Tag: Tony Southern

Success for UK Disability Snooker Championship

The latest World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) champions were crowned last weekend at the 360Fizz UK Disability Snooker Championship in Northampton.

Held at Barratts Snooker Club, the fifth staging of the event previously known as the Open Disability Snooker Championship received entries from almost 70 players as the competition was held over three days for the first time. Eight separate tournaments were held across a range of disability classification profiles, as well as a Challenge Cup for players who did not progress to the final day.

The weekend also featured a special open day which features support by the Motor Neurone Disease Association and sessions led by WPBSA World Snooker coach Steve Rutter to introduce newcomers with disabilities to the sport.

Wheelchair (Groups 1-2)

Tony Southern earned his second WDBS title this weekend in the Groups 1-2 wheelchair classification following a 3-0 victory against Shahab Siddiqui in the final.

It was Siddiqui who won the group stage clash with Southern as the pair both progressed to semi-finals against Danny Luton and Aslam Abubaker respectively.

Having come through a tight semi-final with Abubaker decided on the colours however, it was Liverpool’s Southern who turned the tables in the title match to claim his first silverware since the Belgian Open back in March.

Ambulant (Groups 3-5)

There was also a second WDBS title earned by Nigel Coton in Group 3 as he resisted a brave fightback by John Teasdale to win 4-3 on Sunday.

Coton, whose previous WDBS title came three years ago at this event, made the stronger start to the final as he took three of the first four frames to lead 3-1, before Teasdale responded by taking the match to a decider.

It would though be Coton who would prevail, to make it three different winners in the classification group since its restructure earlier this year.

In Group 4 there was a record tenth title for Daniel Blunn after the 28-year-old defeated Andy Johnson 3-0 to maintain his dominance in the category.

Having progressed from his group for the loss of just a single frame, Blunn then saw off Nigel Brasier and David Church to reach the final, while Johnson defeated Ben Rawson and former professional star Dean Reynolds to join him there.

Despite a close second frame, it would be Blunn who would run out a comfortable 3-0 winner in what was a repeat of the 2018 Welsh Open final to make it a perfect 10 on tour.

There was an all-new final in Group 5 as David Langridge defeated debutant Dean Simmons 3-1 to win his maiden WDBS title.

Langridge, who himself made his debut at this event 12 months ago, enjoyed a strong weekend overall as he progressed from the group stage without the loss of a frame, before again overcoming Simmons in the final to claim victory.

Learning disabilities (Groups 6A-6B)

Mohammed Faisal Butt made it four victories in a row in Group 6A after he defeated Mike Busst 3-1 in the final.

The pair, who have now met in four of the past five WDBS finals in this category, progressed to the semi-finals and defeated Warren Ealy and Liam Crook respectively to set up another title match.

The opening frame was won convincingly by Busst, before Butt rebounded by taking the next three to claim another title in the category.

There was also a fourth WDBS title in Group 6B for Leroy Williams after he defeated Peter Geronimo 4-1 in the final.

The pair saw off Kieran Richards-Witham and Matthew Haslam in the semi-finals, before Williams came out on top to secure his third title of the calendar year.

Sensory disabilities (Groups 7-8)

There were familiar winners in the two sensory competitions in Northampton after Nick Neale and Shabir Ahmed added further titles to their respective honours lists.

In Group 7 it was Neale who defeated Ronnie Allen 4-1 in a repeat of last month’s Welsh Open final to claim his eighth WDBS title for players with visual impairments.

Ahmed meanwhile saw off a familiar final opponent in the shape of Lewis Knowles with a 3-1 win to also claim his eighth Group 8 crown and second in the space of a month following his success at the Disability Tour Championship held at the Crucible Theatre in August.

In the Challenge Cup there was a maiden WDBS victory for Steve Cartwright, who edged out Blake Munton in a single-frame final.

The next event on the 360Fizz WDBS Tour will be the Parris Cues Champion of Champions, to be held at the South West Snooker Academy from 12-13 October 2019.

 

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.

Northern Classic 2019: Tournament Preview

The opening World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) event of the new year takes place this weekend at the renowned Hazel Grove Snooker Club in Stockport, which will be hosting WDBS competition for the first time.

Consisting of five separate tournaments, the 2019 Northern Classic features players with a range of physical and learning disabilities who will contest their respective classification groups and will be sponsored by BB Scaffolding.

DSActive Day

Ahead of the competitive action the weekend will begin with a special open day which will be supported by the Down syndrome initiative DSActive.

People with all disabilities, including Down syndrome are welcomed to the club to try snooker regardless of experience and receive coaching from our team of WPBSA World Snooker coaches at the Go Green Energy Coaching Zone.

Groups 1-2

The wheelchair category continues to be one of the most exciting and competitive sections on the WDBS scene, although Daniel Lee is currently the player to beat.

Lee enjoyed a terrific 2018 campaign that saw him secure a trio of titles; the multi-classification Welsh Open, the Champion of Champions and he heads to Stockport as the defending Northern Classic champion.

He faces a difficult task holding onto his crown, though. Reigning Open Disability champion Aslam Abubaker broke his WDBS duck in Northampton last September and now he has a taste for more success.

There will also be no lack of motivation for fellow entrants Tony Southern, Glyn Lloyd and Shahab Siddiqui – all previous finalists on the circuit who are hoping to go all the way this time around.

Group 3

Following feedback received from players Group 3 will consist solely of ambulant players with one or more upper limbs either absent or severely impaired.

This means that a number of previous Group 3 winners with either full use, or moderately impaired upper limbs will be re-classified either as Group 4 or Group 5 players.

Of those who are set to contest the Group 3 tournament however is Nigel Coton, a former winner back in 2016 at the Open Disability Snooker Championship.

He will be joined by the likes of John Teasdale, Joe Hardstaff and Kal Mattu, all experienced competitors on the WDBS circuit.

Groups 4-5*

Several familiar names appear in the line-up for the Group 4/5 tournament that boasts a healthy number of entries, boosted further by those previously classified as Group 3 competitors.

Headline players include reigning champion Mickey Chambers and recent Champion of Champions winner David Church, who will resume their ongoing struggle for supremacy in the division – they have shared the last four titles between themselves.

Within the field of cueists who are seeking to break up this recent dominance are former Manchester Classic champions Andy Johnson and David Weller. They will also be joined by multiple WDBS champions Daniel Blunn and William Thomson, who met in the Group 3 final of this event a year ago.

In form David Moore will also be another player to watch. Moore benefited from being a late replacement for Gloucester a few months ago where he topped the round robin before losing to Church in the final.

A quarter-finalist on debut at Barratts in the Autumn, Marcin Kubalski will once again make the trip across from Poland to pit his wits on the WDBS tour.

Female players Danielle Findlay and Maureen Rowland also form part of a diverse jigsaw.

*Note that subject to entries, there may be individual competitions for Groups 4 and 5.

Groups 6A / 6B

For only the second time players with intellectual disabilities will have the opportunity to compete in Group 6 events across the full weekend.

Twelve months ago, in Preston, it was third time lucky for Leroy Williams in a WDBS final as he recorded his first triumph on the circuit. The defending champion is back aiming to retain his title in the 6B autistic section but faces stiff opposition from several quarters.

This includes fellow Liverpool based star Daniel Harwood, who is looking to continue his impressive streak on tour. Already a record equaling six-time WDBS winner, Harwood claimed the prestigious Champion of Champions and Hull Open titles towards the back end of 2018.

Reigning Humber Classic champion Peter Geronimo will also be making the trip up from London.

In the Group 6A learning disabilities discipline, Mike Busst will try to build on his maiden victory in Hull last November.  Among others, he will be joined by Hull finalist Faisal Butt and Alexandra Mendham, who was a semi-finalist in this event last year.

The Northern Classic runs from 8-10 February 2019 at the Hazel Grove Snooker Centre in Stockport and you can follow updates online here and at our social media pages.

Preview by Matt Huart and Michael Day.

Tony Southern Appointed WDBS Players Representative

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) is today pleased to announce that Tony Southern has been appointed as its first WDBS Players Representative.

Southern, who competes in WDBS events as a Group 2 player, has vast experience in cue sports, both as a player for nearly 35 years and in recent years as an administrator, including his roles as chairman of the British Wheelchair Pool Players Association and President of the British Pool Federation.

This made him an obvious candidate to take on what is an important role in communicating the views of our players to the board. WDBS has always been keen to listen to any views and concerns of all players and would encourage players to contact Tony should they have a concern that they do not wish to communicate directly to us.

Tony Southern said: “I’m looking forward immensely to this new role and hope to help WDBS go from strength to strength.”

Tony will be looking to work with people from other classification groups in due course to ensure that players from all groups are given equal opportunity to raise any concerns that they may have.

To contact Tony please contact him via Facebook, email (tonysouthern@msn.com) or by mobile on 07736551771.

 

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.

WDBS Success at Northern Classic

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.

Tony Southern playing snooker shot using rest

Tony Southern Q&A

A name who will be familiar to most with an interest in disability cue sports, Tony Southern will be among those in action at next month’s J&S Trading Northern Classic, to be held at Preston’s Elite Snooker Club for the first time.

We caught up with Tony recently to preview the tournament and look back at his time in the sport…

Hi Tony, we begin 2018 with the J&S Trading Northern Classic in Preston. How much are looking forward to the competition?

Yes, I am really looking forward to the first event of the year. I played a few pro-ams at the Elite Snooker Club back in the early 1990’s when I was at university in Preston, so it will be good to see how the club has changed.

Tony Southern shakes hands with Craig Welsh

Tony reached the final of the 2017 Manchester Classic, narrowly losing out to Craig Welsh

You entered your first WDBS competitions in 2017, notably coming so close to winning in Manchester, losing on a re-spotted black. Can you go one better this year?

Hopefully! After a break from snooker due to injury and other priorities it was good to be back, and Craig Welsh played really well in the event and to beat me in the final.

Of course you are no stranger to snooker having competed in events for nearly 35 years – how do you reflect on your time in the sport?

I’ve achieved a lot since my first national win in 1985 at age 16! I’ve won 24 national disabled championships under the old BSAD/DSE framework (four of which were classed as World Opens when World Snooker was previously involved in the 1990’s), I still hold the highest event break of 87 and had a decent amateur career against able bodied players. But all of that was as a standing player and since I’ve comeback I’m playing from a chair, as that what I’ve done in my other cue sports to good effect.

Tony Southern plays snooker shot against Glyn Lloyd watched by Vic Hartley

Tony plays a shot as opponent Glyn Lloyd and referee Vic Hartley look on

What has competing in snooker events done for your life in general, what positive effects has this had physically and mentally? 

I have made lots of new friends, and it is always nice to see some old faces, and in some cases very old (Glyn Lloyd and referee Vic Hartley) still involved! I have got to know a lot of the top pros as well and travelled the length and breadth of the country. It will be good to play my first international snooker event in Belgium, after playing American pool around the world the last 10 years.

Tell us about your disability, how does this affect your snooker? Has this changed over your career and what challenges has this given you?

I have cerebral palsy which affects my legs, as mentioned above most of my snooker career was spent playing standing up, but as you get older, muscles get weaker and I started using a chair for my other cue sports in 2006. It made sense to do this for snooker too, as I was getting too fatigued walking around table.

Tony Southern places cue ball

Tony in WDBS action at the 2017 Open Disability Snooker Championship in Wolverhampton

You had spoken of retirement in 2017, but posted recently that your health has improved and you are looking forward to continuing to play for the foreseeable future. What are your goals for 2018 and beyond?

I was diagnosed with two prolapsed discs in my back in 2016, which meant I was having real issues with bending to play any shots, even from a chair. It cost me matches and several titles in my other cue sports, so was getting really down about my future prospects, as I always want to be competitive.

However, a series of treatments on my back in 2017 and a recent knee operation have really helped, and I’m now the president of the British Pool Federation, looking after the interests of the American Pool players in the UK, both at a professional and amateur level. So if I have to be at events in an administrative role, why not play as well!

Tony Southern and Andy Johnson point at balls arranged to look like Belgian flag

Tony will be competing at the inaugural Belgian Open in March (pictured with Andy Johnson)

How important is the social aspect of WDBS events, both catching up with old friends and meeting new people?

It is really important, I’m one of the few left from the mid 1980’s still competing and it’s nice to see the older players and referees still going. It is also good to see younger players grow and improve, I recall seeing Daniel Blunn as a young teenager many years ago and telling his father that he was very good and would win lots of titles, which of course he has done!

What message would you have for anyone out there considering entering a WDBS event for the first time?

Basically, come and give it a go, no matter what your standard of play. It is almost guaranteed that your level will improve just being around the WDBS scene and utilising the coaching days, and competing against players on a level playing field in terms of disability. Three days of fun, coaching and events is a great experience for all involved.

There is still time to join Tony and enter the J&S Trading Northern Classic from 2-4 February 2018. Click HERE to learn more and download the full entry form.

Wolverhampton winners

Wolverhampton On Cue For WDBS

The 2017 Open Disability Snooker Championship was successfully hosted last weekend in Wolverhampton by World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS).

Held at the Golden Cue Snooker Club, the event saw players with a range of physical and learning disabilities battle it out to become champions in their respective categories throughout the three-day competition.

There was a new winner in the Group 1-2 wheelchair competition as Daniel Lee defeated WDBS newcomer Aslam Abubaker 3-1 in the event final. Having come through the group stage with four wins for the loss of just a single frame, Lee then whitewashed Danny Luton 3-0 in their semi-final before coming out on top against Abubaker.

Daniel and Andrew Blunn with medal

In Group 3 Daniel Blunn defeated Clive Brunton in the final to regain the title that he first won back in 2015. Victory completed a dominant display from Sutton Coldfield’s Blunn who won all 14 of his frames during the weekend to extend his unbeaten run on the WDBS circuit which dates back to last year’s event in Gloucester.

Taking his first WDBS victory in the Group 4-5 competition was Norwich’s David Church who defeated Adam Leighton 3-0 in the title match. Previously runner-up at this year’s Manchester Classic, Church came through a nail-biting semi-final with debutant Gareth Ward in a deciding frame, before recording a comfortable win against Leighton to secure the gold medal.

There was also a new winner in Friday’s Group 6 competition for players with learning disabilities as Daniel Harwood defeated Leroy Jay Williams in a high-quality final. Finally, the Challenge Cup tournament for players not making it through to the knockout stages during the weekend was won by Andy Johnson, who defeated John Teasdale 2-0 in the final match of the event.

David Church with Olivia and medal

The event was well-supported by sponsors The Snowdrop Cakery, WPBSA World Snooker coach Andrew Highfield and J&S Trading, whose backing ensured that prize money was available to the players across all six groups.

Tony Hough-Allen, representing The Snowdrop Cakery said: “I would like to say a big thank you to the Golden Cue Snooker Club for looking after ourselves and WDBS. The event has been an absolute success and it has been a pleasure to sponsor it. Everybody enjoyed the Six Red Group 6 event held on Friday and there was some excellent talent on show during the main event during the weekend. Congratulations to all of the winners and we look forward to hopefully seeing you again soon!”

The final WDBS event of 2017 will be the 888lcd.co.uk Hull Open across the weekend of 10-12 November at the Tradewell Snooker Centre in Hull for players with learning, visual and hearing disabilities.