Tag: Nick Neale

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.

Derby Success for Neale and Ahmed

The Paul Hunter Disability Classic successfully returned to the Cueball Derby last weekend as World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) staged its latest event for players with learning and sensory disabilities.

The final event of the 2017/18 season, the weekend saw a significant increase in entries from the inaugural competition at the same venue a year previously as two past champions claimed their latest WDBS titles.

The Group 7 tournament for players with visual disabilities saw Birmingham’s Nick Neale claim his second WDBS gold medal following a dominant display in Derby.

Nick Neale playing snooker

Following victories against Phillip Murphy and David Baker in the knockout rounds, the title match saw Neale face defending champion Mike Gillespie in a repeat of last November’s Hull Open final. The pair split the opening two frames, but it was the rapidly-improving Neale who added the next two to secure victory.

Neale also secured the highest break of the weekend with a brilliant run of 92, further breaks of 82, 67, 57 and 54 meaning that he finished with four of the five highest breaks of the category.

The Group 8 deaf event meanwhile saw Shabir Ahmed complete the successful defence of his first WDBS title earned year ago following a repeat victory against Lewis Knowles in a dramatic title decider.

A year ago it was Ahmed who ran out a comfortable 3-0 winner but as Knowles moved 2-1 ahead it appeared as though the three-time finalist was closing in on gold for the first time at a WDBS competition. Ahmed however was not to be denied and stormed back to take the final two frames, the last on the final black with a magnificent clearance of 33 from the last red.

The win is Ahmed’s third WDBS title overall and sees him become the first-ever player in Group 8 to claim back-to-back titles following his victory in Northampton back in February, also against Knowles for whom the wait for a maiden title goes on.

Once again the event was sponsored by the Paul Hunter Foundation, with WPBSA World Snooker coach Steve Rutter present on behalf of the Foundation to present medals and certificates to participants and winners. Thank you also to Yvonne Thomas who again provided excellent BSL interpreting throughout the weekend.

The event was visited by professional snooker player Eden Sharav and the Mayor of Derby Councillor John Whitby, who watched our Group 6 players in action during the Friday competition won by WDBS debutant Andrew Galley. WDBS also welcomed Craig Crowley MBE, a well-known figure in the deaf community and former Deaflympics President who visited to discuss future developments with players.

The next stop on the WDBS circuit will be another return trip from 2017, this time to Redz Snooker Club in Cwmbran for the 2018 Welsh Open. Taking place across the weekend of 29 June – 1 July 2018, the unique event will be open to players from all eight disability classification groups and will be played under the 6-Red format of the game.

Full information, including the event entry pack will be released later this week.

New Champions Crowned at Hull Open

The 888lcd.co.uk Hull Open saw new winners this evening in both the Group 7 and 8 competitions staged at the Tradewell Snooker Club.

Returning to the East Yorkshire venue for a second successive year, the event proved to be the biggest yet staged by World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS), with a record 49 players taking part from just three classification groups.

Coventry’s Nick Neale emerged victorious in the Group 7 competition for people with visual disabilities following an emphatic 4-0 final victory against Paul Hunter Disability Classic champion Mike Gillespie. Runner-up at the event 12 months ago, Neale went one better following a weekend which saw him dominate the high breaks chart, recording eight of the ten highest breaks within his category including a top run of 51.

Neale recently grabbed the headlines recently by making his first 147 break in practice and would in fact achieve the rare feat of claiming the title without the loss of a frame. Having topped his group with four wins from four, he then defeated David Baker in the semi-finals to set up the decisive battle against local player Gillespie.

In Group 8 meanwhile there was a dramatic maiden victory for Grimsby’s Blake Munton, who edged out Richard Gott 3-2 to claim the gold medal.

The event was by far the biggest staged for deaf players so far with a record 26 entries received and Blake impressed throughout the weekend in Hull, topping his group without the loss of a frame before defeating Lewis Knowles and David Grant to reach his first WDBS final. Opponent Gott meanwhile also won his group, adding knockout victories against Adam Duke, Mike Bryan and Derby winner Shabir Ahmed to make the Hull final for a second successive year.

Hull

The showpiece match proved the be one of the most dramatic in WDBS history as having taken two of the first three frames, Munton potted ‘match ball’ black in frame four to complete a fantastic clearance, only to see the cue ball come back up the table and hit the rest which had still been left on the table. With a foul correctly called by referee Mark King, the match was sent into a deciding frame, which saw Blake cast aside the obvous disappointment felt to clinch the title.

The Challenge Cup event for players who had not made it through to the knockout rounds following Saturday’s group stages was won by Richard Bradburn, who defeated 16-year-old debutant Ben Chappell 2-1 in the final.

With the support of event sponsors 888lcd.co.uk, J&S Trading and Hudgell Solicitors, prize money was offered to all players who reached the latter stages of both competitions, as well as the Group 6 event won by Daniel Harwood on Friday.

The WDBS tour will return in 2018. Learn more about the events confirmed for next year so far at our Events page.

Nick Neale plays snooker shot

Neale Celebrates 147 Break

Last month WDBS player Nick Neale achieved a special milestone as he made a maximum 147 break for the first time in his career during practice.

The Birmingham potter, who competes as a Group 7 player at WDBS events following the loss of his sight in one eye at the age of 15, has stepped up his practice time in recent months and is ‘over the moon’ that his hard work is already starting to pay off.

“I had been close to making a maximum before,” said Neale. “I knew that something was coming, not necessarily a 147 but something big.”

“I have been practising a lot and on the day I started to pot a few balls, during a proper frame not an exercise like a line-up, and I got to about ten reds and ten blacks when my girlfriend said that I was on a 147 so I thought that I might as well go for it at that point.

“The black from the last red was probably the best pot I played, stunned it up for the yellow and then with all of the colours on their spots, you don’t really miss them and I think that every ball went into the centre of the pocket. I was dead straight on the final black, I didn’t want to roll it in case I got a kick so I played a little soft stun and it went in. It was a good feeling because it’s something that you always strive for as a snooker player.”

Nick Neale with Allan Morley

Neale, who reached the final of his first WDBS event almost a year ago at the 2016 Hull Open, spent nearly ten years away from the sport after the loss of his sight and only recently decided to start playing full-time again, practising for six days a week. Chasing a first WDBS title, he also hopes to be able to take on able-bodied players in other competitions over the coming years.

“I would like to just to see what I can become again,” explained Neale. “I would like to enter some of the seniors events, professional competitions of possible and see if I can do alright in them. I’m never going to win one but if I could win a couple of matches in the amateur rounds it would be nice to be able to play a top pro and I believe I can do that. Why not? It all depends on the draw because there are a lot of amateurs there like us who are going for the fun and to enjoy it.”

Neale will return to WDBS action at next month’s 888lcd.co.uk Hull Open and entries for the Group 7-8 event remain open. There will also be a Group 6 event for players with learning disabilities, to be held alongside our regular open day of people with any disability.

Learn more about the 888lcd.co.uk Hull Open.

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: