Tag: Tony Davies

Seventh Wonder for Neale in Cwmbran

Nick Neale was in seventh heaven as he defeated Ronnie Allen 3-0 to claim the prestigious Welsh Open 2019 title at Redz Snooker Club in Cwmbran last weekend; the second stop on the 2019/20 360Fizz World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) circuit.

Over 50 players representing several different disability groups and profiles featured in the third edition of this annual 6-Red extravaganza. Due to the unique and unpredictable nature of the competition, several intriguing stories developed throughout the weekend in South Wales.

There was no such drama for Birmingham cueist Neale early on, though, as he qualified top of his five-player group despite losing his final fixture to Tony Davies. Seeded through to the last 16 of the knockout phase, he ended the hopes of host nation debutant Nicholas Sutton, 3-0.

Relentless Neale continued his quest for title number seven by defeating David Weller and Lee Finbow, both 3-0, in the quarter and semi-finals respectively. Finbow had enjoyed a particularly impressive weekend after eliminating the all-time WDBS title record holder and 2017 Welsh Open champion Daniel Blunn in the last eight, resulting in him being the best performing deaf competitor.

Home Hero Allen

A familiar face awaited Neale in the final as he crossed cues with fellow Group 7B (visually impaired) cueist Ronnie Allen, who was proudly flying the flag in his home event.

Allen, the chairman of Welsh Snooker, overcame the odds on more than one occasion with a terrific run of results. After not dropping a single frame in his group, he upstaged Shabir Ahmed, Lewis Knowles and David Church – all former WDBS main event winners – consecutively in the knockouts.

Reaching his third career main event final on the circuit, the Welshman was poised to upset the applecart and take the opening frame as he led by 15 points with no reds left. However, Neale subsequently cleared the colours for a cool 27 clearance to snatch the frame on the black.

Again, Allen was keen in frame two, leading with just five colours remaining before Neale overtook him once more and doubled his lead on the pink. Perhaps buoyed by these close finishes, Neale sealed the third frame far more comfortably to confirm a 3-0 success.

This latest triumph, arguably one of his most significant on the WDBS scene given that the event is open to all groups, further extends Neale’s already staggering sequence of results over the past 12 months. The 46-year-old has now won the last five tournaments he has played in, and all seven of his career wins have come within the last two years. In fact, the only occasions that he didn’t take home the gold medal during that period came in the previous two stagings here where he lost in the quarter-finals both times.

With that record now set straight, Neale appears to be in fine form as he heads to the Crucible Theatre later this month as part of the special WDBS session to be held during the ROKiT World Seniors Championship on 18 August.

Following last year’s all-wheelchair final, players from seven groups made up the last 16 line-up in Cwmbran, this included Welsh newcomers Ashley Galliers and the aforementioned Sutton, who both finished top of their groups on Saturday.

Doubles Glory for Deaf Duo

As per tradition at this tournament, Sunday’s Challenge Cup – involving those who did not qualify for the knockout phase of the main – was a randomly drawn mixed classification doubles competition.

In an exciting climax, Group 8 pairing of Tony Davies and Gary Hunter ousted the team of Blake Munton and wheelchair player Chris Brown 2-1 in the final, on the last black.

Blunn Conquers Cwmbran

Daniel Blunn claimed his third World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) title at the inaugural Welsh Open in Cwmbran last weekend.

Held at Redz Snooker Club, the tournament was the first open to players from all eight disability classification groups, including players with physical, sensory and learning disabilities. Over 48 players competed across 12 groups, with the best performing players progressing to the knockout stages and the remaining competitors paired in our first-ever mixed classification doubles competition on the final day.

The main competition reached a thrilling climax as Daniel Blunn defeated Andy Johnson 3-2 in a deciding frame to claim his third WDBS title.

The duo, both of whom have cerebral palsy, came into the final as previous WDBS champions, Blunn having taken the honours in Group 3 competitions in Gloucester (2015) and Manchester (2017), while Johnson claimed victory in the Group 4-5 competition in Manchester back in 2016. The final had all the hallmarks of being a tight affair and so it proved as they needed all five frames to determine a winner.

Ultimately however it was Sutton Coldfield’s Blunn who would prevail, dominating the final two frames to secure a hat-trick of titles.

Photo of doubles winners and referee

There was a remarkable story in the Mixed Classification Doubles event meanwhile as 88-year-old Albert Taylor paired with Danny Luton to claim the title. The pair defeated Group 8 duo Tony Davies and Lewis Knowles, the latter also a finalist at the recent Derby Open, 2-0 in the final to claim victory.

The highest break of the competition was 48, made by David Church on the opening day.

The weekend was supported by WDBS player Nigel Coton, who recently teamed up with Snooker Legends to organise an exhibition evening in Lincoln from which surplus monies raised from the evening were donated to the WDBS and added to funds provided by regular sponsors J&S Trading and Christine Cummings to form the overall prize fund for this event.

Nigel Coton said: “We have seen another fantastic weekend of snooker staged by the WDBS. The organisation is growing significantly and to see a record 48 entries to this event is brilliant – let’s try to get it up to 64. Everyone involved has really enjoyed it and had a great time. The event has been another real success.”

The event was also attended by current main tour professionals Michael White and Lee Walker, who kindly took time out from their schedules to meet the players and pose for photographs. The WDBS would like to thank both the players and also everyone at our hosts Redz Snooker Club for their support during the weekend.

You can view all of the results from the weekend’s main competition via MySnookerStats.

The next WDBS tournament will be the 2017 Open Disability Snooker Championship, running from 22-24 September 2017 at the Golden Cue, Bilston.

The weekend tournament will be open to players from Groups 1-5, but players from ALL eight groups are encouraged to visit our regular Friday open day.

View event photos from Cwmbran on the WDBS Facebook page at each of the following links: