Tag: Raja Subramanian

Disability Snooker Success in Belgium

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) returned to Belgium for the second staging of the WDBS Belgian Open last weekend.

Held at the Trickshot club in Bruges, the event attracted entries from the UK, Belgium and India with a variety of physical disabilities to compete for the latest silverware on the WDBS Tour.

Groups 1-2

England’s Tony Southern claimed his long-awaited first WDBS title following a 5-2 success against defending champion Kurt Deklerck from Belgium to win the Groups 1-2 wheelchair tournament.

The opening day saw both players claim back-to-back wins in a four-player group stage, Southern notably earning a deciding-frame victory against Shahab Siddiqui on the colours to ensure that he would progress to the title match.

With the final round-robin match between the pair effectively a dead match, the pair were given the opportunity to contest an extended best-of-nine frame final to decide the champion.

It would prove to be a final full of drama with each of the opening two frames being settled on the final black, with the scoreline progressing to 2-2 at the mid-session interval.

From there however it would be all Southern as he edged two close frames to move one away from the title at 4-2 up, before sinking a tournament-high break of 42 in what would prove to be the final frame to take home the gold medal.

Groups 4-5

While there was a new winner crowned in the wheelchair competition, the Groups 4-5 event for players with ambulant disabilities saw a familiar face emerge victorious as Daniel Blunn claimed a record eighth WDBS title.

Having dropped one frame in the group stages to David Moore, Blunn progressed to the final with knockout victories against Olivier Biernaux and David Church, the latter in a repeat of last year’s final in Belgium.

There he would face India’s Raja Subramanian, himself a two-time WDBS champion and competing in his first competition since the 2016 Open Disability Snooker Championship. Previously undefeated in WDBS play, Subramanian maintained his flawless record by coming through the round-robin stage without the loss of a frame, before defeating Gunter D’Hondt and Welshman Ben Rawson to set up a clash of the titans in the final.

As with the wheelchair final, the decisive match would initially prove to be a closely contested affair, Blunn taking each of the first two frames on the pink to move two ahead with a possible three to play.

Ultimately however the 27-year-old from Sutton Coldfield would save his best until last, dominating the third and final frame with a top break of 35 to seal his third consecutive WDBS title following previous wins at the Northern Classic and Champion of Champions tournaments.

Blunn also made the high-break in his classification group with an excellent run of 55 during his quarter-final match.

Challenge Cup

The Challenge Cup competition for players not qualified for the knockout rounds was contested between Danielle Findlay and Phil Woodwiss. Although Woodwiss was competing in his second Challenge Cup final in the space of a month following success at the Northern Classic, as in 2018 it would prove to be Findlay’s day as she repeated her success from last March with a 2-0 victory.

Once again WDBS would like to thank club owner Olivier Vandenbohede and his team at The Trickshot for their generous hospitality during the three-day event. We would also like to thank all of the players who made the trip to Bruges as WDBS continues to expand outside of the UK.

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.

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.

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.

bonnell

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.

coton1

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

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:

WDBS Classification Guide: Group Four

Today we continue to explore the World Disability Billiards and Snooker classification system, used to determine which players are eligible to play in each of our events.

This week we look at the group four profiles, the second of three groups relating to ambulant players who have a physical disability.

WDBS Disability Classification

The WDBS classification system comprises 36 individual profiles, which have then been allocated to eight groups, used to categorise events.

The system has been taken from the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) profile toolkit and revised to suit snooker and billiards.

Group 4 (profiles 14-15, 17-21, 27-28)

Profile 14: Able to walk, but one side of the body is of little use; usually can only balance unaided on the good leg.

Profile 15: Able to walk, but only one side of body is non-affected.

Profile 17: Able to walk, but both legs are severely impaired.

Profile 18: Able to walk, but one leg severely impaired.

Profile 19: Able to walk, one leg severely impaired, other leg less impaired.

Profile 20: Able to walk but both legs impaired slightly.

Profile 21: Both arms are severely impaired or amputated

Profile 27: Opposite arm and leg severely impaired.

Profile 28: Both hips impaired causing walking difficulty.

Group four is the second of three groups for ambulant players (i.e. players who can walk) and is made up of eight disability profiles (15, 17-21 & 27-28), plus the ‘either/or’ profile 14. Players falling under profile 14 with orthosis/appliances will also be classified as group four players.

At WDBS events held to date, group four players have competed together with group five players in competitions. Of the three ambulant groups, players who fall under group four are less affected by their disability than group three players when playing across all groups

Player view

As was the case with group three featured last week, we have already seen a large number of group four players compete in the WDBS events held to date. Winners of the group 4/5 events include World Billiards player Raja Subramanian and the experienced Andy Johnson, while world wheelchair darts champion Ricky Chilton was also involved in Manchester.

Another who made his debut in our second event was Joe Hardstaff, an IT teacher from Boston, Lincolnshire. Born with phocomelia, a rare disability that causes the bones of the arms, and in some cases other appendages, to be extremely shortened and even absent, Hardstaff falls under profile 21 of the WDBS classification system.

Although he has less competitive experience than some of the other players mentioned (the Manchester Classic was his first taste of competition snooker), Hardstaff is no stranger to cuesports having first been introduced when he was approximately 13-years-old:

“My brother and I would go to the snooker club once a week and play snooker and pool,” said Hardstaff. “I then started to play in our local pool league at the age of 16 and have since won many local town competitions. Snooker has been a game that I have played alongside this as a cue practice mechanism as I never classed myself as good enough to join the local snooker league.”

wdbsprofile21

A former football coach whose son now plays for a local academy, Hardstaff learned of the WDBS earlier this year following an enquiry to the WPBSA as to competitive opportunities for people with disabilities. Following his debut in Manchester he is now relishing the prospect of gaining match experience in future tournaments.

“Snooker for me is a love – hate game,” said Hardstaff. “Fortunately I love it more than I hate it! It’s one of those games that when you are playing well it is extremely rewarding and enjoyable to play.

“I would consider myself as an experienced player but with a lot to learn as my competitive side of snooker is a bit lacking. Having played most of my games in a non-competitive, friendly way with family and friends, it’s certainly something that needs a bit of work.

“I can compete with players of a similar skill level but importantly my disability makes very little difference, although you would not perhaps think that when you see me. There are certain barriers that my disability creates such as bridging over balls that are close together, long reaching shots and power shots however this is compensated somewhat in different approaches to shot selection.”

JoeH

Hardstaff describes his involvement in the Manchester Classic as a real ‘eye-opener’, while he was also one of the players who attended World Disability Snooker Day at the 2016 World Championship.

“I went into the competition with an open mind and I was amazed by the standard of play,” continued Hardstaff. “I met some very nice people who I met again at the World Championship in Sheffield where I attended the disability day to show people what we can do. This I thoroughly enjoyed, particularly the Crucible tour and watching the professionals of course.

“I think the WDBS has a fantastic energy about it. The people who make the organisation operational are very enthusiastic and driven which I really like. They are also very friendly and welcoming. With that kind of focus and vision who knows what’s possible in years to come. Hopefully there will be some sort of Olympics representation of the sports and a wider community of players and playing opportunities.

“I am very pleased to be a part of it and can see myself continuing to compete wherever I can.”

Next week we continue our look at the WDBS classification system as we turn to our group five classification, the third and final ambulant profile.