World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) held its second event for players with sensory disabilities last weekend at the Tradewell Snooker Centre in Kingston upon Hull.
The inaugural Hull Open welcomed players from classification Groups 7-8, including players who have either hearing or visual disabilities, and saw entries more than double from the previous event for the same categories in Woking earlier this year.
The event was supported by prize fund sponsors Hudgell Solicitors, Think Telecom Limited and the Hull Deaf Centre, who all contributed to a prize fund of £600 across both competitions.
As in Woking, the Group 7 competition for players with visual impairments was won by Paul Smith from Stevenage, who defeated WDBS debutant Nick Neale 4-1 in the event final.
Having lost 3-0 to Neale in the group stages on Saturday, Smith, who lost one eye in a shooting accident when he was 10 and previously competed on the main tour during the 1990s, turned the tables in the final to become the third player so far to win multiple WDBS titles.
There was some consolation for Neale however as in addition to making it through to the final, he also took home the Group 7 high break prize for his opening day run of 40.
The Group 8 final was contested by two WDBS debutants, Warrington’s Andy Burton securing his first gold medal with a 3-0 victory against Hull’s Richard Gott.
A particularly competitive tournament, having received entries from players including a number of local players, as well as four members of the Warrington Deaf Snooker League who travelled together, it was Burton who dropped just two frames during the weekend to take the title. The high break prize was won by Mike Bryan who hit 39 during the group stage.
As at previous events, there was also a Challenge Cup event held, which was won by Group 7 semi-finalist David Baker, who defeated Hull’s Kevin Bentley over a single frame to add to his silver medal from Woking.
The event was preceded by a Friday open day, which as well as the players involved in the weekend tournament, welcomed players from Selby Gateway Leisure Mencap and NHS Humber CTLD.
The weekend was supported by WPBSA World Snooker coaches Bob Hill and Tim Squires, as well as former professional Ian Glover and our team of referees and coaches including those who play at Group 1-5 events.
WDBS director Clive Brown said: “It has been another fantastic weekend and it seems to be have been thoroughly enjoyed by everyone that has taken part as a competitor, as an official or as a helper. It is great to see that the visually impaired and the deaf are increasing in numbers at these events and let’s hope that we can continue to grow them further.”
The next WDBS tournament will be the 2017 Manchester Classic on 10-12 March 2017 at Q’s Sports and Entertainment Bar, Manchester.
As in 2016, the event will be open to players with physical disabilities (Groups 1-5) and further information including the entry pack will be made available soon.