There was a mix of new and familiar winners at the season-opening Humber Classic staged at Hull’s Tradewell Snooker Club last weekend.
With six main tournaments staged for players with physical and learning disabilities, the event was the first of the new World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) circuit, which this season is sponsored by 360Fizz for the first time.
The weekend began with our regular open day led by WPBSA World Snooker coach Steve Rutter and welcomed several local groups and individuals who were encouraged to pick up a cue and enjoy the day. This was followed by the competitive action across the weekend, which saw some fantastic snooker and dramatic matches played to a conclusion.
Wheelchair (Groups 1-2)
India’s Aslam Abubaker claimed victory in the Groups 1-2 wheelchair classification without the loss of a frame in East Yorkshire.
Having won both of his round-robin matches against recent Belgian Open champion Tony Southern and Scotland’s Gavin Gormley, Abubaker then won a curtailed final 4-0 after opponent Southern conceded mid-way through the second frame having reported problems with his cue tip.
The win is Abubaker’s second following his previous success at the Open Disability Snooker Championship last September.
Ambulant (Groups 3-5)
There was further international success in Group 3 as Hong Kong’s Andy Lam won his maiden WDBS title following victory against former champion Nigel Coton.
Having travelled all the way from Asia especially to compete in the event for players with significant upper-limb impairments, Lam progressed with victories against Kal Mattu and John Teasdale, despite actually losing out to fellow finalist Coton in the group stage on Saturday.
There was to be swift revenge for the Hong Kong native the following day however, as he ran out a 3-1 winner in the final to claim victory.
While that victor was Lam’s first, over in Group 4 there was a record ninth title success for Daniel Blunn who overcame Scotland’s Williams Thomson 3-2 in a classic final on the 360Fizz WDBS Tour.
The latest chapter in one of the standout rivalries on the circuit which has seen wins for both players across several competitions in recent years, was written after the pair progressed through a high-quality field which for the first time included former world number 8 and two-time professional ranking event finalist Dean Reynolds.
It was Thomson who accounted for Reynolds in the semi-finals and it looked like he would go on to claim another title as he led Blunn 2-1 in the title match, but 27-year-old Blunn was not to be denied a ninth career WDBS title as he edged the final two frames to secure victory and extend a personal winning-streak dating back to last September’s Open Disability Snooker Championship.
The final tournament for players with ambulant disabilities saw a first-time winner in David Moore as the Southampton resident defeated local player Ivor Halnosky to win the Group 5 competition.
Moore, who had previously reached the finals of the 2016 Open Disability Snooker Championship and last year’s Champion of Champions, finally broke his title duck with a victory that will taste all the sweeter after his recovery from a recent accident at work shortly following the Belgian Open back in March.
Learning disabilities (Groups 6A-6B)
Mohammed Faisal Butt completed a hat-trick of WDBS titles in Group 6A after he came back from 2-0 down to defeat Mike Busst 3-2 in an entertaining final.
With an average shot time of just 15.69 seconds, Butt added to his victories at the recent Northern Classic an Southern Classic tournaments with success in East Yorkshire.
Meanwhile in Group 6B there was also a third title success for Leroy Williams, who completed a comprehensive 6-0 success against Peter Geronimo to avenge his final defeat against the same opponent a year ago and claim his second title of 2019.
In the Challenge Cup there was also victory for a Group 6B player as newcomer Kieran Richards-Witham defeated Group 5 player Phil Woodwiss 2-1 to bag a gold medal on his debut.
All at WDBS would like to thank everyone who has supported the weekend, including our wonderful hosts at the Tradewell Snooker Club once again and all of the officials, players and their supporters who helped make the event possible.
The next event on the 360Fizz WDBS Tour will be the Welsh Open, to be held at Redz, Cwmbran from 2-4 August 2019. The full entry pack for the event will be released shortly.