Tag: Daniel Blunn

Player of the Season 2020: The Shortlist

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) has today published its shortlist for this year’s Vic Hartley Player of the Season 2019/20.

First introduced last year and won by Group 2 player Daniel Lee, the award is named in honour of long-standing referee Vic Hartley who sadly passed away in March 2019 and recognises the outstanding player of each season as voted for by WDBS.

It was announced yesterday that this year’s recipient of the award will be revealed next Wednesday during our Disability Snooker Day celebrations, which will take place online following the postponement of the professional World Championship.

As in 2019, the winner has been selected from a shortlist comprising one player from each main classification group as follows:

Group 1/2: Tony Southern

Group 3: Nigel Coton

Group 4: Daniel Blunn

Group 5: Mickey Chambers

Group 6A: Mohamed Faisal Butt

Group 6B: Leroy Williams

Group 7: Nick Neale

Group 8: Shabir Ahmed

Who would be your player of the season? Join the debate and let us know at our Twitter and Facebook pages before we announce this season’s winner on Wednesday.

Winners Crowned at Belgian Open

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) crowned its latest champions last weekend at the Belgian Open in Bruges, Belgium.

Hosted by the Trickshot Snooker Club for the third successive year, the event welcomed its biggest ever field to date including entries from over 40 players representing six different countries.

For the first time the event ran tournaments for players from all eight main disability classification groups, including cueists with physical, intellectual and sensory disabilities, making it the most significant event staged in mainland Europe so far on the 360Fizz WDBS Tour.

Groups 1-3

England’s Tony Southern completed the successful defence of the title that he first won 12 months ago at the Trickshot following a 3-0 victory against compatriot Shahab Siddiqui in the Groups 1-3 event final.

The competition, which saw wheelchairs Groups 1-2 combined with the ambulant Group 3 classification for players with upper body disabilities for the first time, saw six entrants contest an initial round-robin phase before the knockout rounds.

Just as at last September’s UK Disability Snooker Championship it was in fact Siddiqui who in fact topped his group ahead of Southern, before the pair came through semi-finals against 2018 champion Kurt Deklerck of Belgium and Germany’s Hannes Hermsdorf – the 26-year-old having impressed on his WDBS debut this weekend with a high break of 53.

The final however was to go the way of Southern, who having taken the opening frame on the black then added the following two to seal his third-career WDBS crown.

Group 4

The biggest tournament of the weekend was to be the Group 4 competition which saw Daniel Blunn defeat Andy Johnson 3-0 to a record 11th WDBS title.

Previously a winner at the Trickshot during each of the past two seasons, Blunn was once again in imperious form in Belgium as he captured his first title of the decade without the loss of a frame from his five matches played on his way to glory in 2020.

Having come through a group including Gary Sanderson, Peter Hull and Gunter D’Hondt, the 28-year-old then saw off Church and finally Johnson – the latter in a deceptively close final – to add yet another honour to his illustrious CV.

The high break of the group was a run of 44 made during the round-robin stages.

Group 5

England’s Mickey Chambers was to maintain his 100% record on the WDBS circuit having claimed his sixth Group 5 crown with a 3-0 success against David Moore.

Like Blunn, the Preston Potter underlined his status as the leading Group 5 player on the circuit by claiming his latest title with a flawless record, winning all four group matches before seeing off Humber Classic winner Moore for a second time in the showpiece final. He also made the four highest breaks in the group, including a run of 35 during the round-robin stage.

For Moore to reach the final was nevertheless an impressive feat as he recovered from the loss of his opening two matches to progress ahead of David Langridge, Dean Simmons and Phil Woodwiss.

Group 6

There was a return to form for Peter Geronimo in the Group 6 competition for players with intellectual disabilities after the 30-year-old defeated Leroy Williams 3-2 in a closely contested final.

Both players progressed from a four-player group stage which saw Faisal Butt and Christopher Goldsworthy eliminated to set up a fifth meeting in a title decider at a WDBS event.

Having defeated Williams earlier in the day during the round-robin phase, it was Geronimo who was never headed in the final as he led 1-0 and 2-1, before Williams hit back impressively to force a deciding frame with a match high break of 39 in frame four.

Inevitably the final frame was to be decided on the colours, with Geronimo potting pink and black to triumph and claim only his second victory over Williams and his first title since his maiden win at the 2018 Humber Classic.

Group 7

Another two-time winner was to be crowned in the Group 7 tournament for players with visual disabilities after Ireland’s Dylan Rees added the Belgian Open title to his victory at the Hull Open last November with a 3-0 success against Mike Gillespie.

The pair progressed to the final following a dramatic group stage which saw a play-off required to separate the top three players including Welshman Ronnie Allen, who each had finished with an identical record.

The final however would prove to be more one-sided as Rees, who had impressed during the group stage with an impressive break of 87 – the second-highest ever to have been recorded during a WDBS match – ran out a 3-0 winner to maintain his 100% record on the circuit so far.

Group 8

A new winner was crowned in Group 8 as Belgian debutant Kristof De Bruyn defeated 10-time champion Shabir Ahmed to win the first WDBS competition for deaf players held in mainland Europe.

Paired in the same round-robin group, De Bruyn and Ahmed contested a hard-fought group match won by Ahmed to progress to the knockout rounds, where they saw off Nick Cash and Lewis Knowles respectively to set up the title decider.

It was 10-time WDBS champion Ahmed who took the opener before 44-year-old De Bruyn claimed two tight frames on the colours to take the lead, before sealing his maiden title in the fourth frame with a break of 32.

There was also a maiden win in the Challenge Cup event for Christopher Goldsworthy after the Group 6 player defeated Kal Mattu 2-0 to claim gold in the tournament for players who had not made it to the knockout rounds of the main tournaments.

The WDBS team would like to thank Olivier Vandenbohede of the Trickshot and his team for supporting the event once again and already we look forward to returning in 2021.

The final event of the 2019/20 360Fizz WDBS Tour season will be the Derby Open, to be held at the Cueball Derby from 15-17 May 2020.

 

Field Set for Parris Cues Champion of Champions 2019

There is less than one week to go until the second staging of the Parris Cues Champion of Champions by World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) and we can today confirm the 23-player field who will compete at the event this year.

As in 2018, six tournaments will be held at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester from 12-13 October, with the most successful players from the previous two years invited to compete.

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

Aslam Abubaker, Shahab Siddiqui, Danny Luton

Groups 4-5

Daniel Blunn, William Thomson, Mickey Chambers, David Church

Group 6A

Faisal Butt, Mike Busst, Michael Farrell, Warren Ealy

Group 6B

Leroy Williams, Peter Geronimo, Christopher Goldsworthy*

Group 7

Gary Gallacher, Nick Neale, Ronnie Allen, Mike Gillespie

Group 8

Shabir Ahmed, Lewis Knowles, Blake Munton, Nicholas Cash

*only three players will contest Group 6B due to the non-entry of the remaining eligible players

As previously stated, this year’s event will not include tournaments for Groups 3 and 7A due to only one counting event having been played for each category following the changes to the WDBS Classification system made this year. Results from tournaments already played will however be carried forward to next year’s Champion of Champions event.

In addition to becoming champion of their respective groups, this year’s winners will each be presented with the perpetual Nick Oliver Trophy and will receive a keepsake trophy to take home and keep.

Further tournament information, including the prize money schedule and match schedule will be published in due course.

Success for UK Disability Snooker Championship

The latest World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) champions were crowned last weekend at the 360Fizz UK Disability Snooker Championship in Northampton.

Held at Barratts Snooker Club, the fifth staging of the event previously known as the Open Disability Snooker Championship received entries from almost 70 players as the competition was held over three days for the first time. Eight separate tournaments were held across a range of disability classification profiles, as well as a Challenge Cup for players who did not progress to the final day.

The weekend also featured a special open day which features support by the Motor Neurone Disease Association and sessions led by WPBSA World Snooker coach Steve Rutter to introduce newcomers with disabilities to the sport.

Wheelchair (Groups 1-2)

Tony Southern earned his second WDBS title this weekend in the Groups 1-2 wheelchair classification following a 3-0 victory against Shahab Siddiqui in the final.

It was Siddiqui who won the group stage clash with Southern as the pair both progressed to semi-finals against Danny Luton and Aslam Abubaker respectively.

Having come through a tight semi-final with Abubaker decided on the colours however, it was Liverpool’s Southern who turned the tables in the title match to claim his first silverware since the Belgian Open back in March.

Ambulant (Groups 3-5)

There was also a second WDBS title earned by Nigel Coton in Group 3 as he resisted a brave fightback by John Teasdale to win 4-3 on Sunday.

Coton, whose previous WDBS title came three years ago at this event, made the stronger start to the final as he took three of the first four frames to lead 3-1, before Teasdale responded by taking the match to a decider.

It would though be Coton who would prevail, to make it three different winners in the classification group since its restructure earlier this year.

In Group 4 there was a record tenth title for Daniel Blunn after the 28-year-old defeated Andy Johnson 3-0 to maintain his dominance in the category.

Having progressed from his group for the loss of just a single frame, Blunn then saw off Nigel Brasier and David Church to reach the final, while Johnson defeated Ben Rawson and former professional star Dean Reynolds to join him there.

Despite a close second frame, it would be Blunn who would run out a comfortable 3-0 winner in what was a repeat of the 2018 Welsh Open final to make it a perfect 10 on tour.

There was an all-new final in Group 5 as David Langridge defeated debutant Dean Simmons 3-1 to win his maiden WDBS title.

Langridge, who himself made his debut at this event 12 months ago, enjoyed a strong weekend overall as he progressed from the group stage without the loss of a frame, before again overcoming Simmons in the final to claim victory.

Learning disabilities (Groups 6A-6B)

Mohammed Faisal Butt made it four victories in a row in Group 6A after he defeated Mike Busst 3-1 in the final.

The pair, who have now met in four of the past five WDBS finals in this category, progressed to the semi-finals and defeated Warren Ealy and Liam Crook respectively to set up another title match.

The opening frame was won convincingly by Busst, before Butt rebounded by taking the next three to claim another title in the category.

There was also a fourth WDBS title in Group 6B for Leroy Williams after he defeated Peter Geronimo 4-1 in the final.

The pair saw off Kieran Richards-Witham and Matthew Haslam in the semi-finals, before Williams came out on top to secure his third title of the calendar year.

Sensory disabilities (Groups 7-8)

There were familiar winners in the two sensory competitions in Northampton after Nick Neale and Shabir Ahmed added further titles to their respective honours lists.

In Group 7 it was Neale who defeated Ronnie Allen 4-1 in a repeat of last month’s Welsh Open final to claim his eighth WDBS title for players with visual impairments.

Ahmed meanwhile saw off a familiar final opponent in the shape of Lewis Knowles with a 3-1 win to also claim his eighth Group 8 crown and second in the space of a month following his success at the Disability Tour Championship held at the Crucible Theatre in August.

In the Challenge Cup there was a maiden WDBS victory for Steve Cartwright, who edged out Blake Munton in a single-frame final.

The next event on the 360Fizz WDBS Tour will be the Parris Cues Champion of Champions, to be held at the South West Snooker Academy from 12-13 October 2019.

 

Ahmed Storms to Crucible Glory

Shabir Ahmed won the inaugural Disability Tour Championship at the Crucible Theatre following victories against Nick Neale and Daniel Blunn on Sunday afternoon.

The all-new event saw four of the most successful players on the World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) circuit since its inception in 2015 invited to compete in a special showcase of disability snooker at the spiritual home of the sport.

The first semi-final of the day saw record nine-time WDBS champion Daniel Blunn take on Preston’s Mickey Chambers, who came into the event undefeated having won each of his previous competitions.

It was Blunn who edged a tense opening frame, before Chambers dominated the second to force a black ball re-spot. Both having had chances to come out victorious, it was Blunn who sunk the black with an impressive long pot to book his place in the final.

There he would face Blackburn’s Shabir Ahmed, who also came through a black ball respot against fellow sensory champion Nick Neale to progress to the title match.

As with the Women’s Tour Championship staged a day previously, the final was contested as a one-frame shoot out and it was Ahmed who quickly took control and ran out as champion.

The tournament was held as part of this year’s ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship, which has seen 20 of the world’s best over-40 players compete in Sheffield this week with live coverage in the UK and Ireland broadcast by Freesports TV.

The 360Fizz WDBS Tour returns next month with the 360Fizz UK Disability Snooker Championship to be held at Barratts Snooker Club in Northampton. Enter online HERE.

Champion of Champions to Return to Gloucester

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) is today pleased to confirm that this season’s Parris Cues Champion of Champions event will return to the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester following its successful first staging last year.

In a change to the previously announced dates – the prestigious event will run from 12-13 October 2019, a week earlier than originally advertised.

This year’s competition will see the most decorated players on the WDBS circuit from the past two seasons invited to compete across six individual competitions, with the winners set to see their names inscribed on the stunning Nick Oliver Trophy.

The players who will be invited to compete in this year’s event are:

Groups 1-2

Daniel Lee, Aslam Abubaker, Kurt Deklerck, Shahab Siddiqui*

*Tony Southern has already indicated that he will not be available to compete

Groups 4-5

Daniel Blunn, Mickey Chambers, William Thomson, David Church.

Group 6A

Faisal Butt, Mike Busst, David Mac, Michael Farrell.

Group 6B

Daniel Harwood, Leroy Williams, Peter Geronimo, Andrew Galley.

Group 7

Nick Neale, Paul Smith, Ronnie Allen, Mike Gillespie.

Group 8

Shabir Ahmed, Blake Munton, Nicholas Cash, Lewis Knowles.

WDBS can confirm that this year’s event will not include tournaments for Groups 3 and 7A due to only one counting event having been played for each category following the changes to the WDBS Classification system made this year. Results from tournaments already played will however be carried forward to next year’s Champion of Champions event.

Each of the players listed above will be contacted to confirm their entry to the event in due course. Should any player not be available their place will be taken by the next player on the qualification list from that group.

Read our report of last season’s Champion of Champions HERE.

2018/19 World Disability Billiards and Snooker Season Review

Last month’s Derby Open at the Cueball Derby signalled the end of the 2018/19 World Disability Billiards and Snooker season; the biggest and busiest campaign yet.

Starting back in July, the circuit visited several venues in the UK and beyond with a record number of tournaments hosted and entries taking part. Here we look back on how the season unfolded and what the main talking points were…

Groups 1 & 2

New and familiar faces triumphed in the competitive wheelchair section, but the star performer throughout the year was Daniel Lee, who added a trio of titles to his portfolio.

Londoner Lee started off by claiming the curtain-raising 6-Red Welsh Open in Cwmbran; an event open to WDBS competitors from all classifications. At the time, by his own admission Lee’s best tournament victory in snooker, he ousted Aslam Abubaker in a thrilling all-wheelchair final that was a fine showcase for the group.

Further honours came at the inaugural staging of the Champion of Champions and when he defended the Northern Classic in the new year. Collectively, these efforts saw him named as the first WDBS Vic Hartley Player of the Year at the Winter Garden in Sheffield during this spring’s World Professional Snooker Championship.

Elsewhere in the division, Abubaker and Tony Southern both claimed maiden main event gold after being pipped in the past. Abubaker won the Open Disability Championship when he defeated Shahab Siddiqui in the final, while Southern reversed last year’s outcome after getting the better of host nation native Kurt Deklerck at the Belgian Open in Bruges.

Groups 3, 4 and 5

Due to increased numbers and re-structuring, ambulant players contested in both individual and multi-group competitions throughout the year. Despite the changes, several of the circuit’s big names continued to collect top honours.

One of the most intriguing sagas has been the ongoing rivalry between Daniel Blunn and William Thomson. At the Open Disability Championship, Thomson made it three out of three final wins against his adversary, but at the Champion of Champions a few weeks later Blunn ended that hoodoo.

Blunn bolstered his CV yet again in the new year when eliminating the challenge of new finalist Peter Yelland to win the Northern Classic at the Hazel Grove in Stockport and then defending the Belgian Open at the Trickshot after a victory over another former champion in Raja Subramanian from India. These wins mean Blunn now has a record eight WDBS main event titles.

Mickey Chambers and David Church also increased their title tally; Chambers defeated Church in the Northampton final and David Weller to retain the Northern Classic, while Church became the Group 4/5 Champion of Champions victor when he quashed late replacement David Moore’s hopes in the climax.

There was, however, a new addition to the roll of honour when John Teasdale won the Group 3 title in Stockport after prevailing over fellow first-time main event finalist Joe Hardstaff. In a keenly contested encounter, Teasdale chalked up three consecutive frames from 2-0 down to emerge successful.

Group 6

Five different players won main event gold throughout the season in the learning disabilities category.

Peter Geronimo announced himself on the scene by claiming the first Group 6 exclusive event at the Humber Classic on debut in August. The focus, though, has been on serial winner Daniel Harwood who scooped a quartet of triumphs at the Open Disability Championship, Champion of Champions and Hull Open, before the Northern Classic in the new year became his seventh career WDBS title overall.

From November’s Hull Open onwards the Group 6 division was split into two sub-categories – 6A would represent players with learning disabilities whilst 6B for those with autism spectrum disorder. Mike Busst was the first player to take advantage of this new opportunity when he defeated Faisal Butt to taste glory in East Yorkshire. Butt recovered from that setback, though, to avenge his defeat to Buust at the Northern Classic and then by seeing off David Mac in the final of the Southern Classic too.

Also, in Swindon, Leroy Williams bettered the three previous final appearances he had made earlier in the season when eventually defeating debutant Christopher Goldsworthy in an engrossing 6B final at Jesters Snooker Centre. It was Williams’ second WDBS title.

Group 7

Nick Neale was undoubtedly the star performer in the visual impairments classification as he collected four main event titles.

The Group 7 season started at the Barratts Club in Northampton where Paul Smith earned his fourth career WDBS title after overcoming maiden finalist, Ron Allen, in the final of the Open Disability Championship. Later in the campaign, though, Neale would surpass Smith’s tally to become the most decorated player in the division.

Neale’s winning streak began in Gloucester when he got the better of rival Smith in the Champion of Champions final. He backed that up with triumphs at the Hull Open (defeating David Baker in the final) and then the Southern Classic (defeating Allen in the final) to make it a high five of titles at this level. He finished his campaign on a positive, too, by defending the Derby Open (7B) against former winner Mike Gillespie in an entertaining final that went to a deciding frame. Gillespie was Neale’s fourth different final opponent in as many competitions.

Group 7 competitors were divided into two separate categories for the first time in Derby, depending on the severity of their impairment. The format yielded a new champion as Gary Gallacher defeated Bob Craft to become the inaugural 7A winner.

Group 8

Two new champions were discovered in the hearing impairments category, but the season revolved around Shabir Ahmed who made all five Group 8 finals; winning three of them.

Starting in Northampton, Ahmed denied debut finalist Nikolas De Whytell to win the Open Disability Championship. His momentum, however, was halted by Lewis Knowles at the following month’s Champion of Champions. Having suffered a trio of final disappointments at the hands of Ahmed in the past, an epic 5-4 victory over his rival in Gloucester was certainly a sweet relief for Knowles.

Ahmed bounced back from this loss when overcoming debutant Mick Chew at the Hull Open and then resuming his rivalry – and success – with Knowles at the Southern Classic in Swindon. Looking like business as usual in Derby, though, Ahmed was stunned by newcomer Nicholas Cash, who produced an upset to overhaul him in the final. Earlier in the event Cash had also eliminated Knowles and a former WDBS main event winner in Blake Munton.

His achievements on the circuit gained Ahmed cross-sport recognition as he was nominated and came third at the 2018 Deaf Sports Personality of the Year Awards. Contesting alongside Lee, Blunn and Neale, Ahmed will appear at the Crucible Theatre during this August’s ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship for a dedicated session of play that will highlight and promote disability snooker.

A New Campaign Awaits…

We don’t have to wait much longer until the new 2019/20 360Fizz World Disability Billiards and Snooker season gets underway with the Humber Classic taking place at the Tradewell Snooker Club in Hull from 28-30 June. For the first time, the popular venue will host a WDBS event that is open to players with physical disabilities (Groups 1-5), as well as welcoming back entrants with learning disabilities (Group 6).

Disability Snooker to be Showcased at Crucible Theatre

Four leading players from the 360Fizz World Disability Billiards and Snooker Tour have earned the opportunity to compete at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield this August for the first time.

To be staged as part of the 2019 ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship, the session will take place on the morning of 18 August from 10:00am and feature four highly decorated players who compete regularly on the WDBS circuit.

Among those in action will be Daniel Lee, who plays in the Group 2 wheelchair category and earlier this year was named as the Vic Hartley Player of the Season in recognition of his success during the 2018/19 campaign.

He will be joined by Daniel Blunn, who was born with cerebral palsy and competes as a Group 4 player. Blunn has been a part of the WDBS family since our first event in November 2015 and has to date claimed an incredible eight events, including three during the current campaign.

Representing sensory disabilities are Coventry’s Nick Neale, a six-time winner of competitions for players with visual impairments and deaf player Shabir Ahmed, who has established himself as the dominant player in his category with six titles and was last year recognised at the Deaf Sports Personality of the Year Awards by finishing in third place in the overall voting.

The event will be the first as part of a three-year agreement which will also see disability snooker return to Sheffield in 2020 and 2021.

Nigel Mawer, WDBS Chairman said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for our players to be able to play at the home of snooker and from speaking to them already I know just how excited they are to be able to live their dream and walk out on the same stage as their heroes.

“The event is going to be a real celebration of disability snooker and I would like to encourage all of our players to come along and support those competing and make it a day to remember!”

Tickets are already on sale at the price of just £1.47 when purchased with a full-price ticket to any other session at the ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship, so book now to avoid disappointment, by phone 0114 249 600 or online HERE.

The ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship will run across four days from 15-18 August 2019 and feature several all-time greats of the game including ‘King of the Crucible’ Stephen Hendry and 10-time ranking event winner Jimmy White.

There will also be a session on the morning of Saturday 17th August held to showcase the talent on the World Women’s Snooker Tour.

Disability Snooker Success in Belgium

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) returned to Belgium for the second staging of the WDBS Belgian Open last weekend.

Held at the Trickshot club in Bruges, the event attracted entries from the UK, Belgium and India with a variety of physical disabilities to compete for the latest silverware on the WDBS Tour.

Groups 1-2

England’s Tony Southern claimed his long-awaited first WDBS title following a 5-2 success against defending champion Kurt Deklerck from Belgium to win the Groups 1-2 wheelchair tournament.

The opening day saw both players claim back-to-back wins in a four-player group stage, Southern notably earning a deciding-frame victory against Shahab Siddiqui on the colours to ensure that he would progress to the title match.

With the final round-robin match between the pair effectively a dead match, the pair were given the opportunity to contest an extended best-of-nine frame final to decide the champion.

It would prove to be a final full of drama with each of the opening two frames being settled on the final black, with the scoreline progressing to 2-2 at the mid-session interval.

From there however it would be all Southern as he edged two close frames to move one away from the title at 4-2 up, before sinking a tournament-high break of 42 in what would prove to be the final frame to take home the gold medal.

Groups 4-5

While there was a new winner crowned in the wheelchair competition, the Groups 4-5 event for players with ambulant disabilities saw a familiar face emerge victorious as Daniel Blunn claimed a record eighth WDBS title.

Having dropped one frame in the group stages to David Moore, Blunn progressed to the final with knockout victories against Olivier Biernaux and David Church, the latter in a repeat of last year’s final in Belgium.

There he would face India’s Raja Subramanian, himself a two-time WDBS champion and competing in his first competition since the 2016 Open Disability Snooker Championship. Previously undefeated in WDBS play, Subramanian maintained his flawless record by coming through the round-robin stage without the loss of a frame, before defeating Gunter D’Hondt and Welshman Ben Rawson to set up a clash of the titans in the final.

As with the wheelchair final, the decisive match would initially prove to be a closely contested affair, Blunn taking each of the first two frames on the pink to move two ahead with a possible three to play.

Ultimately however the 27-year-old from Sutton Coldfield would save his best until last, dominating the third and final frame with a top break of 35 to seal his third consecutive WDBS title following previous wins at the Northern Classic and Champion of Champions tournaments.

Blunn also made the high-break in his classification group with an excellent run of 55 during his quarter-final match.

Challenge Cup

The Challenge Cup competition for players not qualified for the knockout rounds was contested between Danielle Findlay and Phil Woodwiss. Although Woodwiss was competing in his second Challenge Cup final in the space of a month following success at the Northern Classic, as in 2018 it would prove to be Findlay’s day as she repeated her success from last March with a 2-0 victory.

Once again WDBS would like to thank club owner Olivier Vandenbohede and his team at The Trickshot for their generous hospitality during the three-day event. We would also like to thank all of the players who made the trip to Bruges as WDBS continues to expand outside of the UK.

View full tournament results from the main competition via MySnookerStats here.

View event photos at our Facebook page here.

View the updated WDBS Roll of Honour here.

Hazel Grove Hosts Successful Disability Snooker Event

The first World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) event of 2019 was staged at the Hazel Grove Snooker Club last weekend.

The Northern Classic, sponsored by BB Scaffolding, welcomed players with a variety of physical and learning disabilities to contest six individual competitions across the weekend.

Physical disabilities

There was a familiar winner in the latest Groups 1-2 wheelchair competition as Daniel Lee completed the successful defence of his Northern Classic title with a 3-0 victory against Aslam Abubaker of India.

Winner of the mixed-classification Welsh Open and Champion of Champions competitions already this season, Lee progressed from his three-player round robin group with victories against Tony Southern (3-2) and Shahab Siddiqui (3-1), while Abubaker comfortably saw off Scotland’s Gavin Gormley and Glyn Lloyd without the loss of a frame.

Following a first close frame won by Lee however, the next two would be more one-sided as the 39-year-old secured his first silverware of the new year.

In Group 3 there was a comeback victory for John Teasdale after the Lancaster potter recovered from 2-0 down to defeat Joe Hardstaff 3-2 in the final.

Competing in a newly-revised classification group exclusively open to players with absent or significant upper limb impairments, both came through a four-player round robin group, with Teasdale claiming his first WDBS title since the Challenge Cup back at the 2016 Manchester Classic.

With a number of players having switched from Group 3 to Group 4 for this event, there was a bumper 21-player field with previous winners from both groups to contest the title.

Ultimately however it was 27-year-old Daniel Blunn who emerged victorious to secure a record eighth WDBS win following a 3-0 victory against Peter Yelland.

Competing as a Group 4 player for the first time, Blunn came through his group with a perfect 6-0 record before defeating John Fenwick and David Church in a close semi-final to reach an unprecedented 11th final.

His opponent Peter Yelland meanwhile had a marathon final day in Stockport, initially coming through a three-way play-off match to secure his place in the knockout rounds, before defeating Andy Johnson, Danielle Findlay and defending champion William Thomson to reach the final.

It would though be Blunn who would prevail with a whitewash victory in the showpiece match to extend his unique record of having won a title during each year since the formation of WDBS in 2015.

The highest break of the weekend was made in this competition by Scotland’s William Thomson with a run of 64 during the group stage.

The final competition for players with physical disabilities was won by Preston’s Mickey Chambers, who completed the successful defence of his Group 5 Northern Classic title with a 3-1 success against David Weller.

Chambers, who has previously played for England’s amputee football team, had won his previous two WDBS events and maintained his flawless run for the loss of just two frames during the weekend.

Learning disabilities

The Group 6A competition for people with learning disabilities saw a repeat final from the previous event in Hull, but a different result as Mohammed Faisal Butt defeated Mike Busst 3-1 to claim his maiden WDBS title.

There was however a further repeat winner in the Group 6B tournament as Daniel Harwood claimed his seventh title with a 4-0 final victory against Leroy Williams.

It was their second meeting of the weekend after the pair had earlier met in a five-player group stage, which proved to be far closer with Harwood edging their initial contest 3-2, before the two faced each other again in a one-sided final.

Challenge Cup

The Challenge Cup competition for players not qualified for the knockout rounds was contested between Phil Woodwiss and Wayne Grew, with Skipton’s Woodwiss coming through a 2-0 winner to win his first WDBS medal.

Woodwiss competed in his first competition at the Welsh Open last summer and has been a regular face at events since competing in Group 5.

Open day

Once again the event began with a special open day, which welcomed both regular faces and a number of local organisations to come and try snooker and receive coaching and advice at the Go Green Energy Coaching Zone.

Among those to attend were students from two local students, as well as members of the Stockport Cerebral Palsy Society. They were joined by Councillor Walter Brett, Mayor of Stockport for 2018/19 and Coronation Street actor Liam Bairstow, who plays Alex Warner in the ITV soap.

DSActive

The event was also supported by DSActive as part of the new partnership between the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association and the Down’s Syndrome Association, with the aim of providing more opportunities for people with Down’s syndrome to play snooker.

Prior to the event a special workshop was run by DSActive for individuals associated with WDBS including the board of directors, referees and coaches. This provided important information about terminology, communication and awareness to enhance the way in which WDBS events are run to give players with Down’s syndrome the best possible experience.

The workshop will also lead to the first snooker club-based sessions led by coaches who attended the session accredited by DSActive, based at clubs affiliated the English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards.

WDBS would like to thank our title sponsors BB Scaffolding, represented by owner Bradley Wosahlo and his business partner Brett Downs, as well as club owner Dino Georgiou and his team for their wonderful hospitality over the course of the weekend.

View full tournament results from the main competition via MySnookerStats here.

View event photos at our Facebook page here.

View the updated WDBS Roll of Honour here.