World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) held its largest snooker event to date for people with hearing and visual impairments last weekend at the Cueball in Derby.
Following previous competitions in Woking and Hull, the Paul Hunter Disability Classic saw a significant increase in entries from Group 7 and 8 classifications, with new players from across the country joining previous champions and loyal supporters.
There was a debut winner in the Group 7 competition as Mike Gillespie defeated Paul Smith 3-1 in the final.
Gillespie, who discovered the WDBS following the previous event in Hull, progressed through his group in second place, before stunning Gary Gallacher 3-0 in the semi-finals to set up a clash with two-time WDBS champion Smith.
After dropping the opening frame, Gillespie won the next three to clinch victory.
Smith however, can at least take some consolation from having made the overall high break during the weekend.
In Group 8, WDBS newcomer Shabir Ahmed claimed victory in the deaf classification for the loss of just one frame across the weekend.
Having come through his group in top spot, he then whitewashed Darrel Carter, Blake Munton, and finally Lewis Knowles to seal the win.
The Challenge Cup, an event held for players who did not progress through the group stages of the main competitions, was won by Group 8 player Alan Crane after he defeated Christof Niklaus in the final.
Finally, as at the previous WDBS event in Manchester, there was also a competition held on Friday for people with learning disabilities (Group 6), alongside an open day for all players with disabilities.
The event was won by Ben Rodgers, who defeated David Mac 2-1 in the final to make it a clean sweep for debutants in Derby.
As ever, the event was supported by a team of WPBSA World Snooker coaches, including venue owner Danny Cooper, the Cueball having proved another popular addition to the WDBS calendar.
WPBSA World Snooker coach Simon Berrisford said: “On behalf of the Paul Hunter Foundation and supporting sponsor J&S Trading, I would like to thank the WDBS players and staff for this weekend’s event at the Cueball Derby.”
“The level of play was exceptional and the commitment of the players involved was incredible.
“The WDBS playing community are an inspirational and rapidly growing part of the future of snooker, both in the UK and worldwide.”
The next WDBS tournament will be the inaugural 2017 WDBS Welsh Open on 30 June – 2 July 2017 at Redz Snooker Club, Cwmbran.
For the first time, the event will be open to players from all eight disability classification groups, with matches to be played under a six-red format.
The entry pack is available to download now from wdbs.info.