World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) held the J&S Trading Northern Classic, its first event of 2018 in Preston, England last weekend.
Open to players from six disability groups covering a range of physical and learning disabilities, the event ran for three days at the Elite Snooker Club, owned and run by former professional players Chris Norbury and Shokat Ali.
Daniel Lee made it back-to-back titles in the Group 2 wheelchair competition with a 3-1 victory against Tony Southern in Sunday’s final. Lee, who was born with spina bifida, previously won the Open Disability Snooker Championship in Wolverhampton and avenged defeat against Southern in the round robin stages to take the gold medal home to Buckinghamshire.
In Group 3 there was also a second title for Scotland’s William Thomson, who edged out four-time winner Daniel Blunn 3-2 following a dramatic final. Thomson, who previously won the 2016 Manchester Classic, was in fine form all weekend and sealed the title with a break of 41 (his seventh over 40 during the weekend), in the deciding frame.
Coached by former world champion Graeme Dott, Thomson has also been nominated by his national federation to compete in the EBSA European Championships this week in Bulgaria and will be looking to carry his form over into that event.
There was another new winner in the Group 4-5 tournament as local debutant Michael ‘Mickey’ Chambers defeated another former WDBS champion Andy Johnson 3-0 to claim the title. Chambers, whose left foot was amputated when he was younger following treatment for meningitis, dropped just one frame throughout the competition and impressed with a break of 51 during his semi-final victory against Gareth Ward.
Friday’s Group 6 competition saw Leroy Jay Williams claim his first WDBS title with a 2-0 win against Ryan Riding. Williams, who was previously runner-up at events in Wolverhampton and Hull, ensured that it would be third time lucky by coming through the field to take victory.
Finally, the Challenge Cup event, for players who did not qualify for Sunday’s knockout rounds, was won by WDBS stalwart Kal Mattu, who edged out Craig Welsh in a best of three frames final.
Simon Berrisford, WDBS director and owner of event title sponsor J&S Trading said: “As always it has been fantastic to be see a mix of new and returning people coming together to provide an action-packed weekend of snooker in Preston. It is particularly exciting to see how competitive these events are becoming as the standard of play continues to rise, but without losing any of their magic and the special atmosphere that WDBS tournaments have.
“On behalf of WDBS I would also like to extend my thanks to Chris, Shokat and the rest of the team at the Elite Snooker Centre, who could not have been more accommodating to us all weekend. With further plans in place to improve what is already a fine example of a modern, safe snooker club, we are already looking forward to returning in the future.”
WDBS will next head to Northampton for the first Groups 6-8 event of 2018, the Parris Cues UK Open to be held at Barratts Snooker Club from 16-18 February. Open to players with learning, hearing and visual disabilities, entries remain open with more information available at www.wdbs.info.
View draws and results at MySnookerStats.