Tag: Danielle Findlay

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.

Daniel Lee Wins in Wales

Daniel Lee emerged victorious from a record-breaking field of 55 players to win this year’s Welsh Open in Cwmbran last weekend following a 2-1 victory against Aslam Abubaker.

Organised by World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS), the event returned to Redz Snooker Club following a successful first staging a year ago and once again welcomed players with a range of disabilities including physical, hearing, visual and learning disabilities who competed against each other across the weekend.

Incredibly, the quarter-final line-up included players from seven of the eight WDBS classification groups (2-7), in a demonstration of the strength in depth across the field and the inclusivity of what was the biggest WDBS field to date in its three-year history.

Title hat-trick for Lee

Aylebury’s Daniel Lee, previously successful at Groups 1-2 WDBS tournaments in Wolverhampton and Preston during the past 12 months, made it through to his first mixed-classification final following victories against Ron Allen, David Moore and another former WDBS champion David Church in the knockout rounds.

There he would face fellow wheelchair player Aslam Abubaker, who stunned the defending champion Daniel Blunn 3-1 at the last 16 stage before adding the scalps of Lewis Knowles and three-time Group 6 champion Dan Harwood to qualify for the showpiece match.

In keeping with the rest of the weekend, the final proved to be a dramatic affair which swung one way and then the other, eventually coming down to the final colours in a deciding frame. Ultimately it was Lee who would prevail after Abubaker had looked set to win before snookering himself on what would have been the match-ball pink when attempting to clear.

The highest break of the six-red competition was 43, made by Nick Neale during the group stage.

New doubles winners crowned

Elsewhere the Mixed Classification Doubles event saw Richard Gott and Danielle Findlay claim victory following a 2-0 success against Graham Bonnell and newcomer Peter Yelland.

The competition, which included players who had not qualified for Sunday’s knockout rounds following the previous day’s group matches, saw 13 pairs battle it out for the title and Gott make it third time lucky having twice finished as runner-up at the Hull Open, while Findlay claimed her second victory following success at the Challenge Cup in Belgium earlier this year.

The weekend was generously supported by tournament sponsors FizzThinks360 and RBF Comms, with Jonny ‘Fizz’ Welch on hand throughout the final Sunday to present the medals and participation certificates to the competitors.

The event was also attended by leading World Snooker referee and tournament director Paul Collier, who kindly donned his white gloves to officiate several matches during the round robin stages.

WDBS would also like to thank all of the players who travelled to compete in the event and our hosts Redz Snooker Club for their support during 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.

Joe Hardstaff plays snooker shot

Belgium Hosts Landmark WDBS Event

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) successfully staged its first-ever event outside of the UK last weekend in Belgium.

Held at The Trickshot in Bruges, the competition saw a mix of established WDBS players and local challengers come together for an event which represented another significant milestone for disability snooker globally.

There was a home victory in the wheelchair competition (Group 1-2) as Kurt Deklerck defeated Tony Southern 3-1 in the final to take the title.

Both players were in impressive form during the group stage, each winning three matches to progress to the showpiece match, but it was to be Deklerck’s day as the 22-time Belgian national champion emerged victorious to add his first WDBS crown to a personal CV which now boasts 114 snooker titles.

For the first time the event also saw a combined ambulant tournament staged for players from Groups 3-4, which saw Daniel Blunn come through to take a record fifth career WDBS event title with a 3-0 success against David Church.

Having dropped just one frame during the group stage, Blunn proved unstoppable in the knockout rounds as he underlined his position as the most successful WDBS player since the formation of the organisation back in 2015.

In the Challenge Cup competition for players who were unable to progress from the group stage of their respective competitions, there was a maiden victory for Danielle Findlay, who defeated Belgium’s Patrick Puttemans to take the gold medal.

The tournament was sponsored by 888lcd.co.uk, with all players and officials wearing the company logo on their waistcoats and branding prominently displayed around the venue. The event was also backed by the Hotel Velotel Bruges, which provided accommodation at a special rate for players competing in the event.

Club owner Olivier Vandenbohede and his team could not do enough to help the event and further support was also provided by leading World Snooker referee Olivier Marteel, who donned his white gloves to officiate during the weekend

The tournament also received extensive media support from IMG, who filmed a feature to be broadcast during the BBC’s coverage of this year’s professional World Championship next month, as well as regional news channel Focus WTV who interviewed players and officials during the weekend.

WDBS Chairman Nigel Mawer QPM said: “We have been made to feel so welcome in the beautiful city of Bruges and were extremely impressed with the club and the support that we have received in staging this event.

“I would also like to thank everybody who has helped to make this event happen, with a special mention for one of our regular Group 7 players Robert Craft, who made the trip to referee, as well as Reg Davies who not only provided coaching during the weekend, but played a key role in identifying the club as a suitable venue for the tournament.

“Following the success of the weekend, we did not hesitate to agree for the WDBS Belgian Open to return to The Trickshot and so I am delighted to announce that the event will return on 8-10 March 2019.”

The next WDBS event will be the Paul Hunter Disability Classic for players with learning and sensory disabilities, to be held at the Cueball Derby on 18-20 May 2018. Entries for the event are now open, with full information and entry forms available HERE.