Tag: Ben Chappell

Disability Snooker Champions Decided in Derby

A trio of main event champions, each with their own intriguing stories, emerged from last weekend’s dramatic World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) Derby Open.

Supported by leading packaging company DS Smith, the event was held at the Cueball Derby, a regular tour stop featuring players with both visual (Group 7A/7B) and hearing impairments (Group 8). It was the final tournament of the 2018/19 WDBS campaign and the first to run a new system which saw Group 7 split into two competitions to reflect the classification structure run by British Blind Sport.

Group 7A – Glory for Gallacher

Gary Gallacher claimed his maiden WDBS main event title in the new Group 7A category.

Scotland’s Gallacher was already a two-time Challenge Cup winner in the past – his most recent being at the Southern Classic in Swindon during March – but this success represents his most significant accolade on the circuit so far.

The 57-year-old was supreme during the round robin phase, topping the group with a 100% record without dropping a frame. Qualifying for his first final at this level, Gallacher would face 2018 UK Open finalist Bob Craft, who finished second in the standings.

After the opening two frames of the final were shared, Gallacher fluked the final pink in frame three before sinking a terrific black to capitalise on his good fortune. He then added the fourth frame to seal his maiden crown.

During his earlier round robin win against Craft, Gallacher also made the highest break with an effort of 43.

Group 7B –  Neale defends

In the Group 7B classification, defending champion Nick Neale survived a comeback from Mike Gillespie in the final to retain the title.

Neale made light work of qualifying for the showpiece as he finished first in the round robin standings after winning all his fixtures 2-0. Following on from his heavy scoring at this same venue last year, the Birmingham cueist rattled in breaks of 82, 80, 80 and 75.

A repeat of the 2018 final in Derby materialised as 2017 champion Gillespie progressed in second; the deciding factor being a 2-0 group stage win over four-time WDBS victor Paul Smith, who missed out in third.

The final was looking like a stroll in the park for Neale as he fashioned a 2-0 advantage, but a resolute Gillespie responded by making a 72 break in frame three before forcing a decider. However, Neale was not to be denied his sixth WDBS title when he controlled and secured the fifth frame for a 3-2 victory. It meant that Neale’s imposing streak continues – this was his fourth successive WDBS competition win.

Group 8 – Nicholas cashes in

There was a major surprise in Group 8 as Nicholas Cash burst on to the WDBS scene during his first appearance to record one of the circuit’s most memorable successes.

Cash’s campaign nearly ended in the group stages, as he narrowly qualified in second place on frame difference after three players had all won two matches each. In the knockouts he defeated Daniel Booth (2-0), Champion of Champions winner Lewis Knowles (2-1) and then 2017 Hull Open champion Blake Munton (2-1). Against both Knowles and Munton, Cash recovered after losing the opening frame.

The biggest upset was still to come, though, when Cash overhauled six-time WDBS winner and defending champion Shabir Ahmed, who had imperiously reached yet another final without losing a single frame throughout.

In a see-saw encounter that went to a deciding frame, Ahmed, who trailed by 20 points, looked like repeating his heroics from this venue in last year’s final by snatching it on the colours when he deposited yellow to pink. However, after Ahmed had failed to attain ideal position on the black, Cash later seized an opportunity by impressively potting it for an emotional victory.

Challenge Cup champions

For those who did not qualify for the knockout stages, two separate Challenge Cup competitions were staged.

In the Group 7 event Ben Chappell defeated Ron Allen, 2-1, to take gold for the first time at a WDBS event following two previous silver-medal placings. Mark Forrest also claimed his first win in the Group 8 tournament following a 2-0 success over Daniel Harvest.

Simon Berrisford, WDBS Vice Chairman said: “The event has been a fantastic success – certainly one of the most remarkable and entertaining ones we’ve ever had. Splitting the Group 7 competition using British Blind Sport guidelines added a new, sharp dimension to proceedings, whilst the Group 8 division continues to thrive; testament to the record-breaking 27 players who took part.

“WDBS would like to thank Danny Cooper and all his team at Cueball for their brilliant facilities and, of course, Nigel Coton and Michael Buckley of DS Smith Featherstone who passionately supported the event.”

WDBS will return next month with the start of the new 2019/20 season.

New Champions Crowned at Hull Open

The 888lcd.co.uk Hull Open saw new winners this evening in both the Group 7 and 8 competitions staged at the Tradewell Snooker Club.

Returning to the East Yorkshire venue for a second successive year, the event proved to be the biggest yet staged by World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS), with a record 49 players taking part from just three classification groups.

Coventry’s Nick Neale emerged victorious in the Group 7 competition for people with visual disabilities following an emphatic 4-0 final victory against Paul Hunter Disability Classic champion Mike Gillespie. Runner-up at the event 12 months ago, Neale went one better following a weekend which saw him dominate the high breaks chart, recording eight of the ten highest breaks within his category including a top run of 51.

Neale recently grabbed the headlines recently by making his first 147 break in practice and would in fact achieve the rare feat of claiming the title without the loss of a frame. Having topped his group with four wins from four, he then defeated David Baker in the semi-finals to set up the decisive battle against local player Gillespie.

In Group 8 meanwhile there was a dramatic maiden victory for Grimsby’s Blake Munton, who edged out Richard Gott 3-2 to claim the gold medal.

The event was by far the biggest staged for deaf players so far with a record 26 entries received and Blake impressed throughout the weekend in Hull, topping his group without the loss of a frame before defeating Lewis Knowles and David Grant to reach his first WDBS final. Opponent Gott meanwhile also won his group, adding knockout victories against Adam Duke, Mike Bryan and Derby winner Shabir Ahmed to make the Hull final for a second successive year.

Hull

The showpiece match proved the be one of the most dramatic in WDBS history as having taken two of the first three frames, Munton potted ‘match ball’ black in frame four to complete a fantastic clearance, only to see the cue ball come back up the table and hit the rest which had still been left on the table. With a foul correctly called by referee Mark King, the match was sent into a deciding frame, which saw Blake cast aside the obvous disappointment felt to clinch the title.

The Challenge Cup event for players who had not made it through to the knockout rounds following Saturday’s group stages was won by Richard Bradburn, who defeated 16-year-old debutant Ben Chappell 2-1 in the final.

With the support of event sponsors 888lcd.co.uk, J&S Trading and Hudgell Solicitors, prize money was offered to all players who reached the latter stages of both competitions, as well as the Group 6 event won by Daniel Harwood on Friday.

The WDBS tour will return in 2018. Learn more about the events confirmed for next year so far at our Events page.