Tag: Open Disability Snooker Championship

Photo of Andrew Highfield coaching

Top Coach Backs WDBS

Leading professional snooker coach Andrew Highfield will be among those supporting the WDBS Open Disability Snooker Championship 2017 in Wolverhampton this September.

Highfield, a renowned WPBSA World Snooker coach who has coached players at all levels for nearly 20 years, has pledged £250 to the overall prize fund at the event which will be held at his home club, the Golden Cue in Bilston.

The event will be open to players from Groups 1-5, including both ambulant and wheelchair players with physical disabilities and marks the third staging of the tournament since in inaugural WDBS competition in Gloucester in November 2015.

Andrew Highfield said: “I am really pleased to be supporting the WDBS and looking forward to helping with the coaching on the Friday of the tournament at the Golden Cue in September. The WDBS are doing a great job and everyone at our club is really looking forward to welcoming everyone for a great event”

Learn more about Andrew by checking out his profile page at WPBSA.com

Further information, including the full entry pack will be released in due course. Prize money will once again be available at the event, subject to sponsorship.

Record Event for WDBS

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) staged its biggest event to date last weekend at the South West Snooker Centre, Gloucester.

The second Open Disability Snooker Championship following last year’s inaugural event saw entries almost double in number across five disability classification groups (groups 1-5) from a year ago. As in 2015, three main competitions were contested, together with a Challenge Cup event for players not qualifying for the knockout stages.

First the first time at a WDBS event, prize money was offered to the finalists of each category, as well as the overall high break with the support of Renishaw plc and the Paul Hunter Foundation.


Graham Bonnell successfully defended his title

The Group 1/2 event for wheelchair players saw Oxted’s Graham Bonnell complete a successful defence of the title that he won almost a year ago with a 2-0 victory against Glyn Lloyd in the final.

Bonnell, who earlier this year visited the Alexandra Palace and received a backstage tour at the Masters following his win last year, won all three of his group matches for the loss of just two frames, before defeating Mark Parsons and Lloyd for victory.

Group 3 saw a new winner crowned as Nigel ‘Bandit’ Coton from Goulceby, Lincolnshire came through to claim his first WDBS title.

The 54-year-old, who plays with one arm following nerve damage as a result of a motorbike accident at the age of 17, first defeated 2015 winner Daniel Blunn 2-1 in a dramatic semi-final, before repeating the feat against last year’s runner-up Andrew Harper in the decisive match.

For defeated semi-finalist Blunn however, there was some consolation as he claimed the overall high break prize of £100 provided by the Paul Hunter Foundation, with his opening day run of 49.


Nigel Coton won his first WDBS competition

The Group 4/5 competition saw a second player defend their Gloucester title from last year as India’s Raja Subramanian saw off newcomer David Moore to take victory.

With six breaks over 30 during the weekend, he survived a close match against Cwmbran’s Adam Leighton in the quarter-finals, before defeating countryman Vishal Malhotra in the semi-finals and Moore for the title.

Subramanian will next be in action at the 2016 World Billiards Championship, which runs until 26th October in Leeds.

Finally, the Challenge Cup was won by Daniel Lee, who edged out Birmingham’s Russell Broomhall in a one-frame final.


Raja Subramanian a winner again in Gloucester

For the first time the WDBS also held a Learning Disability Snooker Festival with the support of Special Olympics Gloucestershire. The event included a formal six-red tournament, which saw Rich Yendle defeat David Mac to claim the title. Residents from Leonard Cheshire, who had previously visited the World Championship in Sheffield earlier this year, also visited during the festival and enjoyed opportunities to both watch and play snooker.

As at previous events, the tournament was supported throughout by WPBSA World Snooker coaches Tim Squires, Bob Hill and Danielle Findlay.

WDBS Chairman Nigel Mawer said: “As the Chairman of the WDBS I am really pleased by how we are progressing. We have moved from fewer than 20 entries last year here in Gloucester, to 34 this year and had some long, but rewarding days.

“What I really like about this sport is that you have got players from one category acting as helpers for players in other categories. It is absolutely amazing the camaraderie that is coming out.

“I am very pleased as to where we are, but there is still a long way to go and a lot of work to do.”

Rich Yendle took the G6 title

Rich Yendle took the G6 title

WDBS director Jonathan Adams added: “I think that we have shown fantastic development over the last 12 months and I think that our players who have been with us since the start have been pleasantly surprised as to how we have grown, both on and off the table.

“The pathways that we are putting in place behind the scenes to develop the sport will only enhance players opportunities in the future. We have new talent coming in, both from abroad and within the UK, which is strengthening the classes and can only raise our profile as we grow as a governing body.

“When we have got players helping each other along the way, it gives the feeling of a family and ultimately snooker is accessible for so many people and that is the beautiful thing that I think we display better than anybody else.”

The next WDBS tournament will be the Hull Open which is set to run on 11-13 November 2016 at the Tradewell Snooker Centre, Hull. The event will be the second WDBS event open to players with visual or hearing disabilities (Groups 7-8) and will be supported by prize fund sponsors Hudgell Solicitors and Think Telecom.

As at all WDBS events, players with all disabilities are encouraged to attend the Friday open day and receive free practice and coaching.

You can view photos from the event on our Facebook page at each of the following links:

Gloucester Draws Available

The draws have been made for the 2016 WDBS Open Disability Snooker Championship – with the Group 1-5 tournaments set to get underway on Saturday 15 October at 10am.

Group 1/2 draw: https://www.mysnookerstats.com/tournament/trn482/

Group 3 draw: https://www.mysnookerstats.com/tournament/trn483/

Group 4/5 draw: https://www.mysnookerstats.com/tournament/trn484/

Scores will be updated throughout the competition and so players are encouraged to share the links with friends and family who can follow their progress. If you do not have a photograph and wish to have one, please see Matt Huart before the start of play tomorrow.

WDBS Medal Winners

Gloucester Geared for WDBS

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) is set to stage its fourth ever event this weekend with the 2016 Open Disability Snooker Championship in Gloucester.

The WDBS will return to the South West Snooker Academy, the venue which hosted the very first WDBS event last November. As in 2015, the action will begin with a Friday open day of coaching and practice, together with a learning disability snooker festival for players with learning disabilities (group six), supported by Special Olympics Gloucestershire.

This will be followed by a two-day tournament for groups 1-5 players which will see a record 33 players participate across three competitions. As at previous events, all players not qualifying for their knock-out stages of their classification will be eligible to enter a Challenge Cup event on the second day.

Players returning include all of our event finalists from 2015, including India’s Raja Subramanian, Daniel Blunn from Sutton Coldfield and Oxted’s Graham Bonnell.

While there will be many familiar elements to the event for returning players, there will also be new aspects to the event, which will be the first to have updated scoring and tables throughout the weekend via the MySnookerStats service. The event will also be the first to carry prize money, following support received from global engineering company Renishaw plc.

In view of the high number of entries, players are advised that they will be required to attend for a prompt start at 10:00am on Saturday.

Full coverage and updates throughout the weekend will be available at wdbs.info in addition to our social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook.

Renishaw to Support Open Disability Snooker Championship

Next month’s 2016 WDBS Open Disability Snooker Championship will be supported by Gloucester-based Renishaw plc, one of the world’s leading engineering and scientific technology companies.

As in 2015, the event will be held at the South West Snooker Academy and it promises to be the biggest staged by the WDBS to date, with a record amount of entries already received prior to this Friday’s deadline. The tournament will be the fourth to be staged by the WDBS, following events in Gloucester, Manchester and Woking during the last 12 months.

With the support of Renishaw, the WDBS are further pleased to announce that for the first time at one of its events, prize money will be offered for each of the three competitions (Groups 1-2, Group 3 and Groups 4-5), to be played during the weekend. Provisionally, this will be set at £75.00 for each group winner, with the runner-up to receive £25.00.

The entry deadline for the 2016 Open Disability Snooker Championship is Friday 30th September 2016, meaning that you have just four days to enter and be part of the action in Gloucester. For more information please download the entry pack.

WDBS Partners With Special Olympics Network

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) is today delighted to announce a new partnership with Special Olympics Gloucestershire.

Photograph of group 6 players at South West Snooker AcademySpecial Olympics is an international organisation providing year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. WDBS is a subsidiary body of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) and was created in July 2015 to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to play snooker.

The agreement will see the WDBS work closely with Special Olympics Gloucestershire on innovative new projects in the local area which will provide opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to play snooker. This will also include the support of the upcoming Learning Disability Snooker Festival at the WDBS Open Disability Snooker Championship at the South West Snooker Academy on 14th October 2016.

The new partnership underlines the commitment of the WDBS to provide opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to access high-quality sports coaching and competition programmes.

Chris Hornby, Sport Development Manager for the WPBSA said: “WDBS is committed to offering opportunities for all and as we started out in Gloucestershire at the South West Snooker Academy it is an ideal location for us to grow connections with other organisations.

Photo of the WDBS team“Active Gloucestershire has been very supportive of WDBS and especially looking at opportunities for us to offer snooker to people with learning disabilities. Hopefully this link with Special Olympics Gloucestershire can be the starting point for people with learning disabilities not only in Gloucestershire, but nationally to try, enjoy, compete and benefit from what the sport of snooker can offer.”

Jenny Rutter from Active Gloucestershire and regional Special Olympics Development Officer for Gloucestershire added: “We are delighted the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association is now part of the Special Olympics Gloucestershire network. Their ethos to provide inclusive activity and disability specific competition routes encompasses our aims.

“At the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles, California, 115 athletes represented Great Britain earning 179 medals. None of the athletes who competed were from Gloucestershire.

“Special Olympics Gloucestershire is working to change this by creating partnerships between national governing bodies of sports, local organisations, community groups and sports clubs. We are forming a countywide network bound by one common goal: to create more opportunities for individuals with a learning disability to be active within their local community and compete in sport to the level they desire.”

To learn more about the Special Olympics visit their official website: http://www.specialolympics.org/

Pockett Hails New Opportunities

Last November saw the WDBS host the 2015 Open Disability Snooker Championship at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester.

Tony in action at the SWSA

Tony in action at the SWSA

Staged by the new governing body for World Disability Billiards and Snooker, the tournament marked the first step on the long road back to the Paralympics for cue sports and proved to be well-received by those who took part.

One of those players was Gloucester’s Tony Pockett, who finished as runner-up in the Group 4/5 event to India’s Raja Subramanian. Pockett, who suffers from chronic back pain, decided to end a 24-year absence from snooker when by chance he heard about the tournament on the local radio:

“I was driving in the car when I heard about the tournament and thought that it sounded interesting,” said Pockett. “To be honest, in my position you have got to be in a positive mood to even think about entering something like this. If the event had been somewhere else I might not have gone, but because it was on my doorstep I thought that I would make the effort and go.”

Tony and his wife Carol attended the Betway UK Championship in December

Tony and his wife Carol attended the Betway UK Championship in December

Tony first began to play snooker at the age of 14 and regularly played in local leagues in Gloucester, however was diagnosed with dropfoot in 1988 when a piece of disc in his spine crushed the nerve going to his foot. He underwent a spinal decompression operation three years later that unfortunately was unsuccessful and prior to this tournament had barely played snooker since.

Pockett said: “I had to give up work and snooker because of my spine and I haven’t played since then properly. I’ve played two games in Weston Super Mare with my son, other than that it’s the first time and my cue had been in the bedroom since 1991!

“I used to play seven days a week as my father was a groundsman at sports and social club. We could be there all through the holidays and that’s where it first started off. When I met my wife I said that I should always go and play snooker on a Sunday lunchtime whatever happens, but when I gave up work that was it.”

Pockett, whose wife Carol also suffers with a disability, explained that for him the event has opened doors and that he would now like to continue to play snooker on a more regular basis, having already arranged to meet with other players from the event.

“My wife said that it must be the first time she has been left on her own all day for 25 years,” added Pockett. “She is disabled as well, so we live a very limited life. The event has opened the doors for me in a way. It has given me the interest to have a go at it now, whereas before I would say ‘no ok mate’. It has been really good, so laid back and the organisation has been superb.

Tony and the other players meet David Grace in York

Tony and the other players meet David Grace in York

“I was watching the younger lads play and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves which is wonderful. What can you get better than this? Nobody felt outclassed.”

As one of the group finalists in Gloucester, Pockett was also invited to attend the final Saturday of the Betway UK Championship and was given a special backstage tour of the venue, including the television studios, main arena and practice tables.

He was particularly thrilled to meet the likes of Steve Davis, John Parrott, John Virgo and Dennis Taylor, as well as David Grace who took time out from his semi-final preparations to pose for photographs.

Check out our photo galleries on Facebook for more images from both the 2015 Open Disability Championship and of Tony’s visit to the Betway UK Championship.

The WDBS will be announcing details of its 2016 events during the coming weeks.

Bonnell Enjoys Masters Visit

The WDBS was pleased to welcome Graham Bonnell to the 2016 Dafabet Masters last week at the Alexandra Palace.

Bonnell won his category in Gloucester last November

Bonnell won his category in Gloucester last November

Winner of the Group 1/2 event at the 2015 Open Disability Snooker Championship in Gloucester last November, Bonnell was invited to see the matches between John Higgins and Liang Wenbo, and Neil Robertson and Marco Fu on Wednesday.

Between sessions, he was also given a guided tour of the venue by Master of Ceremonies Rob Walker, with the chance to watch the likes of Jimmy White and Mark Allen in action on the practice tables, as well as see the main arena and media centre.

From Oxted, Surrey, Bonnell was rewarded for his performances at the inaugural WDBS event, which saw him drop just one frame on his way to victory in his category at the South West Snooker Academy.

Graham watches Jimmy White on one of the practice tables

Graham looks on as former Masters champion Jimmy White pots balls on one of the practice tables

A fan of snooker for over 30 years, Graham was involved in a motorcycle accident in 1983 when he was just 18, in which he suffered a broken neck. Some years later he was invited to play snooker at the local British Legion and has since gone on to captain a team in his local league.

Upon hearing about the formation of the WDBS and the Open Disability Snooker Championship online, Graham decided to enter the event and eventually triumphed with a 3-0 victory against Glyn Lloyd in the final.

To read more about the tournament, including full knock-out results, please click here.

Click here for more photos from Graham’s visit to the Dafabet Masters.