Tag: Nick Neale

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 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.

Disability Champions Crowned in Swindon

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) held its first event of the year for visually impaired and deaf players at Jesters Snooker Hall in Swindon last weekend.

The Southern Classic saw 49 players from four classification groups battle it out across two days, with a mix of new and returning faces in action.

The competitive play followed an initial open day which welcomed a variety of guests including students from Crowdys Hill School, representatives from Vision West of England and Robert Buckland QC MP (Swindon South).

Groups 6A / 6B

Group 6A saw Faisal Butt claim his second successive title following a 3-1 victory against David Mac.

Champion last month at the Northern Classic, Butt progressed through the round robin stage without the loss of a frame before the 39-year-old defeated Warren Ealy and Michael Busst to reach the final.

His opponent Mac meanwhile was competing in his first standalone Group 6A event and having achieved his best-ever match break of 29, booked his place in the final with a deciding-frame success against Michael Farrell.

The title match in our tournament for people with learning disabilities saw the opening two frames shared, before Butt claimed the following two to secure victory.

In Group 6B there was a long-awaited second title triumph for Leroy Williams, who completed a comeback 6-4 victory against debutant Christopher Goldsworthy in the final.

Having both progressed from a five-player group, it was 26-year-old Goldsworthy who raced into a 3-0 lead, before Williams crucially grabbed the fourth on the final black ahead of the mid-session interval to get a frame on the board.

Although Goldsworthy would take the first on their resumption to restore his three-frame lead, from there it was all Williams as the former Northern Classic champion won five in a row to turn the tables and end a run of five final defeats stretching back over 13 months.

Group 7

In the Group 7 competition for people with visual impairments there was a third successive title win for Nick Neale who defeated Welshman Ronnie Allen 4-0 in the final.

Once again Neale dominated the breaks list with a top run of 76 during the weekend and having progressed through his five-player group with a 100% record, saw off four-time champion Paul Smith in the semi-finals to reach the title match.

Allen meanwhile came through the same group in second place, before defeating David Baker in the last four to set up a re-match with Neale.

Ultimately however it was to be Neale’s day as he needed just 63 minutes to complete a whitewash victory and secure his fifth-career WDBS title.

Group 8

Shabir Ahmed defeated long-term rival Lewis Knowles 3-1 in the final to capture a record sixth Group 8 title since he joined the WDBS Tour two years ago.

Having each topped their groups during the opening day of play, the pair progressed through the knockout rounds without dropping a frame to set up their fifth final meeting.

As is often the case it was a cagey affair between the two with every frame coming down to at least the final pink. It was multiple champion Ahmed who took the first two and looked to be set to complete a whitewash victory in the third, before Knowles cleared with 31 to steal the frame and keeps his hopes alive.

Ahmed was not to be denied however and subsequently clinched the fourth frame on the pink to get over the line and secure his first title of 2019.

Challenge Cup

The Challenge Cup competition for players not qualified for the knockout rounds was won by Gary Gallacher, who defeated Lee Finbow 2-0 to secure his second gold medal almost three years on from his first at the Woking Open in May 2016.

As always, the WDBS Team would like to extend its thanks to our hosts at Jesters Snooker Hall and to all of the players, supporters and officials to helped to make the event possible.

Our next event for players from Groups 7-8 will be the Disability Classic which is to run from 17-19 May at the Cueball Derby. Entry for the event will be available shortly.

View full tournament results from the Southern Classic via the WPBSA Tournament Manager here.

View event photos at our Facebook page here.

View the updated WDBS Roll of Honour here.

Southern Classic 2019: Tournament Preview

The World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) circuit moves on to Swindon this weekend with the 2019 Southern Classic.

The three-day event takes place for the first time at Jesters Snooker Hall and will include the first tournaments of the year for players from WDBS classification groups 7-8 (sensory disabilities), as well at the latest competitions for our groups 6A and 6B (intellectual disabilities) players.

Open Day

Once again the weekend will begin on Friday with our regular open day, open to people with all disabilities who are encouraged to come along and try snooker regardless of previous experience. A mix of both technical coaching and fun activities will be provided by our team of WPBSA World Snooker coaches at the Go Green Energy Coaching Zone.

We are also looking forward to welcoming a number of special guests for the day, including local schools, team members from local charity Wiltshire Sight and also Robert Buckland QC MP (Conservative, South Swindon).

Groups 6A / 6B

As at last month’s Northern Classic in Stockport, players from both Groups 6A and 6B will compete across two days in separate competitions.

Group 6A is open to people who have an IQ under 75 and evidence of adaptive behaviour or social adaption and so far the group has seen victories for Mike Busst and Mohamed Faisal Butt since it was introduced late last year. Both players will be back in action at Jesters as part of a bumper 16-player field which will include a large contingent from Bristol.

Meanwhile over in Group 6B, which is made up of competitors who have an IQ over 75 and Autism Spectrum Disorder, the field includes the likes of former Northern Classic winner Leroy Williams and reigning Humber Classic champion Peter Geronimo who are among those looking to claim the title.

Joining them will be youngster Oliver Hanson and two newcomers Robert Brennan and Christopher Goldsworthy.

Group 7

Our latest Group 7 event for people with visual disabilities boasts a strong 11-player field which is set to include three debutants in Swindon.

Among the favourites to take the title will be Nick Neale and Paul Smith who between them have won eight of the nine tournaments staged for this group during the past three years, Mike Gillespie’s triumph in Derby back in 2017 the exception to the rule.

They will be joined by regular players including David Baker, and Ron Allen and Bob Craft, all of whom are former WDBS finalists.

Group 8

The biggest field during the weekend will be for the Group 8 deaf competition with 18 players set to battle it out to become champion.

Five-time champion Shabir Ahmed will head to Swindon as the man to beat on the back of his latest success in Hull last November, while the man who defeated him last year at the Champion of Champions Lewis Knowles will be hoping to stop him and claim his second WDBS title.

Former Hull Open champion Blake Munton, Welshman Adam Townsend and regular Tony Davies will be among the other familiar faces joining nine first-time WDBS players going for the title.

The Southern Classic runs from 22-24 March 2019 at Jesters Snooker Hall in Swindon and you can follow updates online at our website and via our social media pages.

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.

Winners Crowned at Champion of Champions

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) successfully staged its prestigious new Parris Cues Champion of Champions event for the first time last weekend in Gloucester.

Held at the South West Snooker Academy, the event brought together 24 players who competed across six competitions representing each of our regular disability classification groups to determine this year’s overall champions.

As well as prize money, the players were competing for the magnificent Nick Oliver Trophy (learn more about Nick and his story here), as well as a place at next year’s World Snooker Federation Championships in Dubai, with travel/hotel costs to be paid by regular WDBS sponsors 360Fizz.

Physical disabilities

There was victory for Daniel Lee in the Groups 1-2 wheelchair competition as he defeated the experienced Tony Southern 4-2 to win his biggest WDBS title to date.

Already a three-time WDBS champion coming into the event, Lee narrowly defeated two-time WDBS champion Graham Bonnell 3-2 in his opening match before edging out Craig Welsh and Tony Southern to qualify for the final, while Southern also survived a close match with Bonnell on his way to securing second position in the group.

It was a close final in which Tony threatened to a force a deciding frame, but it was Lee who was able to pot the final colours and secure victory.

“It has been a great honour to be part of this event this weekend,” said Lee. “I am very happy. The prize on offer [a place in Dubai] was definitely in the background and it was a very tight, tough match in the final. Tony has been around a long time and it became a bit of a battle, but I am just happy to get through it.

“It [a place at the WSF Championships] has given me motivation to practice for sure. To be able to go out there and represent WDBS and show what people in a wheelchair can do, I will give myself every chance and practice hard. Realistically it is going to be tough for me but I’m going to enjoy the experience and I’m grateful to be there. I just want to go over and promote this brand [WDBS] and what we are all about. We will conduct ourselves in the right way, enjoy it and give it our best shot.”

In Group 3 there was a win for Daniel Blunn who became the first player to reach the milestone of having won six WDBS titles following a 4-2 victory against Scotland’s William Thomson in the final.

The event marked a significant turnaround for Daniel who lost 4-0 to Thomson in the final of last month’s Open Disability Snooker Championship in Northampton, his third final loss to his rival since 2016. This weekend however saw Blunn record a comfortable 3-0 victory against the Scot in the round robin group stage, before coming out on top a 4-2 winner in the overall group final to book his place on the plane to Dubai next spring.

“I know I have won five tournaments prior to this but I have been beaten by William in three finals so obviously I am glad to win this one, it is my time,” said Blunn, who has cerebral palsy. “I’ve beaten him before in group games here and in Preston, but never in a final so it was good to get one back I suppose. He didn’t play as well as he can to be honest and I didn’t either, but I was able to pot the crucial balls and crucial times, stay in front and got through.”

Earlier this year Daniel became the inaugural winner of the WDBS Belgian Open in his classification, a trip that was actually his first ever overseas and he can now look forward to his second snooker tournament outside of the UK in Dubai.

“I will have to bring some sun tan lotion, it’s quite hot so I hear!” added Blunn. “It will be very tough but there are six pockets, we have all got tips on the end of our cues, let’s have a go and see what we can do. I don’t see why we shouldn’t be there. There’s no reason why we can’t compete among able-bodied people, everyone can play snooker.”

Meanwhile in Group 4-5 we saw David Church come through the field to win his second WDBS title with a 4-1 victory against David Moore.

Having been invited to the event as a late replacement for India’s Raja Subramanian, David Moore impressed in the round robin group stages by winning both of his matches to top the group. Despite taking the opening frame in the final however, it was Church, who had already come through a long match on Sunday morning against Andy Johnson to qualify for the final, who took the next four to win his first title since the 2017 Open Disability Snooker Championship.

“I didn’t really play well all weekend really, but I kept hanging in there, doing what I could do and I managed to get the win on the weekend,” said Church. “To come through a four and a half hour match in the final knowing that whoever won would get to the final, I was happy I got through and that I had given myself a chance. Now I’ve won this one, I have got a trophy to take home and a plane ticket to Dubai so I am very happy.

“Dubai will be the furthest that I have ever travelled, it’s amazing whether I win a match or not. I am not going to go there expecting to win, I am just going to play and if I win a game I will be happy and if not it’s a great experience.”

Groups 6-8

In the Group 6 classification group for players with intellectual disabilities there was a fifth WDBS title for Daniel Harwood, who defeated fellow Liverpudlian Andrew Galley 5-1 in the final. The pair had already enjoyed a high-quality match in the round robin stages which saw four breaks made over 50 including a tournament-high run of 77 by Harwood on his way to a 4-2 win and it was the serial champion who was able to repeat that victory in the final.

In Group 7 there was a third WDBS title for Coventry’s Nick Neale, who whitewashed four-time champion Paul Smith to complete a dominant weekend during which he dropped just two frames in Gloucester.

“I am over the moon because there is such a big prize at the end of it,” said Neale. “It has been a long couple of days but I am really happy to win. It means the world to me because it has been a long road back for me to pick my cue up again, I didn’t think that I would ever play again but my girlfriend and my dad gave me a kick up the backside and said I was too good not to play. This is a dream because I have put a lot of hard work in and to be going to Dubai to play in such a great event, I am really looking forward to it.

“My goal coming into the weekend was to try to play good snooker and to get to the final and then I thought to myself over the best of nine, even if you go two or three behind you can still get back into the match. The atmosphere out there was great and to be back playing in an arena like that was definitely a good buzz.”

The final match of the weekend to finish was a dramatic Group 8 final which saw Lewis Knowles edge out Shabir Ahmed 5-4 to win his first ever WDBS title, after three previous final defeats to Ahmed during the past 18 months.

The tone was set in the opening frame which was won by Knowles on a re-spotted black, with the underdog moving into a 4-2 lead after the first six frames. Back however came four-time WDBS champion Ahmed, a clearance of 22 in frame eight bringing him back level and forcing a deciding frame for the title.

Having suffered close defeats to Ahmed in the past, it was impressive to see Knowles perhaps play his best frame of the match when it really mattered, eventually coming through on the colours to secure the title and become this year’s Champion of Champion in the deaf classification group.

The event was sponsored for the first time by Parris Cues, with founder and renowned cue maker John Parris on site throughout the weekend and on hand to present the trophies. Each player received their own trophy to take home and keep in recognition of their achievement this year, as well as being presented with the stunning Nick Oliver Trophy, a perpetual trophy which will have the names of each of our winners engraved on its base following this event.

WDBS would like to thank John for his support and also Cathy and Vince, who joined us on what was an emotional final day of the event for both as their late son Nick Oliver was remembered during the presentation of the trophy.

We would also like to thank Tony Cannon, who volunteered his services to help us provide live streaming of a WDBS event via YouTube for the first time, while regular helper Michael Day also provided excellent commentary during the weekend, supported by other members of the WDBS team and players. You can watch back all of the footage from the weekend here.

Finally, we would also like to thank all of the players, officials, supporters and our venue at the South West Snooker Academy, which of course was where the WDBS began with its first event back in 2015. The continued growth of the organisation owes its thanks to the support that has been received by many and we will continue to provide more and more opportunities for disabled people to play cuesports in the future.

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: Live Stream

Watch our live stream from the Parris Cues Champions of Champions 2018 at the South West Snooker Academy below:

Streaming schedule:

Saturday 20th October

  • Dan Harwood v Leroy Williams (G6)
  • William Thomson v Daniel Blunn (G3)
  • Nick Neale v Mike Gillespie (G7)

Sunday 21st October

  • TBC
  • FINAL TBC

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.