Tag: Mickey Chambers

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.

Champions Crowned in Northampton

Last weekend saw the staging of the record-breaking Fizz Open Disability Snooker Championship at Barratts Snooker Club in Northampton.

The third event of the 2018/19 season organised by World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) boasted an incredible field of 79 competitors across the weekend, smashing the previous record of 55 set at the Welsh Open earlier this year. Players from all eight disability classification groups contested six individual titles, with a mix of new and former champions taking top honours.

Physical disabilities

In the Group 1-2 category for wheelchair players it was Aslam Abubaker who won his first WDBS title. A former runner-up at this event last year in Wolverhampton and July’s Welsh Open, it was to be third time lucky as he defeated Shahab Siddiqui 2-0 to secure victory.

“I am delighted to win,” said Abubaker. “It has been a marvellous snooker tournament and I’m really pleased to get over the line and get a win on the board.”

The Group 3 ambulant competition saw Scotland’s William Thomson complete a hat-trick of WDBS victories with a resounding 4-0 success against defending champion Daniel Blunn. Thomson, who has HMSN type 2, dropped just one frame throughout the event and also made the weekend-high break of 66 across all classifications on his way to the title.

It was a similar story in Group 4-5 as Preston’s Mickey Chambers made it two titles from two with a 3-1 success against 2017 champion David Church. Chambers, who is a lower leg amputee and also represents England’s amputee football team, progressed through to the final without the loss of a frame and was delighted to end the weekend on top again.

“I am very happy both to win and how I was playing all weekend,” said Chambers. “I’ve come up against some new players that I have never played before but I just tried to implement my game and scare my opponents really.

“It has been a long weekend but a fantastic one. I met some really good people and really great players from all different groups. It has been an honour to be involved and I want to thank the sponsors and everyone who came – literally the last frame there you can hear a pin drop and everyone was watching, everyone was involved.”

Groups 6-8

The remaining three events for players with learning and sensory disabilities each saw repeat victories for the trio of players who came out on top at February’s UK Open tournament also in Northampton.

Daniel Harwood completed the successful defence of his Fizz Open title with a dominant 4-0 victory against fellow Liverpudlian Leroy Williams in the final. With four breaks over 30 during the weekend, Harwood dropped just one frame on his way to a fourth WDBS title, the most for a Group 6 player so far.

It was a similar story for former professional Paul Smith who also claimed his fourth WDBS win with a 4-1 success against first-time finalist Ronnie Allen from Wales. Having come through a tight five-player round robin group, Smith defeated Robert Craft in the semi-finals before seeing off Allen in the decisive match to secure yet another title.

“I am very happy with the win and have enjoyed every bit of it,” said Smith. “It is a long day, but most enjoyable and, as always, expertly run. It is like one big family and a joy to be here. I really enjoyed meeting and playing with Ronnie in the final, he is a gracious and humble guy and a very good player too.”

Finally, there was also further glory for Shabir Ahmed who defeated Nikolas De Whytell 4-2 to secure victory. Ahmed did not drop a frame on his way to the final, before seeing off another first-time finalist in De Whytell to win his fourth WDBS crown and confirm his status as the most successful deaf player so far.

“There have been so many players and I have had to be really focused and determined,” said Ahmed. “The final was really difficult, it was a battle, but in the end, I won and I am very happy and pleased with myself. I just want to carry on and keep winning!”

Side-events

The mixed classification Challenge Cup for competitors who did not progress to the knockout rounds of the main tournament was won by Richard Gott and Richard Bradburn, who defeated David Grant and Danny Luton in the final.

It is a second doubles victory for Gott of 2018 after his previous triumph back in Cwmbran this summer.

There was also a win for John Fenwick in our first-ever WDBS billiards competition held on Friday after he defeated Daniel Blunn in a close final to secure victory.

Open day success

Once again, the weekend began with a successful Friday open day which saw visitors including international Paralympic broadcaster Rob Walker, professional stars Kyren Wilson and Harvey Chandler, as well as local MP Michael Ellis and Mayor of Northampton Cllr Tony Ansell stop by to support the event.

The event was also generously supported by FizzThinks360, with company founder Jonny ‘Fizz’ Welch and his team in attendance during the weekend.

WDBS Vice-Chairman Simon Berrisford said: “It has been a fantastic weekend with so many entries. It has been extremely busy but everyone seems happy, we have seen some really high-quality snooker and some good finals on the way.

“It has been great to see so many players travel from overseas and this is what we want to see moving forwards, more nationalities getting involved. The support from Belgium has been fantastic, we were there in March and now they are coming to our events. We’ve had Andy Lam from Hong Kong and the guys from Poland have really enjoyed their first event too.”

We would finally like to thank everybody at Barratts Snooker Club, for their support during the weekend once again. We are also delighted that during the weekend the venue became the latest venue to sign up to the 147 Club, the official club affiliation scheme of the English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards.

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.

Image of snooker balls

Watch: New WDBS Video

Watch our new video as we hear from some of our World Disability Billiards and Snooker players about their stories and their experiences at WDBS events.

The video features Mickey Chambers, Robert Craft, Kal Mattu, Niteshk Chavda, Lee Finbow, Lewis Knowles, Christof Niklaus, William Thomson and interpreter Yvonne Thomas.

Thank you to Jamie Hyde for his hard work both filming and producing this video for us.

Watch below or via the WPBSA YouTube channel HERE.

Mickey Chambers Interview

Reigning WDBS Northern Classic (Group 4-5) champion Mickey Chambers was recently interviewed by BBC Lancashire Sport during World Snooker Disability Day in Sheffield.

Listen to the interview here: https://audioboom.com/posts/6856528-leyland-amputee-footballer-mickey-chambers-talks-about-adding-snooker-success-to-his-cv-with-a-title-at-his-first-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.