Tag: David Baker

Disability Snooker Success at Hull Open

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) brought the curtain down on a record-breaking year for disability snooker with the staging of the third Hull Open tournament last weekend.

Once again held at the Tradewell Snooker Club in Hull, the event saw competitions held for deaf and partially sighted players across the weekend, as well as a one-day competition for people with learning disabilities on Friday.

The event was sponsored for the first time by Humber Fish Co, with co-owner James Stockdale attending during the event’s final day for the medal presentation to the players.

Neale defends title

Coventry’s Nick Neale completed the successful defence of his Hull Open title following a comfortable 4-0 victory against David Baker in Sunday’s final.

Neale had already made fond memories at the event which saw him make his WDBS debut back in 2016, before he won his maiden title a year and he was once again the standout player in Group 7 this time around.

Having dropped two frames during the round robin group stage, he then saw off David Martin in the semi-finals and then David Baker in the final with a perfect record. He also made seven of the top ten breaks in the Group including a top run of 68.

Five-star Shabir

In Group 8 there was victory for Blackburn’s Shabir Ahmed, who defeated newcomer Mick Chew 4-0 in the final to win his fifth WDBS title.

Ahmed, who had previously not come out on top in Hull, did not have things all his own way however and came within one ball of defeat during a tight semi-final contest with Daniel Harvest, before coming through in a deciding frame.

The final would prove more one-sided however as the man who only last week finished in third place at this year’s Deaf Sports Personality of the Year Awards, whitewashed Grimsby’s Mick Chew to secure the title.

It was an extra-special weekend for Ahmed as he made the weekend high-break of 81 during the round-robin group stages.

Harwood, Busst victorious in Group 6

For the first time our Friday event saw separate tournaments held for both people who have learning disabilities (Group 6A) and those with autism spectrum disorder (Group 6B).

In Group 6A there was a maiden title success for regular player Mike Busst, who defeated Faisal Butt in the final to secure victory.

Meanwhile in Group 6B there was an impressive sixth WDBS victory for Liverpool’s Daniel Harwood, who topped a six-player group ahead of Andrew Galley.

The latest success for Harwood sees him draw level with Group 3 star Daniel Blunn for the most WDBS titles won by an individual player since the first event was held back in November 2015.

Once again WDBS would like to thank all of the players, officials, supporters and our hosts at the Tradewell Snooker Centre who have also provided an extra prize to the finalists of both the Group 7 and 8 events, who will be invited to attend an exhibition with snooker icon Jimmy White early next year.

We would also like to thank our coaching team of Steve Rutter and Chris Lovell, who managed the Go Green Energy Coaching Zone during the weekend and helped both groups and individual players to engage with snooker.

Our next event will be the Northern Classic which will run from 8-10 February 2018, with further information to be announced very shortly.

View full tournament results from the competition via MySnookerStats here.

View event photos at our Facebook page here.

View the updated WDBS Roll of Honour here.

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.

Gary Gallacher Q&A

This week World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) heads to Cwmbran for the first ever WDBS Welsh Open, featuring a record 45 players from all classification groups.

Among those in action will be Gary Gallacher, a player who has been with us since our first Group 7 event in Woking over a year ago and has been an ever-present since.

Like Phillip Murphy who we spoke to recently, Gary is from Wales and so we caught up with him to preview our latest event…

You have been with us since our first event for Group 7 players in Woking last year, can you tell us what snooker and these WDBS events in particular have done for you?

I watched snooker on TV as a child and started playing in my teens. Now in my mid fifties, I still love the game as much as I did all those years ago. Obviously my disability has held me back but the WDBS has now given me a chance to play competitively within a level playing field.

What have you been able to learn from the players that you have played against?

We all have the same passion about snooker and it goes to show that no matter what disability you have, anything is possible.

Photo of David Baker and Gary Gallacher

How have you found the camaraderie at these events, the social side and getting to know fellow regulars like Bob Craft and David Baker.

It has been absolutely fantastic. Coming in as a new player (Woking), I was made to feel welcome straight away and although we are all extremely competitive, we always find time for a chat and a few beers with each other, comparing cues, makes, woods, tips etc. The list is endless!

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

I have ‘Intolerable Diplopia’ (incurable constant double vision). I have had five operations during my lifetime on each eye along with botox injections and various other interventions to no avail. When I play snooker my vision alters with every angle due to also having a horizontal and vertical defect. I am unable to get down to a shot for too long as each eye picks up a different image (they don’t work together), hence I have to line the shot up before I get down to it and play it from memory rather than visually. If I take any longer than a few seconds I have to stand up and start again, this puts pressure on me to play quickly. The greater the distance the more difficult it gets, It’s really frustrating.

You recently joined us for Disability Day at the Crucible, at which your family came with you, how did you find that day?

It was a dream come true to be invited to represent the WDBS at World Disability Snooker Day and was one of my proudest moments. To play alongside such a prestigious event as the World Snooker Championships, tour the Crucible and meet past and present champions was an absolute pleasure. It was something I never thought I would achieve and it’s all down to being part of the WDBS.

Next up we have the first Welsh Open, which will be held in your home country, how much are you looking forward to that?

I can’t wait – counting down the minutes and looking forward to a shorter train journey!

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

If you are passionate about snooker don’t let disability hold you back. The tournaments, the players, the support and the coaching are second to none. Just get in there and show what you can do.

Hull Stages World Disability Snooker Event

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) held its second event for players with sensory disabilities last weekend at the Tradewell Snooker Centre in Kingston upon Hull.

The inaugural Hull Open welcomed players from classification Groups 7-8, including players who have either hearing or visual disabilities and saw entries more than double from the previous event for the same categories in Woking earlier this year.

The event was supported by prize fund sponsors Hudgell Solicitors, Think Telecom and the Hull Deaf Centre, who all contributed to a prize fund of £600 across both competitions.

Paul Smith shakes hand of Allan Morley of Think Telecom

Paul Smith and Allen Morley of sponsor Think Telecom

As in Woking, the Group 7 competition for players with visual impairments was won by Paul Smith from Stevenage, who defeated WDBS debutant Nick Neale 4-1 in the event final.

Having lost 3-0 to Neale in the group stages on Saturday, Smith, who lost one eye in a shooting accident when he was 10 and previously competed on the main tour during the 1990s, turned the tables in the final to become the third player so far to win multiple WDBS titles.

There was some consolation for Neale however as in addition to making it through to the final, he also took home the Group 7 high break prize for his opening day run of 40.

Andy Burton and WDBS Chairman Nigel Mawer

Andy Burton and WDBS Chairman Nigel Mawer

The Group 8 final was contested by two WDBS debutants, Warrington’s Andy Burton securing his first gold medal with a 3-0 victory against Hull’s Richard Gott.

A particularly competitive tournament, having received entries from players including a number of local players, as well as four members of the Warrington Deaf Snooker League who travelled together, it was Burton who dropped just two frames during the weekend to take the title. The high break prize was won by Mike Bryan who hit 39 during the group stage.

As at previous events, there was also a Challenge Cup event held, which was won by Group 7 semi-finalist David Baker, who defeated Hull’s Kevin Bentley over a single frame to add to his silver medal from Woking.

The event was preceded by a Friday open day, which as well as the players involved in the weekend tournament, welcomed players from Selby Gateway Leisure Mencap and NHS Humber CTLD.

The weekend was supported by WPBSA World Snooker coaches Bob Hill and Tim Squires, as well as former professional Ian Glover and our team of referees and coaches including those who play at Group 1-5 events.

WDBS director Clive Brown said: “It has been another fantastic weekend and it seems to be have been thoroughly enjoyed by everyone that has taken part as a competitor, as an official or as a helper. It is great to see that the visually impaired and the deaf are increasing in numbers at these events and let’s hope that we can continue to grow them further.”

The next WDBS tournament will be the 2017 Manchester Classic on 10-12 March 2017 at Q’s Sports and Entertainment Bar, Manchester. As in 2016, the event will be open to players with physical disabilities (Groups 1-5) and further information including the entry pack will be made available soon.

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

Final results are available via the following links to MySnookerStats:

WDBS Classification Guide: Group Seven

Today we reach the penultimate part of our guide through the World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) classification system, used to determine which players are eligible to play in WDBS events.

We now turn to the first of our two sensory groups, Group 7, which includes players who have a visual disability.

Check out our group explanations so far:

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 7 (profile 37)

Profile 37: Players with partial sight

As the description above would suggest, Group 7 includes players who are partially sighted as defined under profile 37 of the classification system.

g7

At our previous events this has included players who have lost the use of one eye entirely, or others who have conditions such as diplopia, which causes constant double vision.

The profile does not however include colour blindness, a condition shared by the likes of former world champions Mark Williams and Peter Ebdon.

Player view

The first event staged by the WDBS for Group 7 players was the Woking Open back in May this year, which was won by former professional Paul Smith, who lost one eye in a shooting accident when he was 10.

In the final he defeated Blackburn’s David Baker, who spoke to us recently on World Sight Day about how important snooker has been for him following the loss of his right eye when he was 19 and more recently since he was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

hullbannerpartners2

“I can honestly say that snooker has given me strength to cope in any situation, determination and taught me to never give up,” said Baker. “It helps with concentration, patience and to give you a form of exercise without really knowing it.

“Above all I have been able to meet some fantastic, like-minded people, so overall I can say that snooker has definitely helped me through life and given me some very close friends.”

Hull Open

Our next event for Group 7 players will be the WDBS Hull Open, which gets underway in a fortnight at the Tradewell Snooker Centre in Hull.

There is still time for players with either visual, or hearing impairments to enter the event, with more information available: https://www.wdbs.info/event/wdbs-hull-open-2016/