final to regain the title that he first won back in 2015. Victory completed a dominant display from Sutton Coldfield’s Blunn who won all 14 of his frames during the weekend to extend his unbeaten run on the WDBS circuit which dates back to last year’s event in Gloucester.

Taking his first WDBS victory in the Group 4-5 competition was Norwich’s David Church who defeated Adam Leighton 3-0 in the title match. Previously runner-up at this year’s Manchester Classic, Church came through a nail-biting semi-final with debutant Gareth Ward in a deciding frame, before recording a comfortable win against Leighton to secure the gold medal.

There was also a new winner in Friday’s Group 6 competition for players with learning disabilities as Daniel Harwood defeated Leroy Jay Williams in a high-quality final. Finally, the Challenge Cup tournament for players not making it through to the knockout stages during the weekend was won by Andy Johnson, who defeated John Teasdale 2-0 in the final match of the event.

David Church with Olivia and medal

The event was well-supported by sponsors The Snowdrop Cakery, WPBSA World Snooker coach Andrew Highfield and J&S Trading, whose backing ensured that prize money was available to the players across all six groups.

Tony Hough-Allen, representing The Snowdrop Cakery said: “I would like to say a big thank you to the Golden Cue Snooker Club for looking after ourselves and WDBS. The event has been an absolute success and it has been a pleasure to sponsor it. Everybody enjoyed the Six Red Group 6 event held on Friday and there was some excellent talent on show during the main event during the weekend. Congratulations to all of the winners and we look forward to hopefully seeing you again soon!”

The final WDBS event of 2017 will be the 888lcd.co.uk Hull Open across the weekend of 10-12 November at the Tradewell Snooker Centre in Hull for players with learning, visual and hearing disabilities.

David Church Q&A

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) has welcomed new players from across the country to events in 2017, including Norwich cueist David Church.

Having so far competed in both the Manchester Classic and Welsh Open since joining the WDBS field, Church is now preparing for an assault on this year’s Open Disability Snooker Championship, as well as a special trip to Germany later this month for the professional Paul Hunter Classic event won last season by Mark Selby.

We caught up with him recently to talk about his WDBS experiences so far and in particular how snooker has played a crucial role in helping him to manage depression in recent years.

David, you are currently getting ready for next month’s Open Disability Snooker Championship in Wolverhampton, how much have you enjoyed the events that you have played to date?

Quarter-final – with Daniel Blunn

The events I’ve played in have gone very well in my opinion. At my first tournament in Manchester I was surprised how many people with numerous disabilities play the game, not only play, but to a very good standard. I was welcomed by everyone, players, staff and the tournament directors.

I felt I had a great tournament in Manchester, winning my group to reach the knockout rounds and then winning a tough semi-final against Andy Johnson. At 1-1, in the deciding frame, I was 39 behind with 59 on. I thought that was the end of my tournament because my mindset wasn’t there, but somehow my safety game got me into the final. However, I thought that I did well considering it was my first WDBS tournament and I was so nervous as a tournament environment was new to me.

In Wales I was amazed by how many entries we had from all eight groups and the standard everyone played at. I had the high break of 48 which would have been more if I hadn’t had a kick on the green, as everyone knows about in the WDBS! I was seeded no.1 for the knockout stages and my game felt great, however I ran into a very good player, Daniel Blunn, in the quarter-finals who fully deserved the title and the match against me.

I thoroughly enjoy the events, so much that I get so pumped up and practice hard and eat well for the tournaments.

With ref Sarah McManus and partner Olivia

How did you hear about WDBS?

I was playing for Norfolk in the county championships and I got talking to EASB referee Sarah McManus who said I would be eligible to play and so I went for it. It was the best thing that I’ve ever done.

You have impressed in both of the events that you have entered so far, reaching one final and one quarter-final, as well as making the high break in Wales. Can you go all the way and take a title now?

I’ve performed well and I have no doubts that I can win a title. I am not being cocky or arrogant, I just know when I’m at one with the game, I know what to do and do it to what I think is a reasonably high standard. My high break is 82 and I’m getting closer to my first century with help from the SightRight Elite Academy and my coach Stephen Feeney. My dream is to be world disability champion.

Tell us about your disability, how does this affect your snooker?

With former WDBS champion Nigel Coton

My disability is Moebius Syndrome. It is a rare disability affecting the sixth and seventh cranial nerve in the brain which causes facial paralysis and where the muscles in the face and the body aren’t as strong as someone without the disability. At the time I was born, both I and my sister, who has the same disability as me, were the first siblings to have that specific disability in the U.K.

Also the disability that I use to play in the WDBS events is a severe impairment in my leg due to a car accident after walking home from snooker, when two cars crashed and ploughed me through a brick wall. I broke my tibia so as a result I had to have surgery to put a metal rod in to support my leg. This causes constant pain and my balance isn’t as good anymore, which cause me difficulty when playing certain shots.

What role has snooker and the WDBS has played in helping you cope with the after-effects of your accident?

Since the accident I have suffered from depression and ever since been on anti-depressants. I found snooker by mistake, I just hid myself away from the outside world, so my dad took me to the snooker hall and I fell in love with the game. Snooker is my escape from my mind and my depression and I love it.

When I’m at one with the game there’s no better feeling. I’ve never been so emotionally engrained in a person or an object like my snooker.

David Church standing at Crucible Theatre

At the home of snooker

You recently joined us for Disability Day at this year’s World Championship, how did you find the day?

I was honoured to be invited to Sheffield for World Disability Snooker Day at the Crucible Theatre and being able to watch my hero Ronnie O’Sullivan, who I met on the day and previously I watched his exhibitions in Lowestoft. I enjoyed watching the snooker and being in the snooker capital with my girlfriend Olivia and meeting more people from the WDBS.

Before Wolverhampton you will also be in action at a professional event for the first time, the Paul Hunter Classic in Germany. Tell us about what made you enter the event and how much you are looking forward to the experience.

I play at Woodside Snooker Centre in Norwich where former professional Barry Pinches plays and I often play his son Luke Pinches, who is under-16 amateur runner up, as well as a couple of great players who are on the EASB Premier Tour.

They suggested that we should go, so I jumped at the chance to go and play and hopefully give a good account of myself and my ability. I’m really excited to be competing in the amateur round.

What message would you have for anyone out there considering entering a WDBS event for the first time?

On the baize

No matter what your disability is or what standard you are, whether you are a 20+ break or 100+ break player – go for it!

The moments, memories and the weekend away is 100% worth it. It is the best thing I’ve done personally. As well as an amazing weekend full of snooker it is a great opportunity to meet and make friends with people who share the same interests and are in a similar situation.

David will next be competing at the Open Disability Snooker Championship in Wolverhampton from 22-24 September 2017. Entries are still open for the event – please visit here for more information.

Blunn Conquers Cwmbran

Daniel Blunn claimed his third World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) title at the inaugural Welsh Open in Cwmbran last weekend.

Held at Redz Snooker Club, the tournament was the first open to players from all eight disability classification groups, including players with physical, sensory and learning disabilities. Over 48 players competed across 12 groups, with the best performing players progressing to the knockout stages and the remaining competitors paired in our first-ever mixed classification doubles competition on the final day.

The main competition reached a thrilling climax as Daniel Blunn defeated Andy Johnson 3-2 in a deciding frame to claim his third WDBS title.

The duo, both of whom have cerebral palsy, came into the final as previous WDBS champions, Blunn having taken the honours in Group 3 competitions in Gloucester (2015) and Manchester (2017), while Johnson claimed victory in the Group 4-5 competition in Manchester back in 2016. The final had all the hallmarks of being a tight affair and so it proved as they needed all five frames to determine a winner.

Ultimately however it was Sutton Coldfield’s Blunn who would prevail, dominating the final two frames to secure a hat-trick of titles.

Photo of doubles winners and referee

There was a remarkable story in the Mixed Classification Doubles event meanwhile as 88-year-old Albert Taylor paired with Danny Luton to claim the title. The pair defeated Group 8 duo Tony Davies and Lewis Knowles, the latter also a finalist at the recent Derby Open, 2-0 in the final to claim victory.

The highest break of the competition was 48, made by David Church on the opening day.

The weekend was supported by WDBS player Nigel Coton, who recently teamed up with Snooker Legends to organise an exhibition evening in Lincoln from which surplus monies raised from the evening were donated to the WDBS and added to funds provided by regular sponsors J&S Trading and Christine Cummings to form the overall prize fund for this event.

Nigel Coton said: “We have seen another fantastic weekend of snooker staged by the WDBS. The organisation is growing significantly and to see a record 48 entries to this event is brilliant – let’s try to get it up to 64. Everyone involved has really enjoyed it and had a great time. The event has been another real success.”

The event was also attended by current main tour professionals Michael White and Lee Walker, who kindly took time out from their schedules to meet the players and pose for photographs. The WDBS would like to thank both the players and also everyone at our hosts Redz Snooker Club for their support during the weekend.

You can view all of the results from the weekend’s main competition via MySnookerStats.

The next WDBS tournament will be the 2017 Open Disability Snooker Championship, running from 22-24 September 2017 at the Golden Cue, Bilston.

The weekend tournament will be open to players from Groups 1-5, but players from ALL eight groups are encouraged to visit our regular Friday open day.

View event photos from Cwmbran on the WDBS Facebook page at each of the following links:

World Cerebral Palsy Day 2016

World Cerebral Palsy Day is a movement of people with cerebral palsy and their families in more than 50 countries, which this year takes place today on Wednesday 5th October 2016.

Held since 2012, originally as the ‘Change My World in 1 Minute’ campaign, the day is held on the first Wednesday of each October and is coordinated by the World Cerebral Palsy Initiative, a group of non-profit cerebral palsy (CP) organisations with a global vision to create real change for people living with CP.

Jonathan Adams, World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) director and ambassador, was born with CP which affects all four of his limbs, particularly on his left-hand side. He has not let this stop him from pursuing his dreams however, competing at the London 2012 Paralympics for Great Britain, as well as playing a key part in the development of the WDBS during the past 12 months.

On the playing side, we have too seen a number of players with CP take part, including Gloucester winner Daniel Blunn, who we recently featured during our classification guide for Group 3 players. Peter Hull from Uxbridge first joined us for the WDBS Manchester Classic, as well as Andy Johnson who took victory in the Group 4/5 event back in March.cpday1

A player who will be returning for the upcoming 2016 Open Disability Snooker Championship is Andy Harper from St Helens. Known as ‘snookerfanatic’ on social media, he first fell in love with the sport back in 2001, watching the late Paul Hunter famously come back to win the first of his three Masters titles at Wembley.

He recently told us of the challenges of playing the game for somebody with CP, but how he has overcome these and the sense of achievement that he has gained as a result.

“I feel that for someone with CP, snooker is not one of the easiest sports to get into but is definitely one of the most rewarding,” said Harper. “The fundamentals of snooker are a strong bridge and a comfortable stance. These are difficult with CP and to achieve them requires a great deal of work off the table focusing on hand strength and inner core. The bridge especially took a lot of work and needless to say I became quite proficient with the spider.

“I now compete in the first division of the St Helens snooker league with able bodied players and to post the good results that I do has given me tremendous social confidence and satisfaction.”

harper

The 25-year-old is now looking forward to returning to Gloucester in less than a fortnight and reflected on his WDBS debut at last year’s edition of the event.

“It was great to be able to play on a level playing field and to see everybody enjoying themselves as much as they were,” said Harper. “There was a good atmosphere going and overall I would say that the event was top drawer. Everyone was really nice to each other, chatting and sharing a joke, but when we were at the table it was time to get the game going.”

The 2016 Open Disability Snooker Championship takes place from 14-16 October 2016 at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester.

You can learn more about World Cerebral Palsy Day at https://worldcpday.org/

WDBS Classification Guide: Group Four

Today we continue to explore the World Disability Billiards and Snooker classification system, used to determine which players are eligible to play in each of our events.

This week we look at the group four profiles, the second of three groups relating to ambulant players who have a physical disability.

WDBS Disability Classification

The WDBS classification system comprises 36 individual profiles, which have then been allocated to eight groups, used to categorise events.

The system has been taken from the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) profile toolkit and revised to suit snooker and billiards.

Group 4 (profiles 14-15, 17-21, 27-28)

Profile 14: Able to walk, but one side of the body is of little use; usually can only balance unaided on the good leg.

Profile 15: Able to walk, but only one side of body is non-affected.

Profile 17: Able to walk, but both legs are severely impaired.

Profile 18: Able to walk, but one leg severely impaired.

Profile 19: Able to walk, one leg severely impaired, other leg less impaired.

Profile 20: Able to walk but both legs impaired slightly.

Profile 21: Both arms are severely impaired or amputated

Profile 27: Opposite arm and leg severely impaired.

Profile 28: Both hips impaired causing walking difficulty.

Group four is the second of three groups for ambulant players (i.e. players who can walk) and is made up of eight disability profiles (15, 17-21 & 27-28), plus the ‘either/or’ profile 14. Players falling under profile 14 with orthosis/appliances will also be classified as group four players.

At WDBS events held to date, group four players have competed together with group five players in competitions. Of the three ambulant groups, players who fall under group four are less affected by their disability than group three players when playing across all groups

Player view

As was the case with group three featured last week, we have already seen a large number of group four players compete in the WDBS events held to date. Winners of the group 4/5 events include World Billiards player Raja Subramanian and the experienced Andy Johnson, while world wheelchair darts champion Ricky Chilton was also involved in Manchester.

Another who made his debut in our second event was Joe Hardstaff, an IT teacher from Boston, Lincolnshire. Born with phocomelia, a rare disability that causes the bones of the arms, and in some cases other appendages, to be extremely shortened and even absent, Hardstaff falls under profile 21 of the WDBS classification system.

Although he has less competitive experience than some of the other players mentioned (the Manchester Classic was his first taste of competition snooker), Hardstaff is no stranger to cuesports having first been introduced when he was approximately 13-years-old:

“My brother and I would go to the snooker club once a week and play snooker and pool,” said Hardstaff. “I then started to play in our local pool league at the age of 16 and have since won many local town competitions. Snooker has been a game that I have played alongside this as a cue practice mechanism as I never classed myself as good enough to join the local snooker league.”

wdbsprofile21

A former football coach whose son now plays for a local academy, Hardstaff learned of the WDBS earlier this year following an enquiry to the WPBSA as to competitive opportunities for people with disabilities. Following his debut in Manchester he is now relishing the prospect of gaining match experience in future tournaments.

“Snooker for me is a love – hate game,” said Hardstaff. “Fortunately I love it more than I hate it! It’s one of those games that when you are playing well it is extremely rewarding and enjoyable to play.

“I would consider myself as an experienced player but with a lot to learn as my competitive side of snooker is a bit lacking. Having played most of my games in a non-competitive, friendly way with family and friends, it’s certainly something that needs a bit of work.

“I can compete with players of a similar skill level but importantly my disability makes very little difference, although you would not perhaps think that when you see me. There are certain barriers that my disability creates such as bridging over balls that are close together, long reaching shots and power shots however this is compensated somewhat in different approaches to shot selection.”

JoeH

Hardstaff describes his involvement in the Manchester Classic as a real ‘eye-opener’, while he was also one of the players who attended World Disability Snooker Day at the 2016 World Championship.

“I went into the competition with an open mind and I was amazed by the standard of play,” continued Hardstaff. “I met some very nice people who I met again at the World Championship in Sheffield where I attended the disability day to show people what we can do. This I thoroughly enjoyed, particularly the Crucible tour and watching the professionals of course.

“I think the WDBS has a fantastic energy about it. The people who make the organisation operational are very enthusiastic and driven which I really like. They are also very friendly and welcoming. With that kind of focus and vision who knows what’s possible in years to come. Hopefully there will be some sort of Olympics representation of the sports and a wider community of players and playing opportunities.

“I am very pleased to be a part of it and can see myself continuing to compete wherever I can.”

Next week we continue our look at the WDBS classification system as we turn to our group five classification, the third and final ambulant profile.

Manchester Hosts Snooker Classic

World Disability Billiards and Snooker held its first event of 2016 at Q’s Sports and Entertainment Bar in Manchester last weekend.

Following the first event held at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester last November, the tournament was the first to be staged in the north of England by the WDBS. The field included players who had competed in the previous event and newcomers who had learned of the success enjoyed in Gloucester.

Three main competitions were held across the weekend, incorporating five different disability classification groups. There was also a plate event held during the final day for players who had not qualified for the final stages.

Group 3 finalists William Thomson (left) and Daniel Blunn (right)

Group 3 finalists William Thomson (left) and Daniel Blunn (right)

The Group 3 event was won by 30-year-old William Thomson, who overcame Gloucester champion Daniel Blunn 3-1 in the group final to claim the title. From Scotland, Thomson has HMSN type 2 and was participating in a WDBS event for the first time.

“I am absolutely delighted,” said Thomson. “I decided to enter the event to try it, to make new friends and to see what the standard was like. I was very impressed with the tables and can’t thank the WDBS and the club enough.

“I came down from Scotland to try and prove a point to my little boy who is nearly three years old. I wanted to make him proud and see that no matter what is in front of you, you can still do things. It is inspirational to see the other players here and I have such admiration for them.”

Coached by 2006 world champion Graeme Dott, the event was a double success for Thomson as he took the overall high break prize with a run of 35 made during one of his group matches.

Newport’s Craig Welsh claimed victory in the Group 1/2 event. Welsh, who has paraplegia, defeated Glyn Lloyd, Albert Henshaw and Gavin Gormley during the course of the weekend to top a four player group stage ahead of Liverpool-born Henshaw.

MawerWelsh

Group 1/2 winner Craig Welsh (left) is presented with his medal by WDBS Chairman Nigel Mawer (right)

In the Group 4/5 event it was Andy Johnson from Lostock who took the honours, seeing off Steve Packer 3-0 in the overall final.

Packer had made it through to the final in dramatic circumstances on Saturday evening, defeating Zena Latcham in the last match of the day following a deciding frame to qualify.

In the final however it was Johnson, who had won both of his pool matches without the loss of a frame, who recorded his third whitewash of the weekend to take the title.

The plate event was won by Morecambe’s John Teasdale, who lost both his right leg and right arm following a road traffic accident in 1981. He defeated Ricky Chilton from St Ives in a closely contested one-frame final.

WDBS Chairman Nigel Mawer said: “This is the second event that we have held and the support that we have had from the players and the people who come to support the players has been absolutely fantastic.

“We have completed an event now in Gloucester, we have done an event now in Manchester and our next event is in Woking, which will cater for people with different categories of disability to our first two events.

“We are now building this sport so that people with all types of disabilities are engaged, become involved and play.”

coach

WPBSA World Snooker coaches will be available again in Woking

On the opening day of the event players were able to enjoy extensive free practice at the venue, including the use of several recently refurbished match tables that were subsequently used during the tournament itself. Free coaching was also provided throughout the opening day by WPBSA World Snooker coaches Reg Davies and Rick Williams.

The next WDBS event will be the WDBS Woking Open, to be held from 20-22 May 2016 at the Woking Snooker Centre. This will be the first WDBS event open to players categorised under groups 6-8, which includes those who are partially sighted, have a hearing impairment or an intellectual impairment, although players with any disability are welcome to attend the open day prior to the main competition. Full entry details for this event will be announced shortly.

The next event open to players from groups 1-5 will be the 2016 Open Disability Snooker Championship, scheduled to be held at the South West Snooker Academy from 14-16 October 2016.

Prior to both events, this year’s World Professional Snooker Championship will incorporate a Disability day in Sheffield on 21st April 2016 with activities in progress throughout the day in the Cue Zone.

Further photographs from Manchester can be viewed at our official Facebook page and video footage of the medals presentation can be watched at the WPBSA YouTube channel.

Results

Group 1/2

Glyn Lloyd 2-1 Gavin Gormley

Craig Welsh 2-1 Albert Henshaw

Craig Welsh 3-0 Glyn Lloyd

Albert Henshaw 2-1 Gavin Gormley

Gavin Gormley 1-2 Craig Welsh

Glyn Lloyd 0-3 Albert Henshaw

Craig Welsh wins the group

Group 3 Final

William Thomson 3-1 Daniel Blunn

Group 4/5 Final

Andy Johnson 3-0 Steve Packer

Plate Final

John Teasdale 58-56 Ricky Chilton (single frame)